Lawyers vs. Doctors: Who Gets Paid More? 

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Are you on the verge of deciding on a career but unsure which profession pays more? You have come to the right place. Both medicine and law are highly educated professions with good prospects. 

But if we compare the salary of a lawyer with an orthopedic surgeon’s salary, it’s evident that a surgeon/physician is getting paid more! But there’s more to the story.

Comparisons of the Median Salary of Doctors And Lawyers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, the median annual pay for all medical professionals (including MDs and DOs) was $208,000. The BLS reports that the median annual pay for attorneys was $118,160, a massive $89,840 difference. 

The disparity alone is over double the average American wage of $37,040. You could purchase a house in many areas of the nation for $89,000 or buy your significant other and yourself a brand-new Mercedes or a loaded BMW. 

You may save up for a grand trip once a year or take a vacation every month. Hence, if median pay were the only factor considered, you should become a doctor. 

Lows and Highs

But other contrasts become apparent when you compare the greatest and lowest earners. According to the Medical Group Management Association, the lowest-paid physicians often practice family medicine and make a median salary of $230,456. According to the Medical Group Management Association, anesthesiologists are the most highly compensated medical professionals, with a median pay of $453,687.

The BLS reported that the median pay for lawyers at least 10% was $56,910, while the top 10% made almost $208,000. Most people in the lowest 10% are either 1st-year lawyers or independent contractors working in small towns. However, the average salary of a lawyer in a firm is higher than that of a solo practitioner.

What does it all amount to? In general, there are numerous approaches to salary comparison. For instance, the disparity between one of the lowest-paid lawyers ($56,910) and an anesthesiologist ($453,687) is startling. 

It is incomparable because even a newly-minted anesthesiologist will have spent years training. Instead of taking the lead on a case, a new law school graduate can anticipate working as a judge’s law clerk or conducting research for more experienced attorneys.

Family-practice doctors, for instance, made a median salary of $230,456, but the top 10% of lawyers make more than $208,000. That said, always remember that median wages are midpoints. 

Both people earning more and less than that amount are equally prevalent. It is plausible to infer that there are family practice physicians and lawyers who earn more than $250,000.


Many people still choose to become lawyers, whether out of curiosity about the law, a desire to assist others in times of need, or some other admirable motivation. Most people won’t regret it if they attend law school rather than a medical school for these reasons. However, if you plan to earn more and build an empire, choosing a medical profession is your way to go since the above stats speak volumes about it. 

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