So you want to be a lawyer? Easier said than done. There’s a lot of work and time that goes into becoming a certified lawyer. Add deciding on an area of law to focus your practice and it becomes even more difficult. Here is compiled a brief description of what goes into becoming a lawyer and the best lawyer ranking list to help aid you in your decision.
Becoming A Lawyer
The become a certified lawyer, a lot of education is required. You’ll need to start by getting an undergraduate degree. The specific area of study is not necessarily important, but your GPA is. Most people choosing to pursue law will strive to keep their undergraduate GPA above at least a 3.0, although the higher, the more likely you are to be admitted to the law school of your choice.
After receiving your undergraduate, you’ll need to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). You’ll then attend the law school of your choosing and receive a Juris Doctor law degree. You’ll need to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). Once you have decided which state you want to practice in, you’ll take and pass the bar exam for that specific state.
Before you have passed the bar and are ready to start practicing, you’ll need to have decided which area of law you’d like to focus on. This is where things get tricky. There are quite a few different types of lawyers and fields of law for you to pick from. This decision is a personal one depending on interests and experience. To make the decision a little easier, here is a list of the best lawyer ranking based on salary.
This best lawyer ranking list starts with insurance lawyers.
An insurance lawyer, also known as an insurance litigation attorney, will work for either consumers, or insurance companies. Insurance lawyers help whichever side they’re working with to understand the law and navigate court.
Again, to become an insurance lawyer you’ll need a law degree and passing bar score in the state you plan to practice.
As of 2020, the average salary for an insurance litigation attorney was about $177,000, though it ranges from $160k to $200k. Some things that can affect the salary of an insurance lawyer are education, additional skills, and experience.
Car Accident Laywer
After insurance lawyers on this best lawyer ranking list, comes car accident lawyers.
A car accident lawyer is a lawyer who represents clients that have been involved in a car accident. Because there are constantly a high volume of car crashes occurring, car accident lawyers consistently have work and cases. Car accident lawyers are a type of personal injury lawyer, they just focus on a more specific field of work.
The education requirements for car accident lawyers are the same as for all other types of lawyers; a law degree and passing grade on the bar exam in the state you plan to work. Car accident lawyers need to know all of the laws regarding traffic and injury. If you know you want to specialize in car accidents, you may consider taking classes that teach traffic and road laws. If you know which state you want to work in, you may also study and learn those specific laws.
The U.S. Burea of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual salary for car accident lawyers is about $120,000. Seasoned professionals can earn anywhere up to $200,000 annually.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Next on the best lawyer ranking list are personal injury lawyers.
A personal injury lawyer, also known as plaintiff lawyers or trial lawyers deal with cases concerning individuals who have suffered an injury to either body, mind, or emotions. This could include cases like:
- Medical Malpractice
- Assault and battery
- Injury resulting in death of a family member
- Slander and defamation
- Product fault
- Injuries that occur while on the property of the accused party
Just like all other lawyers, personal injury lawyers must acquire a law degree and pass the bar exam within the state they plan to practice. To be certified as a specialist, a personal injury lawyer must recieve a special certification from the American Bar Association.
Personal injury lawyers recieve payment a little different than other lawyers. Rather than charge an hourly rate, they recieve a percentage of their client’s compensation. This is called a contingency basis, the lawyer only receives payment if they win their client’s case. In high-profile cases, they can recieve as much as 40%.
The average salary for a personal injury lawyer is around $73,000. However, depending on their employment and experience they can make anywhere from $80k to $164k a year. That is why they are higher on this best lawyer ranking list.
The next lawyer on this best lawyer ranking list is the criminal lawyer.
A criminal lawyer, also known as a criminal defense lawyer, defends individuals and organizations that have been charged with a crime. Criminal lawyers can handle a large range of cases, from domestic violence to embezzlement and fraud. They’ll also work with law enforcement and prosecutors during their cases to get more information and to negotiate deals. They represent defendants facing charges in state and federal courts.
Defense attorneys are often confused as criminal lawyers. While they have very similar responsibilities, the main difference between a criminal lawyer and a defense attorney is that an attorney cannot provide court services unless they have an established title of “defense attorney at law”.
To become a criminal lawyer, a law degree and passing score on the bar exam in the state they intend to practice is necessary. A law student who wants to pursue criminal law may consider taking courses in criminal law and law enforcement. Some criminal lawyers will earn a board certification from the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC).
