20 types of lawyers in demand in South Africa and their salaries in 2024

20 types of lawyers in demand in South Africa and their salaries in 2024

Lawyers protect and defend clients and are well-versed in the laws of the Constitution of South Africa. There are different types of lawyers who specialise in various areas. Some areas of specialisation attract higher remuneration packages than others.

types of lawyers in SA
A hand is banging a gavel on a wooden surface. Photo: pexels.com, @Ekaterina Bolovtsova (modified by author)
Source: UGC


Understanding the different types of lawyers in South Africa is crucial. This information will help you seek assistance from the correct person should the need arise. A good lawyer will represent you in court, offer legal advice, do legal research, and draft legal documents on your behalf.

Types of lawyers in South Africa

There are different types of lawyers in South Africa today. They are also commonly known as advocates or attorneys. Discover the highest-paid types of lawyers in the country today and what their job entails.

20. Bankruptcy lawyer - R154,692 pa

Bankruptcy attorneys help corporate and individual debtors and creditors through the bankruptcy process. They help them to determine if they need to declare bankruptcy or if there are other options to pursue. These experts earn about R154,692 pa.

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19. Contract attorney - R174,999 pa

Contract attorneys specialise in contracts. They create them, advise clients to sign them, or handle problems that arise after they have been signed. They assist individuals and corporations with their contract disputes. These experts earn about R 174,999 pa.

18. Immigration attorney - R188,673 pa

Immigration attorneys are among the most sought-after types of lawyers in South Africa. These are experts on legal matters related to immigration, which is the process of coming into the country from another country to live or work.

These experts represent clients in court proceedings and assist them with legal documents. They earn an average annual salary of R188,673.

17. Divorce/ family attorney - R198,317 pa

The number of divorces has been steadily increasing in South Africa. There were 18,208 completed divorce forms processed in 2021, and the number is likely to be higher in 2023.

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The increased number of divorces has increased the demand for divorce attorneys. Family attorneys earn about R198,317 annually. They facilitate divorce procedures and dissolution and annulment of marriages.

16. Human rights lawyer - R239,632 pa

A human rights lawyer is a legal representative who specialises in protecting the fundamental rights of people. These professionals earn about R239,632 pa.

types of lawyers in present-day South Africa
Monopoly letters that spell the word law. Photo: pexels.com, @CQF-Avocat
Source: UGC

15. Maritime lawyer - R249,260 pa

The average maritime lawyer in South Africa earns about R249,260pa. A maritime lawyer is an attorney who specialises in maritime injuries and boating accidents that occur in both recreational and commercial maritime activities.

14. Civil litigation attorney - R269,789 pa

Litigation attorneys are among the types of advocates in high demand today. They defend people in civil lawsuits.

Unlike criminal layers, these experts deal with civil cases where neither of the parties involved faces the penalty of jail time. They earn about R269,789 annually.

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13. Criminal attorney - R270,919 pa

The list of the types of lawyers and salaries in South Africa cannot be complete without criminal attorneys, who are always in high demand. They defend individuals, organisations, and entities charged with crimes.

They draft, file, and argue motions on behalf of clients. They also gather expert witnesses to testify in court and discuss and negotiate potential plea bargains with the prosecution. These experts earn about R270,919 annually.

12. Corporate/ business attorney - R300,486 pa

A corporate lawyer's salary in South Africa is about R300,486 annually. Corporate attorneys ensure the legality of commercial transactions. They advise corporations on their legal rights and duties, including the duties and responsibilities of corporate officers.

11. Associate attorney - R308,164 pa

An associate attorney is a lawyer and an employee of a law firm who does not hold an ownership interest as a partner. An associate attorney earns about R308,164 pa in South Africa.

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10. Tax attorney - R313,913 pa

A tax attorney defends clients being sued for tax fraud, evasion, or failure to file taxes. Everyone knows that tax law is complicated and that breaking those laws can bring serious consequences. Tax lawyers earn about R313,913 pa.

9. Real estate lawyer - R315,000 pa

The list of the types of lawyers and salaries in South Africa cannot be complete without estate planning or real estate lawyers.

The real estate landscape in the country is continuously changing and advancing, hence the increased demand for these professionals. These professionals make about R315,000 annually.

What type of lawyers get paid the most in South Africa?
An attorney sitting at his work desk. Photo: pexels.com, @Karolina Grabowska
Source: UGC

8. Intellectual property attorney - R360,000 pa

An intellectual property attorney works to protect the rights of new inventions and created materials. They are well-versed in patent, copyright, trademark, licensing, trade secret, and unfair competition laws. They earn about R360,000 annually.

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7. General practice lawyer - R450,000 pa

A general practice lawyer in South Africa takes home about R450,000 pa. A general practitioner is an attorney who practices in many areas of the law. They are usually employed in a small law firm or work as a solo practitioner.

6. Employment law attorney - R454,057 pa

An employment lawyer helps a company having trouble with an employee or an employee having trouble with their company. They help settle disputes in employee contracts or defend a client who accuses their company of maltreatment. Employment attorneys earn about R454,057 pa.

5. Military lawyer - R574,297 pa

Military attorneys only represent military personnel in civil and criminal cases. They have the same general responsibilities as their civilian counterparts. These professionals earn about R574,297 pa.

4. Environmental attorney - R618,093 pa

An environmental attorney handles anything to do with environmental regulations, including air and water quality, species preservation, biodiversity, and waste management. Environmental attorneys earn about R618,093 pa.

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3. Personal injury attorney - R645,807 pa

A personal injury attorney provides legal representation to individuals who have been injured in an accident. They investigate claims, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and prepare pleadings for their clients.

They also represent clients at trials. These experts earn about R645,807 annually.

types of lawyers in SA
A brass-coloured balance scale on an attorney's desk. Photo: pexels.com, @Katrin Bolovtsova
Source: UGC

2. Medical malpractice lawyer - R749,655 pa

Medical malpractice lawyers specialise in cases where a doctor or other medical professional is sued for harming a patient. Medical malpractice lawyers earn about R749,655 pa.

1. E-discovery lawyer - R780,000 pa

An e-discovery lawyer is a professional who uses technology to perform legal discovery processes and manages all electronic legal data within a law database. They use technology and electronic databases to identify, collect, and produce the information necessary for law cases. An E-discovery lawyer earns about R780,000 pa.

What subjects are needed to become a lawyer?

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The subjects needed to pursue law in South Africa are Mathematics, English, History, Business Studies, and Life Orientation.

What type of lawyers get paid the most in South Africa?

E-discovers attorneys are arguably the most-paid advocates in South Africa. They earn about R780,000 pa.

Which type of law is in demand in South Africa?

The list of the different types of lawyers and what they do shows that the areas of specialisation in demand include personal accident, corporate, divorce, real estate, intellectual property, criminal, litigation, and immigration law.

How many types of lawyers are there in South Africa?

There are multiple types of lawyers in South Africa. They include divorce, personal accident, corporate, criminal, real estate, intellectual property, immigration, and litigation law.

What types of lawyers are there?

There are many types of lawyers in South Africa, including divorce, personal accident, corporate, criminal, real estate, intellectual property, immigration, and litigation attorneys.

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What's the best type of lawyer to become?

The best type of lawyer to become is what you are passionate about and brings out your best qualities. It is advisable to research the different types of lawyers and what they do before making a decision.

South Africa has multiple types of lawyers, each with a different area of specialisation. These experts help clients in various legal cases.

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