Family attorneys make good money

Salary: how much money do lawyers make?

How Much Money Do Judges, Prosecutors, and Lawyers Make? How big are the wage differences? And is it true that young professionals in top law firms receive up to 140,000 euros? An overview.

The state as an employer, a large law firm, associations or an auditing company - lawyers are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a job. The possible areas of application are diverse. Those who then have two “fully satisfactory” exams in their luggage can virtually choose the job.

In addition to the specific job profile, salary is of course an important criterion for many lawyers when choosing a career. A survey by the trendence Institute of 2,200 students, trainee lawyers and young fully qualified lawyers revealed that two thirds of the young lawyers would be convinced to move if they had a better salary.

The salary range is wide. In smaller law firms that dominate the German legal services market, young lawyers start with 40,000 euros, in large law firms up to 140,000 euros per year.

Salary (salary) judges and prosecutors

The "salaries" of judges and public prosecutors are regulated in salary groups.

The German Association of Judges complains about a pair of scissors in entry-level pay. According to current figures, a young judge or public prosecutor in Bavaria receives EUR 4834 per month, which is EUR 685 more than a young professional in Saarland.

In addition to Saarland, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate bring up the rear when it comes to the salaries of young judges and public prosecutors. They earn best in Bavaria, Hamburg and Baden-Württemberg, followed by the federal government.

According to figures from the German Association of Judges, for example, the R1 salary in the tenth year with professional experience for a married judge with two children in Saxony-Anhalt is 6,358 euros per month, while the amount in Saarland is more than 1,000 euros at 5342 euros.

In the case of the R2 salary, the difference is, according to the information given, with the same family status in the twentieth year of employment in the top 939 euros. "Here Bavaria again leads the federal states with monthly salaries of 8,129 euros, while Saarland again brings up the rear with 7190 euros," the judges' association said in a statement.

The Association of Judges has published sample cases for the salaries of judges and public prosecutors on the website

According to a Kienbaum study commissioned by the German Association of Judges, the average starting salaries in large law firms are around 70,000 euros higher than the annual salaries of young legal practitioners (see DRiZ 2/2018). 25 years ago, the difference was just under 30,000 euros.

Salary lawyer / turnover in law firms

According to the Federal Bar Association (BRAK), the average turnover of law firms is 582,000 euros (west: 673,000 euros, east: 308,000 euros).

Of course, the turnover depends heavily on the form of the law firm, the age of the law firm and the size of the place where the law firm is based. In supra-local law firms in western Germany, with an average of 2.67 million euros, significantly higher sales were achieved than in local law firms with 912,000 euros. Detailed information is available on the BRAK website. According to studies, around half of the firm's turnover is consumed by operating costs.

Salary of an employed lawyer

According to the BRAK, the average gross income of employed full-time lawyers in the 2016 financial year was 66,000 euros nationwide (for men: 74,000 euros, for women: 54,000 euros). According to remuneration databases, however, salaries fluctuate enormously - also between East and West (see graphic).

The size of the company is decisive. The gross annual salary for lawyers with more than 5 years of professional experience in small law firms (1 to 20 employees) is on average 50,450 euros, for medium-sized law firms 63,000 euros and for firms with more than 1,000 employees 77,000 euros.

Salary as a freelance lawyer

According to the 2018 STAR report by BRAK, the average personal surplus from self-employment was 104,000 euros for full-time lawyers and 65,000 euros for full-time lawyers.

Salary when starting as an associate in a large law firm

According to industry reports, salaries for associates at large commercial law firms have recently risen significantly. For example, the “Spiegel” reported that the international commercial law firm Milbank will pay new employees 140,000 euros in their first year of employment. Details on the required starting salaries for young lawyers can be found in a study by the market research company Trendence.

But if you want one of the coveted jobs in a top law firm, you should know: You need a second state examination with distinction (you can find out more about the distinction here). And according to figures from the Federal Ministry of Justice, not even 20 percent of the 8,658 candidates examined achieved this in 2015.
A doctorate or LL.M. title has almost always become a mandatory requirement for employment.

Salary of senior partners

Senior partners in large law firms now have an average of 328,000 euros, an increase of 190,000 euros or 135 percent compared to 1992 (source: DRiZ, 02/2018).

Salary of in-house lawyers

In-house attorneys come to an average gross salary of 74,571 euros, according to a survey by the remuneration database. However, the salaries fluctuate between 54,223 euros and 87,970 euros. The numbers are lower for young professionals. Dr. Christoph Wittekindt, Head of Legal People Germany, wrote in Beck Stellenmarkt at the beginning of 2017: "Even with large medium-sized companies, the prospective in-house lawyer often has to be content with 45,000 euros to 55,000 euros."

Significant increases are of course possible if personnel responsibility is added. According to a “Juve” survey, the average salary for group and team leaders is 89,000 euros (including bonus), and for General Counsel it is 144,000 euros base salary (plus additional benefits). According to a survey by "Juve", the basic salary of general counsel in companies with more than 10,000 employees rises to 210,000 euros.

The numbers differ depending on the study. According to a Kienbaum study commissioned by the German Association of Judges, first-level legal executives earn an average of 174,000 euros a year in companies - that's 84,000 euros or 93 percent more than 25 years ago.

Salary increase through doctorate

A doctorate also pays off - especially for lawyers. Because they can score significantly more in terms of salary than other professional groups. This was the result of a survey conducted by the platform in autumn 2017. On average, up to 33,000 euros more gross per year. For comparison: For humanities scholars, the doctorate has “only” a difference in salary of EUR 5,400.

Photo above: UBER IMAGES /

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