A lot of people imagine a stereotype when they hear the word lawyer: a tough guy with slicked-back hair like Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer, usually. 

It’s a misunderstanding to lump all lawyers together in one group. Like athletes or musicians, lawyers work in a variety of environments doing a variety of jobs. 

Some lawyers dedicate their career to working for low-income populations. Many of these legal aid attorneys work in clinics funded by the Legal Services Corporation. While these lawyers earn a decent living, they provide services for free and do not charge clients. 

Private practice lawyers, on the other hand, can charge steep hourly rates. The hourly rate a lawyer charges can depend on several factors. 

How Much Should You Pay in Attorney’s Fees?

When you need a lawyer, you have to consider the expense of attorney’s fees. In Maryland, attorney’s fees must be reasonable in light of:

  • The time and labor required in the case
  • The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved
  • The skill required to perform the legal service properly
  • The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar services
  • The time limitations imposed by the client or the circumstances
  • The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer performing the services

When you understand the factors that support reasonable attorney’s fees, the highest-paid lawyer salaries make sense. 

Corporate Lawyers

Corporate lawyers represent corporations. They can have a range of job functions, from reviewing contracts to defending against product liability lawsuits. 

Some corporate lawyers focus on business formation. They develop special skills in articles of organization and articles of incorporation, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate dissolutions. 

Since there is lots of money involved when a company is formed, merges with another company, or dissolves entirely, corporate lawyers are required to have exacting knowledge of financial terms. They must also give advice on how a court might interpret and enforce the terms of a business-to-business contract. 

Tax Attorneys

Remember the factors about the time and labor required or the novelty and difficulty of the issues? Tax attorneys spend lots of time and effort looking for ways to save money for their clients. As a result, tax attorneys can command high hourly rates.

When a business owner gets into trouble, maybe by using multiple LLCs or by commingling assets in accounts, the skill and expertise of a tax attorney may be very valuable. It may keep them out of criminal trouble, too!

Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury lawyers sometimes have a thankless job. Many people view personal injury lawyers negatively, but they work hard to help their clients. 

Personal injury attorneys help injury victims recover compensation. Usually, injured parties are entitled to compensation after:

In order to help these injury victims recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, personal injury attorneys take a big financial risk. 

A personal injury attorney will usually work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that the injury victim does not pay the lawyer as the case progresses. Instead, the lawyer gets paid at the end of the case — and only if the lawyer wins compensation for the victim. 

Since they take a financial risk each time they take on a case, personal injury attorneys often earn 30% or more of the final compensation awarded to their clients. 

Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Doctors and other healthcare providers owe a special duty of care to their patients. When a qualified healthcare provider is accused of violating their duty to a patient, a medical malpractice claim arises. The most common types of medical malpractice claims involve:

If a doctor is found to have committed medical malpractice, the clinic or hospital where they work can also be on the hook to pay for an injured patient’s losses. With such high stakes, attorneys on both sides of medical malpractice claims get paid handsomely.