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What Is the Average Salary for Lawyers in 2022? State-by-State Breakdown

Kathryn Morstad
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average-salary-lawyers-by-state

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If you are a recent law school graduate, rest easy — you have a bright future ahead. In effect, you can choose to live in any state and be guaranteed great earning potential. 

The one drawback that may challenge you is student loan debt.  Let’s face it — law school is expensive. If you are like many recent graduates, you have student loan debt from law school and undergraduate programs totaling almost $150,000.

With your outstanding earning potential, refinancing your student loan debt into something more manageable may make the most sense.  But before we look at refinancing, let’s take a look at average lawyer salaries by state.

Average salary for attorneys in 2022: State-by-state

According to the most recent information released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for attorneys is $145,300 per year; almost triple the average annual salary for all occupations.

Below is a list of states and territories and their individual average salaries for lawyers:

State/TerritoryAverage Salary**
Alabama$114,240
Alaska$115,260
Arizona$136,170
Arkansas$94,000
California$173,970
Colorado$150,630
Connecticut$154,610
Delaware$130,000
District of Columbia$192,180
Florida$130,010
Georgia$130,320
Guam$96,540
Hawaii$109,420
Idaho$105,450
Illinois$157,010
Indiana$111,790
Iowa$119,700
Kansas$110,290
Kentucky$102,980
Louisiana$108,070
Maine$106,350
Maryland$135,500
Massachusetts$164,800
Michigan$116,310
Minnesota$124,510
Mississippi$95,040
Missouri$109,820
Montana$83,030
Nebraska$112,860
Nevada$131,190
New Hampshire$126,220
New Jersey$147,170
New Mexico$103,290
New York$168,780
North Carolina$133,290
North Dakota$113,290
Ohio$124,160
Oklahoma$116,270
Oregon$116,860
Pennsylvania$142,890
Puerto Rico$71,030
Rhode Island$124,600
South Carolina$111,090
South Dakota$112,810
Tennessee$124,370
Texas$144,110
Utah$134,770
Vermont$104,790
Virgin Islands$127,860
Virginia$143,220
Washington$129,550
West Virginia$102,040
Wisconsin$129,440
Wyoming$100,090

The equalizing factor with a law degree, at least in the first few years, is the extensive student debt. These loans may have high interest and multiple due dates each month making them a nightmare to manage. But hold on — there are ways to streamline student loans and pay them more quickly?

How lawyers can pay off student loans faster

Once you join the workforce, you will have income available to manage your debt portfolio. With multiple loans at different rates and with different terms, consolidation and principal reduction may become prime considerations. 

Here are some strategies that make sense when paying student loans off faster:

  • Pay more than the minimum each month — Any amount that you pay in addition to your monthly minimum is applied directly to the principal. By paying more than the minimum amount due each month, you pay less interest over the life of the loan and shorten your repayment time. 
  • Use financial windfalls to make lump sum payments — When you receive large sums of cash for things like sign-on bonuses, tax refunds, or monetary gifts, earmark a significant portion to pay down your student loan principal.
  • Pay an extra payment each month — Student loans have no prepayment penalties, so by making an extra payment each month, you can cut your debt schedule by half. Note:  Be sure your loan servicer applies the extra payment to the current month’s balance and not the next month’s payment or you haven’t accomplished your goal.
  • Pay off the capitalized interest on student loans — The unpaid interest that is added to your student loan balance when you don’t make payments, such as during deferment or forbearance, is capitalized when you begin to pay.  This amount adds to the principal for the overall loan amount. If you can, pay this amount off as it accrues to avoid capitalization. This interest is something to avoid; otherwise, you’ll repay more than you originally borrowed.
  • Refinance and consolidate your outstanding loans — Whether it’s to recognize a better interest rate or to consolidate multiple loans into one easily-managed payment, refinancing your student loans may be the perfect way to obtain more favorable terms allowing you to pay off your debt more quickly.

Why lawyers make great candidates for student loan refinancing

When looking at refinancing, attorneys just starting out in their careers are able to secure very favorable loan terms for several reasons: 

  • They have good salaries and future earning potential,
  • they have a good credit history (barring any past problems with debt repayment), and
  • they have a good debt-to-income ratio which all lenders use to assess creditworthiness.

By being favorably positioned, a new lawyer can negotiate with student loan vendors to refinance their student debt and recognize solid loan terms that fit their lifestyles and budget needs.

All in all, refinancing to a lower rate can be an excellent solution for lawyers just starting out in their legal careers allowing them to become debt free quickly.

Where to start with student loan refinancing

It may be helpful to use Purefy’s convenient Compare Rates tool to find out what types of interest rates and repayment terms you have available. Purefy’s tool allows you to submit five pieces of information to our get a curated list of high-quality student loan companies. You then receive pre-qualified offers from several top lenders in an easy-to-compare chart that details rates and terms.

This process doesn’t affect your credit report and there are no obligations or commitments until you are ready.

You’ve worked hard to earn an advanced law degree and you deserve to enjoy the benefits of working in this highly lucrative field.  The quickest way to achieve financial freedom is to pay your student loan debt using one of our suggestions including refinancing your loans to get a lower interest rate overall.

Start planning your future today. Check out what our best lenders have to offer at Purefy.

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