In the United States, immigration law is a complicated and ever-changing field. Immigration attorneys are critical in assisting individuals and businesses with the immigration process. They can expect to earn between $70,000 and $90,000 per year for their efforts.
If you're thinking about a career in immigration law or are simply curious about the average US immigration lawyer's salary, this article is for you.
Average US Immigration Lawyer Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for lawyers in the United States in May 2021 was $127,990. However, this figure varies greatly depending on the field of practice, location, and years of experience. Let's examine the data to see what factors affect pay.
Salaries for immigration lawyers can vary greatly depending on the state in which they practice. According to the National Association of Law Placement (NALP), the highest median salary for law firm associates was $190,000 in New York, followed by $180,000 in Washington, DC, and $180,000 in California, Illinois, and Texas.
By Years of Experience
As with most professions, the salary for immigration lawyers increases with years of experience.
- Immigration lawyers with less than one year of experience earn around $63,000 annually.
- With 1-4 years of experience, the average salary is $68,000 annually.
- Immigration lawyers with 5-9 years of experience can earn an average salary of $81,000 per year.
- Immigration lawyers with 10-19 years of experience earn an average salary of $126 000 per year.
- Those with 20 or more years of experience earn an average salary of $157,000 per year.
The type of employer also plays a significant role in determining the salary for immigration lawyers. Immigration lawyers working for large law firms tend to earn more than those working for smaller firms or as solo practitioners.
- According to NALP, the median salary for law firm associates is $160,000.
- The median salary for public interest lawyers is $70,000.
Immigration attorneys who work for the federal government can also earn a good living. As of 2021, the starting salary for an attorney in the federal government was $556,233, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management, with opportunities for advancement and higher salaries based on years of experience and level of responsibility.
Skills and Education
Aside from location, years of experience, and employer, immigration lawyers' salaries can also be influenced by their skills and education. Due to the high demand for bilingual lawyers in the immigration field, immigration lawyers who are fluent in multiple languages, particularly Spanish, can command a higher salary. Immigration lawyers with advanced degrees, such as a Master of Laws (LLM) in immigration law, may also earn a higher salary due to their specialized knowledge and expertise.
Becoming an immigration lawyer can be a lucrative career with high earning potential. However, keep in mind that salaries can vary depending on various factors, such as location, years of experience, and employer type. Besides that, having specialized skills and education can influence earning potential in the field.