NALP has recently published the 2006 Public Sector and Public Interest Attorney Salary Report, a biennial report that provides salary information for both entry-level and experienced attorneys at public sector and public interest organizations.
According to the NALP 2006 Public Sector and Public Interest Attorney Salary Report, the median entry-level salary for an attorney at a civil legal services organization is $36,000; an attorney with 11-15 years of experience can expect a salary of $55,000. The median entry-level salary for public defenders is about $43,000; with 11-15 years of experience, the median is $65,000. The salary progression for state and local prosecuting attorneys is similar, starting in the mid 40’s and progressing to $68,000 to $73,000 for those with 11-15 years of experience. Finally, salaries for attorneys in public interest organizations, such as those dealing with women’s or environmental issues, start at $40,000 and rise to $65,000 with 11-15 years of experience.
This report serves as a companion piece to NALP’s annual Associate Salary Survey. Together these two reports also provide a basis for comparing private law firm and public sector/public interest salaries. The contrasts, though hardly a surprise, are nonetheless stark. For example, according to the NALP 2006 Associate Salary Survey, the median salary for a fifth-year associate ranges from $90,000 to $169,000 depending on firm size. These figures are at least double, and often more than double, what an attorney with similar experience makes at a public sector organization according to the 2006 Public Sector and Public Interest Attorney Salary Report. The $135,000 starting salary found by the Associate Salary Survey to be typical at big firms in big cities is beyond what even the most experienced attorneys can reasonably expect at a public sector organization.
Median Salaries for Attorneys by Type of Organization and Years of Experience
The 2006 Public Sector and Public Interest Attorney Salary Report
was based on a nationwide survey conducted by NALP among civil legal services
organizations; offices of public defenders, state attorneys general, and local
prosecuting attorneys; and public interest organizations. As a result of this
survey, completed by 430 organizations, NALP has been able to compile salary
information by years of experience. The study benchmarks salaries for each type
of organization for each of the first seven years, then in increments for
attorneys with 8-10 years of experience, 11-15 years of experience, and more
than 15 years of experience. It is also evident, based on a comparison of
findings with the first report in 2004, that salaries at these organizations
have increased only modestly, by a few thousand dollars at most, regardless of
organization type or experience.
Additional information about NALP research can be found on NALP’s website at
www.nalp.org. The full report, including salaries by region and population size,
and additional information on bonuses and benefits, is available from NALP for
$50, plus shipping and handling.
|Addtional Info:||About NALP: Founded in 1971 as the National Association for Law Placement, Inc.,® NALP — The Association for Legal Career Professionals — is dedicated to facilitating legal career counseling and planning, recruitment and retention, and the professional development of law students and lawyers. To contact NALP, call 202-835-1001.|