How Much Does a Criminal Defence Lawyer Make: Most of us will go through our lives without ever having to hire a lawyer to represent us in a court of law. Then again, there are many millions of people, and “most” certainly does not mean all. This means that tens of thousands of people every single year find themselves in need of a reputable attorney to defend them in criminal proceedings, and this can end up costing a bit of money.
It is the sort of situation where people start to wonder what a criminal defence lawyer actually makes. After all, with so many clients in need of a lawyer, they must be making millions and are in an elite bracket, right? Well, it’s not so simple; and while being a lawyer can be lucrative, it’s certainly not a Fortune 500 gig. Let’s have a look at what lawyers actually make by providing criminal defence.
The Average Criminal Defence Attorney Earnings
There are thousands of lawyers, so it’s impossible for us to tell you what each one of them make per year with their defence efforts. Even very thorough online databases cannot track this individually. There are just too many variables to consider. However, the average salary for a defence lawyer in Canada is around $75,500, as of March 2021, according to the PayScale public database.
Factors to Consider in How Much a Lawyer Makes
1: Which Cases Do They Try?
Perhaps the most important variable to consider here is what sort of cases are being tried. The term criminal defence lawyer is a blanket for any charge that’s criminal and not civil. So this can range from breaking traffic laws and shoplifting to things like aggravated assault and murder. We’re not only talking about a huge difference in the potential sentencing of these charges but also what they will cost to defend. The more serious the charge, the more money it’s going to cost for a good defence.
2: What is Their Market Pool?
What sort of clients are being taken on by the lawyer in question? Many lawyers offer very affordable rates and are more altruistic in their practices, offering their defence services to poor individuals who cannot afford to pay them much, if at all. Others, of course, have a much higher-end clientele, serving a community with a lot more resources. Generally speaking, Crown prosecutors cover the low end of the spectrum, but there are private practices that will also cater to the poorer side of the spectrum.
3: Do They Own the Firm?
Another variable to consider, which is an especially important point of focus in the law, is whether the individual is a partner, owner or just an employee. As an employee, a lawyer is likely going to earn a base salary for the firm. As a partner/owner, they are likely going to earn a percentage of what the law firm makes. This could end up being money closer to the average, or it could be a whole lot of money we’re talking about. It all depends on the success of the firm.
4: What’s Their Record?
Providing a criminal defence for individuals accused of crimes will ensure that a lawyer never has a spotless record. Sometimes the evidence is all there, beyond all reasonable doubt. However, a lawyer that doesn’t win at all will not be a lawyer for long, and the ones that rarely lose are in a very elite class. So, of course, you’re looking at a bit of meritocracy in marketing here, whereby a lawyer with a better record is going to command more money. They will charge more initially to offer their representation, and thus they will make more annually.
As with almost every profession one can think of, there’s a base salary that gives you an average, and then there are variables that will affect how the individual makes out in the end. It’s not different at all with a lawyer, except you are likely to find more variables. So, if you find that a lawyer charges a bit more than you initially thought, just know that it’s likely because they’re very good at their job.