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Lawyers Earn Some of the Nation's Highest Salaries ($1.7M or More)

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 27, 2011 6:44 AM

For years, people have overestimated lawyer salaries, lumping us in with the wealthy--the group of people that sleep on silk sheets and own two homes and a downtown apartment.

Well, no longer. It's time for lawyers everywhere to fight against this wholesale categorization--to let people know that most of us are not rich.

And we have a lot of debt.

And kind of crappy job prospects.

As you may know, there is a lot of concern about the growing income disparity in America. But, while it may be true that the top .1% of earners take in about 10% of income in the U.S., this statistic doesn't represent how many lawyers are in that group.

Until now.

A new study, conducted by economists Jon Bakija, Adam Cole, and Bradley Heim, breaks down the occupations of those that make up the top .1% of American earners, as defined by a salary of $1.7 million or higher a year.

And guess what?

Only 6.2% of them are lawyers.

That's right--6.2% of the top .1% are attorneys.

That's .62% of something, but as you may know, only tax attorneys do the hard math.

Either way, that number is low.

If this information only reminds you of the sad state of affairs in the land of lawyer salaries, don't worry, it also offers some hope.

If you're looking for a change of career, you now know where to go. According to the Washington Post, 59% of the nation's top earners are executives, managers and supervisors, most of which do not work in financial firms.

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