Law is one of the most popular academic disciplines people want to enroll in. With its high salaries, job stability, and respectable title status, it is one of the most lucrative and reputable fields available. Throughout this article, we’ll look at the best companies for lawyers, as well as company reviews and related salaries.
What Is A Lawyer?
A lawyer is someone who vigorously studies the law to use it in a professional capacity. Lawyers are tasked with using the law to defend or prosecute prospective clients. There is a wide range of lawyers, including family lawyers, immigration lawyers, public defenders, and many others. Through the successful completion of law school and the passing of the bar exam, lawyers can give legal advice and represent others.
Find Your Bootcamp Match
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Access exclusive scholarships and prep courses
How to Get a Job as a Lawyer
The process of becoming a lawyer is notoriously intense. It requires years of many hours of study, practice, and exams. Before you’re ready to join or begin your own law firm, you need to go through the necessary steps of ensuring you’re fully prepared to take on the law as a career. The steps below can help you get started.
- Earn a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is required for acceptance into a Juris Doctor (JD) program. Some traditional areas of undergraduate study are political science, philosophy, economics, and business.
- Take the LSAT. The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is regulated and supervised by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). It’s administered digitally and consists of two parts, including a multiple-choice exam and an essay. LSAC allows students to take the LSAT seven times throughout their life.
- Acquire a Juris Doctor degree. The first year of law school focuses on subjects such as torts, contracts, property, civil procedure, criminal law, and constitutional law. In the second and third years, students can choose classes based on interest, such as family law, personal injury, civil litigation, or criminal defense.
- Gain practical experience while studying. Relevant work experience can help prepare prospective lawyers for the future. Law students can apply for a clerkship, internship, or fellowship to achieve this. Most firms hire law students for clerical jobs.
- Pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The MPRE, administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), is a multiple-choice test designed to evaluate knowledge of the legal industry’s professional conduct and ethical standards.
- Pass the bar exam. All aspiring lawyers must take and pass their jurisdiction’s bar exam. The Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), the most common bar exam in the US, consists of the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), two Multistate Performance Tests (MPT), and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). A swearing-in ceremony inducts all who pass.
Top 10 Highest-Paying Law Firms
|Company||Salary for Lawyers|
|Winston & Strawn LLP||$365,823|
|Arnold & Porter||$321,024|
|Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher||$296,148|
|Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP||$287,002|
|Faegre Baker Daniels||$275,622|
Winston & Strawn LLP
Winston & Strawn LLP is a global law firm with office locations in Chicago. The firm specializes in private equity, intellectual property, labor and employment, and more. It has a strong mentorship program that allows junior associates to quickly develop skills in high-profile matters. It is also committed to promoting professional development, diversity, and wellness.
Big financial institutions like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Discover, and Wells Fargo regularly tap Winston & Strawn to manage a wide variety of legal issues, such as large corporate financings, civil litigation, class action suits, and regulatory issues.
What Does Winston & Strawn LLP Pay Its Lawyers?
Winston & Strawn’s lawyers are one of the highest-paid employees in the legal profession. They earn an average of $365,823 annually, which is 66 percent higher than the average US lawyer salary. A Winston & Strawn associate earns around $276,624 per year, and their partner makes approximately $550,529.
Winston & Strawn LLP Reviews
Based on Glassdoor reviews, Winston & Strawn is one of the best firms for lawyers to work for. It offers competitive pay, generous benefits, and a good work environment. However, not everyone thrives with the long hours, heavy workloads, and demanding high-profile clients.
WilmerHale is a litigation firm known for its work in government matters. The firm boasts several office locations and specializes in intellectual property and Supreme Court litigation practice. It also handles legal matters on bank securities, cyber security, and technology experience. Its client list includes business organizations such as Apple, Intel, Boeing, Oracle, and Pfizer.
In addition to being a huge advocate of pro bono work, WilmerHale established the WilmerHale Legal Services Center. Through this, Harvard law students help people in legal matters like estate planning, asset management, family law, tax issues, and veterans law. The firm also boasts a supportive culture where associates can access professional development resources.
What Does WilmerHale Pay Its Lawyers?
Lawyers at WilmerHale earn a yearly average of $356,824. Its law associates earn an average of $235,203, annually. The firm’s partners make around $1,071,165, per year.
