Criminal Lawyer Salary: Everything you need to know

Criminal Lawyer Salary: Criminal lawyers play a crucial role in the criminal justice system, advocating for the rights of individuals accused of crimes. Their expertise and dedication can significantly impact the outcome of a case, making their services highly sought-after. As a result, criminal lawyers often command substantial salaries.

Here is Criminal Lawyer Salary in details

FeatureSalary Factors
Criminal Defense LawyerAverage salary: $98,109
LocationLarge metropolitan area: Higher salary
Salary RangeMinimum: $21,204
Experience10+ years: Higher salary
CaseloadHigh-profile/complex cases: Higher salary
Practice SettingSelf-employed/small firm: Higher salary
EducationLL.M.: Higher salary
Bar AdmissionsMultiple jurisdictions: Higher salary
SpecializationWhite-collar crime/drug offenses: Higher salary
ReputationStrong reputation: Higher salary

Average Criminal Lawyer Salary

According to, the average annual salary for a criminal defense lawyer in the United States is $98,109. However, salaries can vary widely depending on several factors, including:

Location: Criminal lawyers in large metropolitan areas typically earn more than those in smaller towns or rural areas.

Experience: As a criminal lawyer gains experience, their earning potential increases. Lawyers with 10-plus years of experience can command salaries of over $150,000.

Caseload: Criminal lawyers who handle high-profile or complex cases can earn significantly more than those who handle low-level offenses.

Practice Setting: Criminal lawyers who work for themselves or in small firms often earn more than those who work for large law firms.

Salary Range for Criminal Lawyers

The salary range for criminal lawyers is quite broad, with some earning as little as $21,204 and others reaching as much as $556,465. The median salary, which represents the middle point of the salary range, is $102,507.

Factors Affecting Criminal Lawyer Salary

In addition to the factors mentioned above, several other factors can affect a criminal lawyer’s salary, such as:

Education: Criminal lawyers with advanced degrees, such as a Master of Laws (LL.M.), may command higher salaries.

Bar Admissions: Criminal lawyers who are admitted to practice in multiple jurisdictions may earn more.

Specialization: Criminal lawyers who specialize in a particular area of criminal law, such as white-collar crime or drug offenses, may command higher salaries.

Reputation: Criminal lawyers with a strong reputation may be able to charge higher fees.

Also Read: Cracking the Code: Exploring the Intricacies of Criminal Law


Criminal lawyer salary is influenced by various factors, including location, experience, caseload, practice setting, education, bar admissions, specialization, and reputation. While the average salary is around $98,109, experienced and skilled criminal lawyers can earn significantly more.

Yes, criminal law can be a rewarding and lucrative career for individuals with the right skills and interests.

While criminal lawyers do not face the same physical risks as law enforcement officers, they can be subjected to verbal threats and harassment from clients, opposing counsel, or even the general public.

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