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Highest paid law jobs and what they pay

12th June 2014

It has long been known that one of the major pulls to a career in the legal industry is that of its impressive pay packet. While most legal jobs offer a generous wage as a result of experience and qualifications needed to gain entry into such a profession, as well as the nature of the work itself, some job roles offer a higher wage than others dependant on location and the company. 

This guide offers insight into some of the highest paid professions in the legal industry London law firm jobs tend to be higher paid than regional based jobs, but this is a factor that holds true across most industries due to the cost of living in the capital and the size and nature of legal employers in the City. While this remains true across most professions, there are still some job titles that are known for offering a lawyer salary at the higher end of the scale comparatively across the sector. This guide looks to give you an overview of such roles and their pay according to the National Careers Service and whether they’d be right for you.

Patent Attorney

Approximate top salary: £100,000 - £300,000 a year.

Starting off with one of the highest jobs in the profession, the patent attorney is one of the most high up roles in intellectual property law, a sector that helps big companies protect their assets. The patent attorney makes sure that other individuals or businesses do not steal in part or whole any part of another inventor or company’s invention or idea.

This is a big business and involves working hours of 30-40 per week, which is worth bearing in mind before considering such a career. While this is a legal role, many candidates going into this profession have a professional or educational background in scientific, technical or engineering subjects. Partners in private practice tend to earn the most in this role, with experience in the job being a contributing factor to pay increase.

Company Secretary

Approximate top salary: £100,000- £150,000 a year.

While the company secretary has a tough job on their hands ensuring that their company is following the letter of the law in all practices, it is well rewarded by a healthy pay packet. The company secretary often holds one of the most high-up in-house counsel jobs in the company and is responsible for the legal side of a company’s business both, financially and legally. Company secretaries often hold a position of general counsel or other legal position in the company as well, boosting their responsibility and pay. Top salaries can hit six figures, but jobs with high profile companies often secure an impressive figure on the salary calculator as well.

Much like the responsibility of the patent attorney, the Trade mark attorney works to protect a company’s trademarked itemsTrade mark attorney

Approximate top salary: £100,000 a year.

Much like the responsibility of the patent attorney, the Trade mark attorney works to protect a company’s trademarked items, included logos, brand names and signatures. Work for big clients comes with higher pay, with the National Careers Service estimating the top pay for this role to be around £100,000, with starting salary earning anything up to £25,000.

Solicitor

Approximate top salary: £100,000 a year or more.

While the above job roles earn a higher salary than that of the solicitor, with a slight drop in wage comes a drop in hours as solicitors work approximately 37 hours per week. A solicitor’s work is never dull as they can work for a wide range of clients, including individuals, businesses and groups. Solicitors making partner in large firms or in-house tend to earn the most and can gain up to six figures, but other jobs in this field can vary widely depending on employer and experience.

Crown Prosecutor

Approximate top salary: £47,065- £81,716 or more.

With this job comes a great deal of responsibility in the examining of criminal cases and, as such, is paid handsomely. This job has a higher starting salary than most of the other roles mentioned as starting crown prosecutors can earn from £27,722 annually, a role which can apply to barristers and solicitors.

Barrister

Approximate top salary: £47,065- £81,716 or more.

Finally, while the barrister has one of the lowest starting salaries, at £12,000 according to figures from the National Careers service, it is one that can rise to over £81,716 as a crown advocate or principal crown advocate. This role is more specialised than that of a solicitor, with work seeing barristers taking professional clients and providing legal advice to and representing both organisations and individuals in court.

While legal salaries often depend on experience and location, the nature of the role is also a huge factor and varies from role to role, just as wage does from industry to industry. Applying for a new role can be a daunting prospect, but legal recruitment agencies can make the whole process easier with a greater chance of success through their expertise and knowledge across all of the specific roles mentioned and more.

Image Credit: Lance Bellers (shutterstock.com), BusinessSarah (flickr.com)