New York offers a number of opportunities in the legal profession with vast differences in the areas of practice. The experience (and salaries) of lawyers in Manhattan and attorneys in Buffalo are very different. The most popular areas of law in the Empire State are, no surprise, largely financial. They are corporate, litigation, finance, tax, bankruptcy, employment, intellectual property, ERISA, real estate, and trusts and estates law.
New York Attorney Job Market
New York's legal job market is large but so is the need. According to the American Bar Association there are over 165,000 practicing lawyers in the state of New York. Violent crimes, accidents/personal injury, and divorces keep most litigation attorneys busy.
There are a number of large, established law firms in New York. Most of these specialize in a particular area of law. Opportunities abound as corporate counsel as well in New York, largely due to the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in this state. This list is large but includes well-known brands like PepsiCo (in Purchase), Citigroup (in New York City), and International Business Machines IBM (in Armonk). In addition to large firms and corporate counsel work, New York offers a number of legal positions in government.
While attorneys in other states have struggled to find work because of a glut in the number of attorneys, this is not the case in New York. It has the highest employment level of lawyers in the United States.
Attorney Salaries in New York
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the annual median wage of New York attorneys is $151,850. This makes them the fourth-highest paid in the U.S. New York also boasts the highest paid metro-area in the United States with the New York-White Plains-Wayne New York/New Jersey's lawyers averaging around $165,660, well above the national average of $113,530.