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Lawyer Salaries


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#1 justanotherstudent

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 02:49 PM

I'm not sure if this is the proper place for this question but, on average, how much do lawyers make a year?

I know the range can be quite varied, but lets say and average lawyer at an average firm in a city like Toronto or Ottawa. Looking for realistic figures...

I know things don't all come down to money but I'm having a difficult time deciding if I should go to law school or not. I current have a good job making 75k+ but it's not what I'm bored of it and it's not very satisfying (to me anyway)

It's a difficult decision to leave this job, have no income for a few years if I'll probably only end up where I am to begin with...

Any insights appreciated.

#2 aj2smith

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 11:34 AM

What is your current job if you don't mind me asking. The reason I ask is because your experience prior to law school can help you get an edge on articling positions and work after law school. Someone with work experience and a law degree is valued asset

#3 justanotherstudent

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 12:00 PM

I'm in IT with about 9 years experience working for telecommunication companies.
I'm a Sr. Team Lead - Network Engineer. Basically my team designs and maintains intra- and internetworks (MANs and WANs). My area of specialization is in Network/Infrastructure Security.

I was thinking of getting into technology law or something along those lines. I'm just waiting to hear back the acceptances (or rejections - which will make my decision easier to make!) It's quite a big step to take so I'm trying to weigh everything and be prepared. I'm still a little uneasy about the transition but think it will be in the right direction...

#4 justanotherstudent

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 12:02 PM

PS. Not sure if age matters or not after law school and where you get hired, but I'm currently 31.

#5 aj2smith

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 02:27 PM

I'm assuming you have an engineering degree? Basically you would be perfect for technology or patent law. These areas don't require prior experience but certainly private firms are big on experience and engineering degree's. Your opportunity to make more money is greater with a law degree then just an engineering one. As you probably know, to make a high salary with engineering and IT you have to go towards management, in positions such as CIO or head of systems etc. in larger companies. Management provides little stability....companies can be bought and sold, and when they are management is ussually shifted. You also have to be prepared to travel and move for opportunities. Otherwise you can go into consulting (your own business or for companies like AMEC) which can be a hard business to be succesful at. In consulting as you age you will notice that the young "go getters" will take the cake....especially since travelling is a huge part of the job. I here that many engineers find technology and patent law to be very interesting as they can combine multiple skills to do their work. If you are bored and making 75,000 a year....I would suggest going into law if you find patent or technology law interesting. Look into it. If you are determined you will make more then you do now, and you will definately be more challenged. With your experience, I bet you would do great.

Just to so you understand where I am coming from, my experiences and knowledge about this area comes from being a graduate from the university of waterloo (everyone I know was in engineering), my boyfriend is an engineer, a good friend I have got his engineering degree and is now in uvic law (he really is enjoying it), and my father is an electrical engineer who was in systems and made it CIO and VP of a company....he is now consulting. I also work closely in the government with our IST team. I can say for myself I make comfortable salary of about 50,000 and could be promoted to probably around 75,000 in a few years if I stayed put. At the end of the day, I decided that the challenge of law school and being a lawyer was one I couldnt pass up. Life is too short to being something that isnt challenging.

Check out this sight it has some good info: http://www.piercelaw...tfield/cart.htm

Hope this helps.

#6 Insp.Trent

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:59 PM

I think billing out at $300-$350 an hour is pretty common for partners in mid size firms (in Calgary anyways). I don't know exactly what that would translate into salary wise, but it would be more thatn 75G. I am in a similar situation as you where I am leaving an 80G a year, 7 hour a day, gov job. I sometimes wonder if I am crazy, but I am going back to school not for the cash (although it is of course a consideration) but because I think it would open up so many doors to find an intersting career.

#7 AnyaT

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 05:59 AM

I'm interested in responses to this because I am in the same position - good-paying government policy job with regular hours. I like it, but it doesn't set my soul on fire. However, like the OP, I don't want to spend 3 years and tens of thousands of dollars in law school to end up in the same position I am now. I'm also 31, so I'm used to having a steady income for the past several years. But I think in the end the career change would be worth it - a much more satisfying and challenging reason to get up in the morning.

So is there much information available on lawyer's earnings? I know, how long is a piece of string, but there must be some general ranges out there somewhere. I am having a difficult time finding much, though.

#8 Goldenboy6

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 02:05 PM

Hey guys,

I've done quite a bit of research on this and to answer your question: there is no garantee that if you leave your currect occupation to get a law degree that you will make more money in law. From what I understand it depends heavily in what type of firm or what area of law you practice. There are also differences between different regions. Certainly the potential is there for you to make more money however there is no guarantee. I wish law was a little more like medicine in that you are practically guarantee to make more than 100K right out of school but that simply is not the case.

This is what my research has led me to believe: the best students in your law class (top third) will be the ones getting the more higher paying positions, however with these higher paying positions also means more hours (i.e. 50+ per week). The people at the bottom of your class will have trouble finding articling positions and when they do, they will end up in positions that pay substantially less than what you are making now. This is my impression and if I am incorrect please someone go ahead and correct me.

Here is a site with some salary info divided by region and what type of law firm you work for. But realize when you look at this data that it is from lawyers working in the downtown core of each city (i.e. Bay St. in Toronto). So from what I understand they were amongst the top of their class.

http://www.zsa.ca/zs...n=main.salaries

#9 justanotherstudent

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 03:43 PM

aj2smith: I think you understand exactly where I'm coming from.

