Child advocacy law falls under the category of family law, one of about a dozen primary law specialties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Child advocate lawyers fight for the rights of children during divorces and abuse cases. They conduct investigations of families, obtain pertinent information about parents, calculate monthly child support payments based on local laws and make recommendations on custody arrangements in courtrooms. If you want to become a child advocate lawyer, you can expect to earn an average salary of more than $100,000 annually.
Salaries Topping $100,000
The average salary of a child advocate lawyer was $108,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Simply Hired. To work as a child advocate lawyer, you need to earn a four-year bachelor's degree and a three-year juris doctor, or J.D. degree, according to the BLS. The most direct path for this career is a law degree in child and family law. You also must pass the American Bar Association's examination to earn your state license. Some employers may prefer that you are certified in child advocacy law, which requires three years of work experience and 36 hours of coursework in child welfare law, according to Attorneys.com. Other essential requirements for this job include research, analytical, interpersonal, problem-solving, speaking and writing skills.
Top Pay in D.C.
In 2013, average annual salaries for child advocate lawyers varied the most in the South region in 2013, according to Simply Hired, where they earned the least in Mississippi and the most in Washington, D.C., at $85,000 and $171,000, respectively. If you worked as a child advocate lawyer in Maine or Massachusetts, you'd earn an average of $98,000 or $131,000, respectively -- the lowest and highest salaries in the Northeast. In the Midwest, you'd make the least in South Dakota or the most in Minnesota at $85,000 or $115,000 per year, respectively. In the West, these lawyers earned $87,000 or $123,000 in Montana and California, respectively.
Earn Less Than Most Lawyers
While Simply Hired reported salaries of $108,000 for child advocate lawyers in 2013, average annual salaries for all lawyers were $130,880 as of May 2012, according to the BLS. The top 10 percent made more than $168,011 annually. Lawyers' salaries were highest in offices of physicians at $241,870. Those employed by local and state government agencies made $94,310 and $82,750 per year, respectively. An example of a local government agency is a city police department. A state parks commission is one type of state government employer.
Average Job Growth
The BLS predicts a 10 percent increase in employment for lawyers, including child advocate lawyers, from 2010 to 2020, which is lower than the national rate of 14 percent for all occupations. Individuals, including children, will continue to need legal services, which may increase jobs for child advocate lawyers. Law students will face strong competition for jobs, as enrollments for law students are greater than the number of available jobs, the BLS reported. Consider contacting temporary staffing firms in your city to gain practical experience in child advocacy law, especially if you are having difficulty finding a full-time position.