Here Are The Salaries For Every Job That Law School Graduates In Canada Can Expect To Make

Salaries for Lawyers in Canada ranges between $50,000-$99,000 a year. The highest salary is usually paid to those working in Toronto and Montreal.


For most Canadian lawyers, salary is based on the almighty billable hour. Yep, it’s long been that way, and while there have been some recent signs that things are starting to change (at least when you look at the bigger firms), for the most part, when your lawyer says “how much?” you can be pretty sure that they’re asking about billable hours. But what does a lawyer working in Canada earn when all is said and done? Here’s a rundown of some annual salaries for lawyers in Canada.

A person working as an Attorney in Canada typically earns around 244,000 CAD per year. Salaries range from 112,000 CAD (lowest) to 388,000 CAD (highest).

This is the average yearly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Attorney salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location. Below you will find a detailed breakdown based on many different criteria.

Attorney Salary Distribution in Canada

Median and salary distribution yearly Canada Attorney

The median, the maximum, the minimum, and the range

  • Salary RangeAttorney salaries in Canada range from 112,000 CAD per year (minimum salary) to 388,000 CAD per year (maximum salary).
  • Median SalaryThe median salary is 264,000 CAD per year, which means that half (50%) of people working as Attorney(s) are earning less than 264,000 CAD while the other half are earning more than 264,000 CAD. The median represents the middle salary value. Generally speaking, you would want to be on the right side of the graph with the group earning more than the median salary.
  • PercentilesClosely related to the median are two values: the 25th and the 75th percentiles. Reading from the salary distribution diagram, 25% of Attorney(s) are earning less than 169,000 CAD while 75% of them are earning more than 169,000 CAD. Also from the diagram, 75% of Attorney(s) are earning less than 352,000 CAD while 25% are earning more than 352,000 CAD.

What is the difference between the median and the average salary?

Both are indicators. If your salary is higher than both of the average and the median then you are doing very well. If your salary is lower than both, then many people are earning more than you and there is plenty of room for improvement. If your wage is between the average and the median, then things can be a bit complicated. We wrote a guide to explain all about the different scenarios. How to compare your salary

Attorney Salary Comparison by Years of Experience

How does experience and age affect your pay?

Salary comparison by years of experience yearly Canada Attorney

The experience level is the most important factor in determining the salary. Naturally the more years of experience the higher your wage. We broke down Attorney salaries by experience level and this is what we found.

An Attorney with less than two years of experience makes approximately 128,000 CAD per year.

While someone with an experience level between two and five years is expected to earn 170,000 CAD per year, 34% more than someone with less than two year’s experience.

Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 252,000 CAD per year, 48% more than someone with two to five years of experience.

 On average, a person’s salary doubles their starting salary by the time they cross the 10 years* experience mark. 

* Based on the average change in salary over time. Salary variations differ from person to person.

Additionally, Attorney(s) whose expertise span anywhere between ten and fifteen years get a salary equivalent to 307,000 CAD per year, 22% more than someone with five to ten years of experience.

If the experience level is between fifteen and twenty years, then the expected wage is 335,000 CAD per year, 9% more than someone with ten to fifteen years of experience.

Lastly, employees with more than twenty years of professional experience get a salary of 362,000 CAD per year, 8% more than people with fifteen to twenty years of experience.

Attorney average salary change by experience in Canada

0 – 2 Years128,000 CAD
2 – 5 Years+34%170,000 CAD
5 – 10 Years+48%252,000 CAD
10 – 15 Years+22%307,000 CAD
15 – 20 Years+9%335,000 CAD
20+ Years+8%362,000 CAD

Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Typical Salary Progress for Most Careers

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Attorney Salary Comparison By Education

How do education levels affect salaries?

Displayed below is the average salary difference between different Attorney(s) who have the same experience but different education levels.

Salary comparison by education level yearly Canada Attorney

We all know that higher education equals a bigger salary, but how much more money can a degree add to your income? We broke down Attorney salaries by education level in order to make a comparison.

When the education level is Bachelor’s Degree, the average salary of an Attorney is 146,000 CAD per year.

While someone with a Master’s Degree gets a salary of 228,000 CAD per year, 57% more than someone having a Bachelor’s Degree degree.

A PhD gets its holder an average salary of 383,000 CAD per year, 68% more than someone with a Master’s Degree.

Attorney average salary difference by education level in Canada

Bachelor’s Degree146,000 CAD
Master’s Degree+57%228,000 CAD
PhD+68%383,000 CAD

Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Is a Master’s degree or an MBA worth it? Should you pursue higher education?

A Master’s degree program or any post-graduate program in Canada costs anywhere from 49,800 Canadian Dollar(s) to 149,000 Canadian Dollar(s) and lasts approximately two years. That is quite an investment.

You can’t really expect any salary increases during the study period, assuming you already have a job. In most cases, a salary review is conducted once education is completed and the degree has been attained.

Many people pursue higher education as a tactic to switch into a higher paying job. The numbers seem to support the thoery. The average increase in compensation while changing jobs is approximately 10% more than the customary salary increment.

If you can afford the costs of higher education, the return on investment is definitely worth it. You should be able to recover the costs in roughly a year or so.


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