It seems we're all in the same boat... If in the end I am still not satisified with my job then maybe I have issues :) but it'd be nice to be reassured I won't be worse off.. I don't want to make considerably less and still be unsatisfied plus the loss of the tuition/time for the degree but it seems like this likely won't be the case if I work hard and do well... maybe this will push me harder in school(?)

I think like other people mentioned part of the problem is that I only work 6 hours a day, mon-fri with anything that resembles a holiday off but am not challenged. I still think law is a step in the right direction and am glad I am not alone. (or we are all crazy heh)

#10 Fearless Fish

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 08:42 PM

I'm also an older student jumping out of government work to go back to school for a law degree. I hope 31 isn't too old, as I'm 35. Of course, I knew a long time ago that it wasn't: My dad didn't go to law school until he was in his 40's.

For me, I'm in the same boat as you regarding looking for more of a challenge.

#11 prowsej

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:11 PM

"About two years after graduation, [new lawyers] reported an average annual income of about $74,300." - BC Workfutures BC. [*:edghs1r9]"women earned significantly less in full-time, full-year earnings in 2000 ($83,100) than men who worked full-time and full- year ($115,800)."
[*:edghs1r9]"As a result of their reluctance to move to more remote areas, many lawyers in the Lower Mainland have lowered their income expectations. This suggests an oversupply of lawyers in this area. For a number of years, the number of new graduates from law schools has exceeded the number of new employment prospects available to lawyers. "

#12 mbfergus

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 04:51 AM

"About two years after graduation, [new lawyers] reported an average annual income of about $74,300." - BC Workfutures BC. [*:jrb2lrd7]"women earned significantly less in full-time, full-year earnings in 2000 ($83,100) than men who worked full-time and full- year ($115,800)."
[*:jrb2lrd7]"As a result of their reluctance to move to more remote areas, many lawyers in the Lower Mainland have lowered their income expectations. This suggests an oversupply of lawyers in this area. For a number of years, the number of new graduates from law schools has exceeded the number of new employment prospects available to lawyers. "


Pretty dated information really

#13 Arjun

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 07:09 AM

testing

#14 cranberry

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:53 AM

I'm interested in responses to this because I am in the same position - good-paying government policy job with regular hours. I like it, but it doesn't set my soul on fire. However, like the OP, I don't want to spend 3 years and tens of thousands of dollars in law school to end up in the same position I am now. I'm also 31, so I'm used to having a steady income for the past several years. But I think in the end the career change would be worth it - a much more satisfying and challenging reason to get up in the morning.

So is there much information available on lawyer's earnings? I know, how long is a piece of string, but there must be some general ranges out there somewhere. I am having a difficult time finding much, though.


This one is pretty good: http://www.infirmati...rc ... C Canada

you can search for salaries in other cities. I sued Toronto as it IS the centre of the universe after all.

#15 83gemini

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 05:18 AM

I've seen the chart referred to above bandied around. It's out of date.

#16 whistler123

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 11:28 PM

I'm not sure if this is the proper place for this question but, on average, how much do lawyers make a year?

I know the range can be quite varied, but lets say and average lawyer at an average firm in a city like Toronto or Ottawa. Looking for realistic figures...

I know things don't all come down to money but I'm having a difficult time deciding if I should go to law school or not. I current have a good job making 75k+ but it's not what I'm bored of it and it's not very satisfying (to me anyway)

It's a difficult decision to leave this job, have no income for a few years if I'll probably only end up where I am to begin with...

Any insights appreciated.


Hi all. I'm not an expert on lawyer salaries by any means, but I know Toronto 1st year associate salaries at large firms are right around $100,000. Not sure about Ottawa, but I would guess slightly lower. Keep in mind, with the high salary comes the long working hours as well, so that may be something to consider in your decisions.

#17 ihaveseoul

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 12:06 AM

Check nalpcanada.com for larger firm salaries.

Toronto Big Firm: First year associate salary (annual): $ 100,000.00
Vancouver Big Firm: First year associate salary (annual): $ 87,000.00
Montreal Big Firm: First year associate salary: (annual): $ 83,000.00
Calgary Big Firm: First year associate salary (annual): $ 80,000.00

#18 liveitout

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 12:17 AM

This data table from Statistics Canada shows the average male lawyer's salary to be $114,000 and the average female's to be $89,000 (for full-year, full-time work).

http://www12.statcan... ... &D5=0&D6=0

#19 IheartFleetwoodMac

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:54 AM

This data table from Statistics Canada shows the average male lawyer's salary to be $114,000 and the average female's to be $89,000 (for full-year, full-time work).

http://www12.statcan... ... &D5=0&D6=0


Shocking! Oh the glass ceiling...

#20 whistler123

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 12:14 AM

Check nalpcanada.com for larger firm salaries.

Toronto Big Firm: First year associate salary (annual): $ 100,000.00
Vancouver Big Firm: First year associate salary (annual): $ 87,000.00
Montreal Big Firm: First year associate salary: (annual): $ 83,000.00
Calgary Big Firm: First year associate salary (annual): $ 80,000.00


Just a head's up (since I've posted this on other salary-related threads), Calgary's first year big firm associate salary is actually around $95,000. Apparently you get around $82,000 until February, which is when a salary bump comes into play and it goes up to 95k.




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