HomeInternational LawHow much do Public Interest Lawyers Make?

How much do Public Interest Lawyers Make?

Public interest lawyers make approximately $88,000 per year, according to salary.com. While public interest lawyers often sacrifice earning a high salary, they make up for it by creating a positive impact on society. There are many types of public interest lawyers and they focus on a variety of legal areas. Public interest lawyers will continue to impact the world and play a major role in the future.

What is a Public Interest Lawyer?

A public interest lawyer is a legal specialist who focuses on the legal aspects of public services in a manner that benefits the public. In order to become a public interest lawyer, one must attend law school and then obtain a public interest legal job upon graduation. International lawyers can attend a US law school to become a public interest lawyer as well. In addition, a lawyer can acquire its own clients that have public interest legal matters. 

A law student can increase his/her chances of acquiring a public interest job by participating in public interest internships. Law students can pursue internships during the school year and in the summer when school may not be in session.

What Public Interest Law Jobs Pay Well?

There are many public interest law jobs that pay well which include the following:

  • Judges,
  • District Attorneys of major cities,
  • General Counsels for large nonprofit organizations, and more. 

Most of these attorneys make well above the average $88,000 salary. It is important to understand that a public interest legal job only has to relate to public service and requires a lawyer in the position. Thus, there are many public service jobs that fit into this definition.

What Type of Law Do Public Interest Lawyers Focus On?

Public interest lawyers focus on a variety of legal areas. Almost every area of the law has a component that involves public service. Many of these fields include:

  • Criminal defense and criminal appeal for wrongly convicted individuals,
  • Nonprofit legal work,
  • Entertainment legal work for musicians who can not afford expensive legal fees, 
  • Art law for struggling artists, 
  • International law matters that pertain to global issues, and many others.

In addition, international public interest lawyers are integrated into the global political economy, according to “The Internationalization of Public Interest Law.” Duke LJ 57 by Scott L. Cummings. This is because geopolitics is often involved in matters that spread across countries’ borders. Therefore, the future is bright for public interest lawyers as there will always be a need for public service work all over the world.


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