Average Lawyer Wages by Metropolitan Area
The average wage for lawyers is highly dependent on geography — where the lawyer practices. Half of the 10 metropolitan statistical areas with the highest average wages for lawyers in 2021 were in California: San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Oxnard, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At the other extreme, all five areas with the lowest average wages for lawyers are in Puerto Rico: Aguadilla, Mayaguez, Ponce, Arecibo and San Juan. In the Continental United States, four of the five areas with the lowest lawyer wages are in the Midwest and South: Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Enid, Oklahoma; Hammond, Louisiana; and Weirton, West Virginia.
The disparity between some areas is huge. The average lawyer wage in the highest-paid area (San Jose, California, at $231,200) is five times greater than the average wage in the lowest-paid area (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, at $44,290).
There is one surprise among the top 10 areas with highest lawyer wages: Midland, Michigan, near Saginaw, is No. 9 at $164,430. The BLS lists only 110 lawyers in the Midland area, so it’s possible the numbers are skewed by a few high earners.
Where’s the midpoint among all 384 metropolitan areas measured by the BLS? That’s
Santa Fe, New Mexico, at $115,640 and Bend, Oregon, at $115,580.