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What Types of Lawyers Make the Most Money?

Someone just out of high school who wants to be a bankruptcy lawyer might ask whether that type of lawyer makes a lot money.  Anyone who wants to practice law must decide on a specialty.  Kind of like doctors who may specialize in cardie, surgery or pediatrics, a lawyer must also specialize.  Some examples of specialties that a lawyer may choose are criminal defense, civil, divorce, bankruptcy, medical, DUI, corporate and personal injury.

Deciding on a specialty is very important because it will help the student decide on which paths to go with his or her education and which extracurricular activities, such as internships, to participate in.  So, it’s a good idea before deciding to understand how much money each makes.  This, however, isn’t a very simple question to answer.

The reason this isn’t an easy question to answer is because hiring a lawyer for each specific circumstance will cost differently, but the supply and demand for each specialty varies as well.  There are the two things to consider: rate, and supply and demand. 

For example, a bankruptcy lawyer makes a lower amount of money per case, but the cases are generally quick, and there are a lot of them.  Being a bankruptcy lawyer in today’s economy is especially fruitful because a greater number of people are declaring bankruptcy.  In contrast, a corporate lawyer makes a lot of money per case, but the cases are more drawn out and there aren’t as many of them.  Another thing to consider is how many lawyers work in that specialty in a given area.  Divorce lawyers do pretty well, but there are generally a lot of them all competing for the same work.
Medical lawyers are always in demand because medicine will always be needed and there will always be related lawsuits.  Whether these cases are drawn out or not depends.  Also, to be a medical lawyer may require one to establish a record and work for a specific medical institution. 

One may think that defense lawyers make a lot of money.  Actually, defense lawyers generally make one of the lowest salaries, but that depends on who is being defended and for what.  To get high profile cases, one must establish a good record and be well known.  Also, if one is a lawyer for a specific group of individuals known for criminal activity, not considering the ethics of doing this, they may be set for life. 

Choosing to become a bankruptcy lawyer may be a safe bet during these economic times.  Of course that may change in twenty years – most citizens hope it does.  That brings up another important question to ask when choosing a specialty: what will be needed and pay the best in the future. 
Archie Johnson is a freelance blogger for Benjamin Skinner, an Arizona banruptcy lawyer.

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