Salary for Mass Media Lawyers

by Rick Suttle

Corporations, entertainers and song writers depend on mass media lawyers to protect their intellectual properties and copyright materials. Mass media lawyers also work with broadcasting censorship, libel, slander and freedom of speech cases. If you want to become a mass media lawyer, you need to earn a law degree. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging between $60,000 and $65,000 annually.

Salary and Qualifications

The average annual salary of a mass media lawyer was $62,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Indeed. To become a mass media lawyer, you need a law, or juris doctor, degree from an accredited college or university, which takes about seven years, including undergraduate study. It may behoove you to earn your bachelor's in communications or journalism, which can enhance your knowledge of the mass media industry and the laws governing it. Mass media lawyers, as other lawyers, must pass the American Bar Association's exam to earn their licenses. Other key qualifications for this job are analytical, problem-solving, communication and research skills.

Regional Salaries

Average annual salaries for mass media lawyers varied considerably in all U.S. regions, according to Indeed. In the Midwest, they earned the lowest salaries of $46,000 in Nebraska and South Dakota and highest of $68,000 in Illinois. Those in the West made $40,000 to $67,000 per year in Hawaii and California, respectively. If you were a mass media lawyer in Louisiana or Washington, D.C., you'd earn $53,000 or $74,000, respectively, which represented the lowest and highest earnings in the South region. In the Northeast, you'd make the most in New York and least in Maine at $75,000 and $53,000, respectively.

Contributing Factors

Mass media lawyers earn more in New York and Washington, D.C., because it typically costs more to live in that state and district. For example, if you earned $60,000 as a mass media lawyer in Atlanta, you'd need to make $141,509 in New York City to enjoy the same living standard, according to the CNN Money "Cost of Living" calculator. You'd have to earn $90,521 in Washington, D.C., or approximately 51 percent more, to maintain the same living standard as in Atlanta. Companies may not pay you that much in New York or Washington, D.C., but they'll likely account for higher living costs when determining your salary. Mass media lawyers also may earn more with larger law firms, which have higher revenues to support the higher salaries.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10 percent increase in jobs for lawyers from 2010 to 2020, which is about average. While the number of jobs for lawyers is expected to increase, paralegals are now performing some of the functions of lawyers, according to the BLS, which will temper job growth for lawyers. The Internet and social media can increase the mass media violations, which may increase job opportunities for mass media lawyers. You may consider contacting temporary staffing agencies to find a short-term mass media lawyer job, which eventually might become full time.

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