A solo lawyer is someone who is legally licensed and qualified to practice in a field of law who elects to open a practice on their own. Typically, a solo lawyer earns around $49,000 and that reflects the average income of 354,000 attorneys who filed as a solo practitioner in 2012. However, it can vary based on the socioeconomic status of the target clients and where the law firm is actually located. Data highlighted on the Business Insider has proven that a solo practitioner earns a significantly lower amount per year than that of someone who holds a position as a partner in a major corporate law firm, but earns more than a lawyer working for the state and local governments.
What’s the difference between the variations of lawyers?
Aside from the fact that lawyers can practice in a specific field of law such as child custody, criminal defense, bankruptcy, etc., there are also different classes of lawyers. Three are described below.
A corporate law firm is usually a multi-staffed legal organization with attorneys whose focus is primarily on corporate transactions and advising corporations on their legal rights. Many stores and major companies call upon corporate attorneys when they need legal guidance or representation should a lawsuit be filed against them.
Solo lawyers represent themselves and their firm. They have to work hard to attract clients to want to obtain representation from them, and that can be rather difficult. Unlike a firm that has several lawyers of all who may bring something different to the table, a solo lawyer is the only one providing their legal expertise. The more committed and determined a solo practitioner is, the more successful they can be.
State or Local Government Attorneys
These lawyers are usually public defenders who are hired by the state to represent those in court who may be facing criminal charges. Public defenders aren’t paid for by the defendant, rather, they are compensated by the state. A person who is considered indigent and can’t afford legal counsel usually is granted the right to obtain it from an appointed public defender. District attorneys also fall under this class of attorneys.
What are some myths regarding solo lawyers?
According to the lawyerist.com, there are several myths concerning solo attorneys that are floating around.
- Solo practitioners couldn’t get a job. There are many stigmas out there that imply that starting your own firm is a “bad” thing but for many it’s invigorating.
- Solo attorneys slack off and don’t work hard. While many attorneys of large firms work 80 hours a week, someone who has their own firm isn’t always able to dedicate the same
amount of time. It’s a “one man show” so the division of duties falls solely on that
person if they don’t have much help.
- Solo attorneys don’t make a great deal of money. According to the lawyerist.com, some solo attorneys take home around $50,000 but only work around 40 hours per week. And some who run their own show can even see between $50,000-$70,000.
Although a solo lawyer’s salary can vary, it more or less depends on how much time and effort they put into their firm to bring awareness to the services they offer and the experience they hold.