Average salary of a business lawyer

Written by laura bramble
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Average salary of a business lawyer
New business lawyers earn an above-average salary. (young lawyer image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com)

There are many specialities within the law, including criminal, civil, real estate and family law. While many branches of the law deal with the individual, many lawyers choose to focus on business law. These attorneys are also called corporate lawyers.

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Job Description

Business lawyers work with businesses to help them navigate the rules and regulations that deal with commerce and trade. Business lawyers must be familiar with many different aspects of law and advise their clients on incorporation, contracts, damage calculations, court proceedings, liability and bankruptcy. All businesses need the services of a lawyer at some point. Many medium and large corporations employ one or more on their staff. Business lawyers have a high level of responsibility, since the cases they handle involve significant sums of money.


Business lawyers are among the highest paid in the field of law. The average annual salary range for business lawyers in January 2011 was £52,707 to £109,556, according to PayScale. The total compensation package for a business lawyer goes beyond just salary. Bonuses, profit sharing and commissions are common. Many business lawyers receive additional funds upon the successful completion of a case. Depending on the scale of the case, these bonuses can be considerable.

Hourly Rates

Many business lawyers who own their own practice work for a variety of clients and charge by the hour. Top business attorneys can command hourly fees as high as £650 per hour, but these fees also cover any overhead the attorney carries, such as office and staff costs. The majority of business lawyers earn between £37.3 and £130.00 per hour, according to PayScale.

Starting Salary

The starting salary for a business attorney right out of law school is higher than the average salary of for new attorneys, but nowhere near the earnings of a more experienced business attorney. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007, business lawyers earned a median salary of £44,915 after nine months in the field.

Geographical Location

The salary of a business lawyers varies according to geographic location. SalaryExpert reported that lawyers in the New York City area topped the nation, with average January 2011 salaries of £104,601 per year. Those in Houston, Atlanta and Dallas earned an average annual salary of around £91,000. Average annual salaries for business lawyers in smaller cities such as Phoenix, Indianapolis and Orlando ran between £65,000 and £71,500.

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