According to Glassdoor, employees rate WilmerHale 3.8 out of five stars, with 73 percent of the respondents saying they recommend working for the firm. Most reviews highlight the great benefits, work culture, diversity, and excellent work environment. The downside is long work hours and unexpected weekend work, both of which are common in many big law firms.
K&L Gates is the product of various mergers and is one of the larger firms worldwide. It has office locations on five continents and employs around 2,000 lawyers. The firm practices business law in a wide range of industries such as finance, intellectual property, labor, commercial litigation, real estate, asset management, and investment funds.
The firm advocates pro bono work, devoting more than 46,000 hours to its program initiatives. Furthermore, the firm partners with various community organizations and encourages lawyers and staff to volunteer a variety of services in their communities.
What Does K&L Gates Pay Its Lawyers?
K&L Gates pays its lawyers $331,111, annually. Associate attorney interns earn an average of $95 per hour or $182,400 in a year. K&L Gates’ annual partner salary ranges from $134,939 to $1,042,841.
K&L Gates Reviews
K&L Gates’ reviews agree that the firm has excellent mentorship and hands-on training from tenured attorneys. Some respondents are unhappy with the pay-raise decisions and the monthly expectation of 1,850 billable hours but are satisfied with the compensations. The firm offers a variety of wellness programs and encourages pro bono and diversity-related work.
Arnold & Porter
Arnold & Porter is another one of the larger firms, with around 1,000 lawyers in 14 office locations, including a major hub in Washington DC. The firm concentrates on mentoring, shadowing opportunities, and multiple tenured mentors for junior associates. It hosts social gatherings at the close of each business day where lawyers can drink and snack while chatting.
The firm has dozens of practice areas and is famous for its antitrust, appellate litigation, environmental, and securities litigation practices. Its clients include Kroger, General Electric, and AT&T. It also successfully defended the Golden State Warriors in an antitrust suit by StubHub.
What Does Arnold & Porter Pay Its Lawyers?
The average Arnold & Porter lawyer salary is $321,024, per year. Its associates average $243,839 annually, while partners earn $986,927 in a year.
Arnold & Porter Reviews
Arnold & Porter scores 4.3 out of five stars, with a 99 percent trust and approval rate of the CEO. In addition, 92 percent of the respondents recommend working for this firm. The firm’s unpredictable hours and 2,000-hour billable target should be kept in mind, but associates are pleased with their compensation and market salary, especially the special bonus given in 2021.
In terms of headcount and revenue, DLA Piper is one of the largest law firms in the world. It has approximately 4,300 lawyers in 90 office locations worldwide. DLA Piper’s major practice areas of expertise include newly introduced technology like artificial intelligence, fintech, top blockchain projects, digital assets practices, and top-notch practice in data protection, privacy, and security.
What Does DLA Piper Pay Its Lawyers?
DLA Piper compensates its lawyers $312,815, annually. The corporate lawyers tasked with corporate transactions earn $182,668 per year. Litigation lawyers earn between $298,717 and $324,148, with an additional cash bonus averaging $53,700.
DLA Piper Reviews
DLA Piper is highly recommended by its employees. It earned four out of five stars and garnered 97 percent of CEO approval ratings from respondents. Associates are happy to oblige the 2,000-hour monthly billable requirement because they are satisfied with the compensation. The firm’s various tech options helped associates work from home efficiently throughout the pandemic.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
This company is a litigation powerhouse with more than 1,400 attorneys and office locations in 10 countries. They specialize in litigation, antitrust, M&A, private equity, and real estate work. After they are encouraged to experience different departments in their first and second years at the firm, they are free to choose their practice groups and assignments in their third year.
What Does Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Pay Its Lawyers?
Lawyers at Gibson Dunn earn an annual average of $296,148. Its corporate lawyers make $318,98 per year, including a cash bonus of $31,899. Senior lawyers average $400,000 in a year, with an additional $115,000 cash bonus.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Reviews
Employees love the friendly, cordial work atmosphere. Based on Glassdoor’s review, associates like their control, workload management, and compensation. Partners give generous feedback and associates have opportunities for high-level work.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Morgan Lewis is a global law firm based in Philadelphia with 31 office locations in key cities like Boston, Singapore, San Francisco, and Dubai. The firm is best known for its labor and employment practices. It has experience in the financial services industry, complex litigation matters, health care, commercial litigation, sports, and technology.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
What Does Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Pay Its Lawyers?
