Lawyers Have Median Personal Income of $65,250

By Driskill, Matt | THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 26, 1987 | Go to article overview

Lawyers Have Median Personal Income of $65,250


Driskill, Matt, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Lawyers responding to a new readership survey by the ABA Journal, report a 1986 median personal income of $65,250, and a median household income of $82,660.

That means that half the lawyers belonging to the American Bar Association earn more than $65,250 while half earn less.

The survey also found a "significant correlation" between age, sex and the income of lawyers.

Median personal income for lawyers under 45 years of age was $54,560 while the personal median income for lawyers over 45 was $131,240. Female lawyers had median personal income of $40,190 while male lawyers had a median personal income of $71,710.

ABA Journal Editor Larry Bodine said "one reason female lawyers earn less as a group is that they have been in practice fewer years than male lawyers as a group.

"The majority of women practicing law entered the profession after 1970," he added.

The survey also disclosed that the average personal income of lawyers is $100,370 and the average household income is $121,190.

"Historically," Bodine said, "lawyers in the Midwest and South have earned less as a group than lawyers in the Northeast. Lawyers in larger law firms generally earn more than lawyers in small or solo practices.

"Further, we've found larger earnings in firms in major metropolitan areas like New York and Chicago than in rural settings."

There also are differences, he said, in the types of law practiced and the amount of income. Specialists in areas such as litigation make more than general practitioners.

The figures are consistent with statistics released earlier this year by the ABA Journal. However, those figures were only averages and not median income levels.

The new statistics are based on a readership survey conducted in September by mail. Total respondents numbered 521 with 19 percent of those being female while 81 percent were male. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percent. . .

- Shawnee attorney Terry West was recently elected president of the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association which represents over 1,200 attorneys throughout the state.

West served as president in 1973, becoming the second member to be elected to a second term as president.

In addition to this post, West serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Oklahoma Bar Association as well as a trustee of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. . .

- It was one of the indelible moments of the 1950s, witnessed by millions watching the Army-McCarthy hearings. On June 9, 1954, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy revealed that a protege of Joseph N. Welch, the Army counsel - a young lawyer, Fred Fisher - once belonged to what the senator called "the legal bulwark of the Communist Party."

"Until this moment, senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness," Welch replied indignantly. When Mr. McCarthy attempted to elaborate, he cut him off. "Let us not assassinate this lad further!" Welch retorted. "You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

While many remember the moment, fewer can recall Fisher's crime: as a student at Harvard Law School in the late 1940s, he belonged to a group called the National Lawyers Guild. So controversial was the left-wing guild that Welch didn't quibble with McCarthy's characterization of it; the senator's sin, in his eyes, lay in dredging up the youthful but damning indiscretion. …

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Lawyers Have Median Personal Income of $65,250
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