What Is the Average Salary for a Family Lawyer?
Research what it takes to become a family lawyer. Learn about job duties, education requirements, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Career Information at a Glance
Family lawyers are attorneys who specialize in helping families navigate difficult legal issues, such as divorce, guardianship and visitation rights. Explore the earnings potential of family lawyers and learn about career requirements for this field by taking a look at the table below:
|Degree Required||Juris Doctor|
|Key Responsibilities||Negotiate pre- and post-nuptial agreements, solve custody disputes, manage divorce proceedings|
|Licensure||State licensure is required|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||10% (for all lawyers)*|
|Average Salary (2013)||$131,990 (for all lawyers)**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Family Lawyer Earnings
An average salary figure for family lawyers isn't readily available. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2013 that the average salary for all lawyers was $131,990. Pay for lawyers can vary according to location and the type of employer. Additionally, lawyers tend to earn more as partners in law firms than in their own practices.
Many people think of family lawyers as divorce attorneys; in reality, this is only part of a larger picture. As a family lawyer, you may also handle arrangements for pre- and postnuptial agreements, child support and custody disputes. Your work may include some crossover with other areas of law, such as criminal and civil law.
Dealing with real estate, wills, annuities and trust funds is also within a family lawyer's domain. You may meet with clients and discuss how to handle these issues or act as a mediator between two or more different clients in relation to a will or an inheritance. Family law attorneys often consult with other law professionals in constructing a case and gathering relevant information.
Education and Other Requirements
In order to be a lawyer, you must complete a bachelor's degree program and then a Juris Doctor (J.D.) program at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Some schools allow you to concentrate in family law. Family law concentrations cover topics including domestic violence, ethics, child advocacy, marital property, elder care and estate planning. Aspiring family lawyers also gain interviewing, negotiating and counseling skills. Some schools award a certificate upon completion of the concentration, in addition to the J.D.
Upon completing law school, you can sit for your state's bar exam. Passing the bar exam is required to earn state licensure. Other licensure requirements can vary by state; for instance, the BLS reports that some states may also require you to pass an ethics test or the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
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