Legal Occupation Profiles


The Legal occupation profiles compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in May 2016 and modified in March 2017) include specific information about 9 distinct occupational job types.

Explore the qualifications and nature of each job type through links on this page and throughout the site.

Fast Facts: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) estimates that 1,075,520 are employed in this occupational group earning the “mean annual wage” (as defined below) of $105,980.

If you are interested in assessing long-term trends and comparing the Bureau’s annual surveys beginning in 1988 see here.

In general, the “mean” is the sum of the total values (e.g., wages) in the data set or survey divided by number of values (while the “median” is the middle value in same the sequence. The term “mean annual wage” (or “MAW”) is calculated by multiplying the mean hourly wage as determined by the BLS by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours. So, for example, the Legal group’s mean hourly wage of $50.95, multiplied by 2,080, results in the mean annual wage of $105,980.

Distinct Occupational Types (by size):                                                           
Largest Employment Category--Lawyers619,530
Smallest Employment Category--Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators6,300

 Highest Paid (mean annual wage) 

 Lowest Paid (from the lowest) 

What’s Hot: First, Lawyers at $139,880 and then Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates at $115,460 take the top spots on the Best Paid List in the Legal group. Perry Mason would also be amazed that Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers average $95,240.

What’s Not: In 2008, Judicial Law Clerks, headed up the Least Paid list at $40,580 as they awaited their recruitment to the top-paying law firms. That’s dramatically changed as at a MAW of $59,840, Clerks have relinquished the lowest paid spot to Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers, who are at $51,490.

Wage Estimates for the entire group can be found here

Sources: In addition to specific citations noted, supplementary source materials include the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.