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How Much do Lawyers Make: CA Lawyer Salaries Highest in US

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on May 23, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

California lawyer salaries are among the highest in the nation, reports Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Specifically, the average lawyer salary in Silicon Valley and in the greater San Francisco Bay Area are the highest, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, how much do lawyers make annually in California? More importantly, are you being paid what you're worth, or should you be thinking about moving to a new firm?

If you're in Silicon Valley (that includes Santa Clara, San Jose, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto to name just a few cities) the average lawyer salary is $192,020. Or at least it was that much in 2009, in the peak of the recession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, that amount drops to $167,130 in San Mateo and Redwood City, the areas just north of Silicon Valley.

Lawyers in the North Bay and wine country are doing quite well for themselves, averaging out at lawyer salaries of $170,860 per year in Santa Rosa and $170,400 in Napa.

So how much to lawyers make in the rest of the state? Further south, SoCal lawyers aren't doing too badly either, with an annual average salary of $157,950 in Orange County and $155,120 in Los Angeles. Even Modesto lawyers crack the top-ten list at number 9, grossing an average annual salary of $153,540.

Interestingly, clocking in at number 6 on the survey, we have New York lawyers at $166,130 annual salary. So perhaps the illusion of the high powered Manhattan attorney is slightly off. Pack your bags, New Yorkers-- it's time to go West.

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