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July 05 2013

Top 3 High Paying Legal Careers

posted by Rebecca Wilcox

Money should be some kind of motivating factor when deciding what to do after graduation. If you’re not a trust fund child, you’ve likely racked up some pretty significant student loan debt. You’ll need to score a good job after college, in order to begin the slow process of paying back all that debt. From lowest to highest, this list takes a look at some of the highest paying legal professions and outlines what they entail, so you can make the right decision when planning for your future.

3. Judge

Over time, a judge will likely earn a million dollars. Their salaries tend to be quite high, as most judges make around $110,000 a year. If presiding over cases sounds like a better place to be than standing in front of the jury, then maybe you should be a judge. Judges are very important to the legal system and because of that, they get great benefits and retirement packages.  

Just remember, as a judge you’re going to be faced with some pretty difficult decisions. You’ll have to hear a lot of testimony and you’ll be responsible for someone’s fate, each and every time you hear a case. A criminal judge, especially, has to impose sentences on parties, found either innocent or guilty. What happens when you don’t agree with the verdict? It’s important that you choose a judicial field you’re comfortable passing judgment in.  

The Department of Labor estimates that the top 10% of earners in this field make more than $145,000. Still, not all judges are fabulously wealthy. It’s said the bottom 10% aren’t even earning $30,000 a year. As competition over judicial positions grows, it may be worth getting into a high-paying specialty if you want to become a judge and make a lot of money.

2. Chief Legal Officer

The CLO is the private council to large corporations. This means, your only job would be to represent a single corporation, while managing a legal team and being held personally responsible for all legalities. In this position, you’re in charge of hiring all the attorneys beneath you. If having a huge paycheck and getting to hand-pick your own crack team of attorneys sounds ideal, then you may want to try your luck at corporate law.

It’s important to keep in mind that anything that tarnishes the reputation of the corporation you work for will also tarnish your reputation. Imagine being Enron’s corporate attorney in 2001. A large number of Enron employees were sent to prison, finding themselves on the opposite side of the law. Make sure the corporation you’re working with has longevity in the business world and is making legal business decisions.  

1. Litigators

Litigators make a lot of money and rightly so. These attorneys spend hours preparing for the courtroom and when they get in, they are coming guns blazing. These attorneys are aggressive and work tirelessly to ensure the outcome is in their clients favor. So, if you’re not ready to persuade the jury, this isn’t the right field for you.

Like a good chess match, your work in this field will pit you against worthy advisories. You’ll need to outthink and outmaneuver your opposition. It won’t be easy and it won’t be fun all the time, but you will be making some good money.

If you’re someone who is also a do-gooder, you could focus your litigation career on consumer advocacy, trying cases for medical malpractice, environmental issues, and pollution. Asbestos has been illegal a long time and yet some people are still being exposed to it, including military veterans. Mesothelioma lawyers represent these victims, ensuring they’re compensated with the money they need to get the treatment they need. You could be the person who makes great money representing these victims.

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Rebecca Wilcox

About the Author: Rebecca Wilcox

Becky W. is a freelance writer that has a passion for technology and expands her thoughts on In Becky's spare time she loves to experience with new dishes in the kitchen and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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