Law ranks first among the top 10 best-paying professions in the United States, but engineers dominate the list, according to a report released yesterday.

The list, which does not include self-employed people, was published in the September edition of Consumers Digest magazine, which said it made the compilation from 1984 Department of Labor statistics. Income was expressed in terms of median annual earnings, which means that there were as many people making more money as were making less.

Lawyers ranked first, with $35,115, followed by electrical and electronic engineers, at $33,920. Chemical engineers were third, at $33,905; mechanical engineers were fourth, at $33,814; and airline pilots and navigators ranked fifth, at $31,524.

In sixth place, at $31,209, were mathematical operations and systems researchers and analysts; computer systems analysts and scientists were seventh, at $31,158; physicians ranked eighth, at $30,750; civil engineers were ninth, at $29,983; and pharmacists ranked 10th, at $29,648, the article said.

"Earnings for self-employed workers tend to be higher than earnings from salaries," the magazine said. "Therefore, physicians ranked eighth in this list (earnings are for those employed in clinics and government agencies), but self-employed physicians rank highest in earnings among all other occupations listed here. For example, surgeons can earn $500,000 plus a year," the article said.