Immigration lawyers help their clients navigate the often-complex process of obtaining visas, green cards, and citizenship. They may also help people who have been detained by immigration authorities or who are at risk of deportation. In addition to providing legal assistance, immigration lawyers may also advocate on behalf of their clients in the public arena and provide educational resources to the community.

Immigration law is a complex and ever-changing field, and immigration lawyers must be able to keep up with the latest developments in order to serve their clients. This can be a difficult and demanding job, but it is also one that is deeply rewarding. Those who choose to become immigration lawyers often do so because they are passionate about protecting the rights of immigrants and helping them build new lives in the United States.

In this article, we’ll discuss the job market and salary outlook for immigration lawyers. But first, let’s start with a brief overview of the skills needed to be an immigration attorney.

What Skills Are Needed to Be Successful as an Immigration Attorney?

Success as an immigration attorney requires both legal knowledge and people skills. Attorneys who practice immigration law must be well-versed in applicable statutes and regulations, as well as case law interpreting those laws. They must also be familiar with the procedures of various immigration agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In addition, they must be able to effectively communicate with clients from diverse backgrounds, many of whom may be unfamiliar with the U.S. legal system. The ability to speak a second language is often helpful, as is the ability to quickly develop relationships of trust with clients.          

What Are the Most Common Immigration Law Cases?

Immigration law covers a wide range of cases. However, some types of cases are more common than others. One of the most common types of cases is family-based immigration. For example, many people file petitions for their spouses or children to come to the United States. Other common family-based petitions include requests for adoption or permanent residence.

Another common type of immigration law case is based on employment. Many people come to the United States on work visas, and employers often sponsor employees for permanent residency.

Other types of immigration cases include asylum seekers, refugees, and victims of human trafficking. These individuals are often seeking protection from persecution or violence in their home countries, and they must go through a rigorous application process in order to be granted legal status in the United States.

What is the Job Market Like for Immigration Lawyers?

The job market for immigration lawyers has been relatively strong in recent years. According to the American Bar Association, there were more than 1.3 million active lawyers in the United States in 2022, and approximately 1,189 of those were immigration lawyers.

However, the number of immigration lawyers has been on the rise in recent years due to increased demand for their services. The Pew Research Center estimates that there are currently 10.5 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and many of those individuals are seeking legal assistance in order to obtain a green card or citizenship. As a result, immigration lawyers are in high demand, and many law firms are hiring additional staff to meet the needs of their clients.

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the legal field will grow by roughly 10%, adding 80,200 jobs by 2031. As the job market for lawyers (in general) continues to grow, it is expected that the demand for immigration lawyers will also continue to rise.

It’s worth noting that the job market for immigration lawyers has been extremely competitive, despite its growth. In order to be successful, candidates must have a strong academic record and experience working with immigrants. They must also be able to communicate effectively with clients and handle a high volume of work. Moreover, immigration law is a rapidly changing field, so it’s important for lawyers to keep up with new developments. The job market for immigration lawyers is expected to remain competitive in the future; however, there will continue to be a need for these professionals as long as there are immigrants coming to the U.S.

What is the Average Salary of an Immigration Lawyer?

The average salary of an immigration lawyer is $82,479, with salaries typically ranging between $70,313 and $95,409. The highest-paid immigration lawyers (top 10%) earn more than $107,000 per year, while the lowest-paid immigration lawyers (bottom 10%) earn less than $60,000 per year.

However, salaries vary widely depending on the industry in which the attorney works. For instance, some immigration attorneys work in the nonprofit sector, where they tend to earn less than those working in the private sector. And, it turns out, most immigration lawyers work in the private sector, with more than 70% of attorneys working at private firms. Other immigration lawyers tend to work for the government or educational institutions – where salaries fall between that of the public and private sectors.

Factors That Affect How Much an Immigration Attorney Makes

There are a number of factors that can affect how much an immigration attorney makes. The first is the size of the law firm in which they work. Generally, larger firms tend to pay higher salaries than smaller firms. (Above the Law Solo and Small Firm Compensation Report, 2022).

The second factor is the location of the firm. Attorneys working in large metropolitan areas (with populations over 1 million) usually make more than those working in smaller towns or rural areas. (Above the Law Solo and Small Firm Compensation Report, 2022).

The third factor is the type of clients the attorney serves. Attorneys who work with high-profile clients or large corporations typically earn more than those who work with individual clients or small businesses.

Finally, the amount of experience an attorney has can also affect their salary. Attorneys with more experience make more than those who are just starting out. For instance, the majority of partners earn at least $150,000, whereas most associates earn between $50,000 and $150,000. As of 2022, the highest-paid attorneys graduated in the 1990s, meaning they have at least two decades of experience under their belts. (Above the Law Solo and Small Firm Compensation Report, 2022).

Where Do Immigration Lawyers Get Paid the Most?

Immigration lawyers are in high demand in the United States, as the country’s policies around immigration are constantly changing. As a result, there are many regions of the country where immigration lawyers can earn a comfortable salary. The average salary for immigration lawyers is the highest in Massachusetts, with an average salary of $111,345. This is due in part to the state’s large immigrant population and its proximity to Boston, which is a major hub for legal services. 

New York and California are not far behind, with average salaries of $100,795 and $99,120, respectively. These states have large immigrant populations and diverse economies that require the expertise of immigration lawyers. Washington, D.C., is another hub for immigration law, and it ranks 5th on the list of highest immigration salaries, with an average salary of $98,213.

Which Type of Lawyer Makes the Most Money?

As previously mentioned, there are a number of factors that affect an attorney’s salary. However, the type of law an attorney practices also has a big impact on earnings.

Medical lawyers, such as those who focus on personal injury and medical malpractice, tend to earn the highest salaries, with an average income of $150,881. Intellectual property attorneys are also well-paid, with an average salary of $140,972. By contrast, legal aid attorneys earn significantly less, with a median salary of $42,000.

Obviously, there is a big disparity in earnings among different types of attorneys. However, it is important to remember that salary is not the only factor to consider when choosing a career path. For many people, the satisfaction of helping others and making a difference in the world is far more important than simply earning a high income.

LAWCLERK Can Help Immigration Lawyers Find Work & Grow Their Firms

LAWCLERK is a legal exchange that connects remote associates and freelance lawyers with hiring attorneys. For immigration lawyers looking to take on more work, LAWCLERK can be a valuable resource. With its network of remote and freelance attorneys, LAWCLERK can help immigration law firms find the extra help they need to manage their workloads. It can also help them expand their practice into new geographic areas since it connects lawyers from around the country.

And, for lawyers looking for flexible work arrangements, LAWCLERK can provide the opportunity to take on work on a project basis (or as part of an ongoing relationship).

Whether you’re looking for remote work that fits your schedule or want to grow your practice, LAWCLERK can help you connect with other attorneys.

Kristin Tyler, Co-Founder Lawclerk

Kristin Tyler, Co-Founder Lawclerk


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