Salary of Lawyers in South Africa: How Much Do Lawyers Earn (2022)


Besides the prestige and class that comes with being a lawyer anywhere in the world, there are also financial reasons running to thousands of rands, why law is a good profession for you to have your eyes on. It’s not surprising lawyers are one of the best-paid professionals in the world.

They have to read huge amounts of texts, draft long and painfully accurate briefs of argument (no room for mistakes in a lawyer’s world), literally save people and businesses, and they have to do all this while looking sharp and being socially vibrant.

As a student looking at law and considering it as a profession, you may want to know what your financial future will look like. Fret not, for this article is here to inform you on that sole subject matter. Exactly how much do lawyers make in South Africa?

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Salary of Lawyers in South Africa

To answer the question very quickly, an average salary for a lawyer in South Africa is somewhere around 247,544 ZAR annually, though the salary ranges from 89,000 ZAR to 711,000 ZAR depending on what firm one works at, and also what level of practise or area of practice one is in. for example, the average pay in Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. is 2,574,000 ZAR

A key fact to keep in mind is that law is a very hierarchical profession, and your hierarchy will go a long way in determining what you will earn. Research shows that the annual salaries will differ by about 250,000 ZAR between Associates and Senior Associates and by about 1,100,000 ZAR between Senior Associates and Partners in top South African firms. As such, while the pay is good at the starting level, it gets exponentially better as you climb the corporate ladder and get to the peak of the firm.

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As an attorney, you will need to first go through long years of schooling to obtain your degree, and then take the bar exam to obtain your license to practice, which might differ from state to state (i.e. you will take a different bar exam for each state you’re looking at).

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You must also be well versed in research, be willing to work for long hours, have great analytical skills and a broad knowledge base of other matters outside law, and you must also have excellent communication skills and the ability to generate persuasive arguments both written and spoken. These are the factors that will affect your pay as a lawyer.

Experience also plays a key role in determining your salary as a lawyer. An entry-level lawyer with less than a year of experience can expect to earn an average annual pay of 152,492 ZAR  =, while an attorney with 1-4 years of experience can expect an average annual pay of 219,595 ZAR.

A mid-career lawyer with 5-9 years of experience can expect an annual pay of 329,162 ZAR, while an experienced lawyer with 10-19 years of experience can expect an annual salary of 475,000 ZAR. Lawyers at the later stage of their career will be expected to pull about 664,662 ZAR. So if anything is clear, it’s that when it comes to law, time is really money.

So there you have it, a clearer picture of the cash flow of a lawyer. If you’re interested, we say you’d better get to reading.


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