The Burea of Labor Statistics found in 2018 that the median salary for criminal lawyers was around $120,000. Again, where a criminal lawyer finds employment will have a large effect on their salary. Those who work as public defenders and for non-profit have a much lower salary. Those employed by law firms and for high-profile clients make the most.
Next on this best lawyer ranking list are bankruptcy lawyers.
Bankruptcy lawyers help their clients through court proceedings that deal with either business or consumer bankruptcy. They can work with either individuals or entire corporations. For bankruptcy lawyers, a time of economic hardship usually translates to more clients. When people are unable to work or make proper payments on their mortgage or debt, they have to file for bankruptcy, which is where the bankruptcy lawyers job beings.
To become a bankruptcy lawyer, a law degree and a passing score on the bar exam in the state they intend to practice is required. Some specific courses that a prospective bankruptcy lawyer may want to take are negotiation and mediation, commercial law, and intellectual property law.
According to the Burea of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a bankruptcy lawyer in 2017 was about $119,000. A bankruptcy lawyer’s salary depends greatly on whether they work for the private or public sector. Opportunities in the public sector would be legal departments, large banks, credit card companies, or government. However, private sector employment generally pays more.
After bankruptcy lawyers on the best lawyer ranking list comes landlord attorneys.
A landlord attorney, more commonly known as a property/real estate lawyer, serve a variety of cases. They can represent either individual who may be suing their landlord or property owners who are having problems with their tenants. They can also aid in real estate transactions that have gone south or to help clients make real estate decisions before signing a contract.
It’ll come as no surprise that landlord attorneys need a law degree and a passing grade on the bar exam to be certified to practice. It’s a good idea to study real estate law while in law school and to intern with a law firm that focuses on landlord and real estate cases.
The average salary for a landlord attorney is about $117,000 annually. One potential difficulty with pursing real estate law is when there is a recession in the housing market, work also declines for real estate lawyers. However, if a lawyer specializes in landlord or tenant law, they may have an increased chance of retaining work.
Workers Compensation Attorney
Next on the best lawyer ranking list is the workers compensation attorney.
A workers compensation attorney, also known as a work injury attorney helps workers who were injured while working to recieve compensation for their injuries. This compensation usually covers medical bills or lost wages while they had to be away from work.
Again, a workers compensation attorney needs a law degree and a passing grade on the bar exam specifically in the state they intend to practice to be certified. Each state has very different laws regarding workers compensation, so if you know that you’d like to pursue this field, it may be smart to start studying the laws of the state you plan on working in while you’re still in law school.
Like personal injury lawyers, workers compensation attorneys generally work on a contingency basis. The percentage usually ranges from 10%-30%. Some states have a cap on how high of a percentage the attorney can take. On average, a workers compensation attorney makes around $114,000 annually.
After the workers compensation attorney on the best lawyer ranking list is the divorce lawyer.
A divorce lawyer or divorce attorney, specializes in, you guessed it, divorce. With about 44,230 weddings happening every weekend, it’s no surprise that divorce lawyers are one of the busiest types of lawyers. They may also deal with cases involving child custody and child support during the divorce process.
Just like the rest, a divorce lawyer needs a law degree and passing bar score in the state they plan to practice. Some states require additional experience in the field before a lawyer can be considered certified to practice. Interning with a firm that specializes in divorce law while still in law school could be a great way to prepare.
According to the Burea of Labor Statistics, the top three states to work in as a divorce lawyer are New York, California and Florida. The entry-level salary for a divorce lawyer in New York is around $38,000 per year. After several years of experience, the salary can increase to around $100,000.
Last on the best lawyer ranking list is the DWI lawyer.
A DWI lawyer is a type of criminal lawyer, they just have a more specific field of practice. DWI lawyers represent people who have been charged with a DUI or DWI.
A DWI lawyer, just like the rest, needs a law degree and passing bar score in the state they plan to practice. They are advised to intern with law firms that specialize in DUI or DWI cases to get more practice and experience. As laws are always changing, DWI lawyers are advised to remain up-to-date with the newest laws and regulations regarding DUIs and DWIs in their state of practice as well as nationally.
DWI lawyers have a generally lower salary than many other types of lawyers. As of 2012, their annual salary was about $56,000. Again, the salary depends on employment and experience.