Biglaw, Federal Government, Jamie Gorelick, Money, Partner Issues, Partner Profits, Seth Waxman, Ted Olson

How Much Do D.C. Lawyers Make? A Washington Lawyer Salary Survey

What are the differences between Washington lawyers and New York lawyers? One broad generalization — crude, but largely accurate — is that D.C. attorneys are all about power and prestige, and NYC attorneys are all about money.

It’s certainly true that, in the Biglaw world, New York-based law firms generally enjoy higher profits per partner than Washington-based firms. But D.C. attorneys aren’t doing too badly for themselves.

The latest issue of Washingtonian magazine, available now on newsstands, is the salary survey issue. It’s all about who makes what in the D.C. metro area, from the president to police officers to pediatricians.

And given the proliferation of lawyers in the nation’s capital, there’s a whole section on lawyers and judges. Thankfully for us, Washingtonian has made this portion available online….

Check it out here. An excerpt:

Big Firms, Big Bucks

Profits per partner at major Washington law firms exceed $1 million—and well-known partners make much more. Those reported here, from the National Law Journal, are for 2009.

Hogan Lovells (called Hogan & Hartson before merger), $1.21 million. Partners such as co-CEO J. Warren Gorrell Jr. take home more.

WilmerHale, $1.16 million. Partners who make more include former solicitor general Seth Waxman and former deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick.

Williams & Connolly, $1.18 million. Who makes more? Brendan Sullivan Jr.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, $1.91 million. Former solicitor general Theodore Olson makes more.

Legal recruiters estimate that the aforementioned partners make $3 million to $4 million annually where they are. If they decided to leave their firms, competing bids to recruit them could reach the $5-million-to-$10-million range.

Nice. But the survey isn’t all about seven-figure superstars; it mentions the “little people” too:

A first-year associate at a top law firm—such as WilmerHale, Hogan Lovells, Covington & Burling, or Skadden—makes $160,000 before bonuses.

A summer associate at one of those firms takes home more than $3,000 a week.

What if you want to leave a firm for government, as so many D.C. lawyers do? For some numbers on DOJ lawyers, prosecutors, and public defenders, as well as more salary data, check out the complete list, at Washingtonian.

If you’re a lawyer in Washington, feel free to share your salary info anonymously, in the comments.

Who Makes How Much: Lawyers [Washingtonian]
Lat’s Field Guide to N.Y. vs. D.C. Lawyers [New York Observer]

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