Lawyer Salary Update: Expect Modest Salary Gains in 2016

Salary Guide

The starting lawyer salary in the United States is expected to increase 3.1 percent overall in 2016, according to the Robert Half Legal 2016 Salary Guide. Law firm attorneys with four-plus years of professional experience should see greater-than-average salary gains.

Here are some key lawyer salary updates from the research from the 2016 Salary Guide:

  • The average starting lawyer salary law firm attorneys is expected to increase 3.5 percent.
  • The average starting lawyer salary for those with 10-plus years' experience at a midsize law firm is expected to increase 4.7 percent from 2015, to the average range of $162,750 to $268,500 annually.
  • At a small-to-midsize law firm, lawyers with four to nine years' experience are projected to see starting salaries rise 4.7 percent, to the range of $102,750 to $175,750 per year.
  • First-year associates at large law firms are expected to earn a lawyer salary between $116,000 and $143,500, a 2.7 percent increase over 2015.
  • Corporate attorneys are expected to see average compensation gains of 3.1 percent over 2015 levels.
  • Starting salaries for in-house counsel with four to nine years' experience at large companies (more than $250 million in revenue) are projected to rise 3.7 percent, to the range of $160,500 to $217,750 annually.
  • The lawyer salary for attorneys in the hottest practice areas are in short supply, intensifying competition and driving up salaries. Those practice areas include litigation, general commercial law, health care, real estate and intellectual property.

For more data on current lawyer salary ranges, visit the Robert Half Legal Salary Center or download the 2016 Robert Half Legal Salary Guide.