A lawyer’s salary at this firm is $287,002 per year. An associate lawyer’s yearly average is $278,066, including $47,216 in cash bonus, while a litigation lawyer earns $279,059 annually.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius Reviews
The firm’s associates gave positive reviews on the flexible work schedules, client contact, top-of-market compensation, well-distributed workloads, and collaborative, friendly work culture. Partners are approachable and keen on mentoring developing associates. Associates expressed their appreciation of the partnership’s transparency, including the firm financials.
Faegre Baker Daniels
Faegre Baker Daniels, now known as Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, provides a wide array of practice areas in corporate, civil litigation, regulatory, and business organizations. Its expertise covers diverse practice areas such as bankruptcy proceedings, commercial workouts, debt restructurings, foreclosure defense, and refinancing.
What Does Faegre Baker Daniels Pay Its Lawyers?
Faegre Baker Daniels lawyers earn $275,622 in a year. Associate lawyers’ salaries range from $88,470 to $221,567 per year, while senior lawyers’ pay range is $101,621 to $365,484 annually.
Faegre Baker Daniels Reviews
Glassdoor reviews from employees rate the firm 3.7 out of five stars. Associates rave about their amazing colleagues, strong management, and holiday benefits. However, many are dissatisfied with salary, compensations, and IT systems that caused challenges in remote work.
Perkins Coie is a full-service firm with dozens of office locations across many industries, including aerospace, transportation, financial services, consumer products, and consumer protection. The firm’s clients include Microsoft, Facebook, Starbucks, Amazon, and Google. It has earned a reputation as the go-to firm for tech startups over the years.
What Does Perkins Coie Pay Its Lawyers?
A Perkins Coie lawyer earns $230,384 yearly, including $52,360 in a cash bonus. An associate’s total pay average per year is $202,712, while a partner makes $454,506.
Perkins Coie Reviews
Perkins Coie has a high rating in Glassdoor reviews. Employees commend the firm’s people-first culture, wellness program, and excellent benefits. Associates are always busy with substantive work, appropriate to the associates’ experience level and skills. One of the downsides reported is the lack of transparency in recent compensation changes.
Baker Donelson is one of the largest law firms in the country, with more than 650 lawyers in many office locations working in 30 practice areas. The firm is business-oriented, emphasizing the need for innovative solutions to reduce client costs while building on its practice areas. It promotes business development opportunities for the firm and its attorneys.
What Does Baker Donelson Pay Its Lawyers?
Baker Donelson’s lawyer’s annual salary is $148,108. The average total pay for a partner lawyer is $357,000, including cash bonus and profit-sharing. An associate averages $144,103 in a year.
Baker Donelson Reviews
Most associates commend the firm’s management mentorship. Employees gave Baker Donelson’s CEO a 99 percent approval rating. Positive feedback includes excellent work-life balance, diversity, wellness programs, and competent IT support for remote work. A negative aspect noted was the uneven distribution of substantive work.
Why You Should Become a Lawyer in 2022
Law is one of the most enduring, financially stable, and secure job professions, globally. Based on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the employment of lawyers will grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, with 46,000 new jobs projected yearly. The demand for lawyers is constantly rising in the upcoming years, resulting in the rising average salary for this profession.
Best Companies for Lawyers FAQ
No. Both attend law school, pass the bar exam, and must abide by a code of ethics. Legal practice in civil and criminal courts is needed to be considered an attorney. In contrast, the requirement does not apply to a lawyer.
It takes approximately seven years to become a lawyer, including four years to complete an undergraduate program and three years for a JD program.
Juris Doctor, previously known as a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), is a three-year professional law degree. The changes in the degree name reflect its status as a professional degree. A JD degree gives the holder a professional law degree.
Many alternative careers for lawyers are available nowadays. Lawyers can use their law degree to transition into a career as legal technicians, legal marketing managers, or legal consultants in any specialized field, such as real estate law, family law, immigration law, or tax law.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.