Monday, February 28, 2011

2010 survey of Florida lawyers: 51% are less profitable due to recession; 19% are considering a career change

According to the results published today of the 2010 Florida Bar's Economics and Law Office Management Survey, most lawyers have experienced decreased profits since 2008, many have had to adjust their billing rates due to the economy and more than a third are considering either leaving the law or changing their practice area.  Among the findings:

  • 51% of those attorneys surveyed have experienced a decrease in profits the past two years.
  • 41% report that their firms have been unable to increase salaries due to the recession.
  • 34% have adjusted their billings rates.
  • More than 20% have laid-off non-lawyer staff.
  • More than 60% expect economic conditions will not improve in the next two years.
  • 19% are considering starting a new career, 14% are considering a new practice area and 9% are considering going solo.

Here is additional survey data for 2010:

Survey respondents indicated the median salary — not including additional bonuses and compensation — for lawyers with fewer than three years of experience was $60,000, down $5,000 from two years ago; $70,000 for those in practice three to five years, also down $5,000 from 2008; and $85,000 for those with six to eight years of experience, five grand less then two years ago. Associates with more than eight years experience had a median salary of $100,000, $10,000 less than in 2008. Partner salaries also were down by $5,000 coming in at a median of $120,000.

The survey found 79 percent of Florida lawyers are in private practice, while 15 percent are government lawyers or judges. The remainder work as corporate counsel, for legal aid offices, or for other employers.

Sixty-five percent of respondents reported working in a firm or other legal setting with five or fewer lawyers, while 12 percent say they work with over 25 attorneys. Overall, 77 percent work in firms consisting of 10 or fewer lawyers, with 31 percent indicating they are sole practitioners.

. . . .

The 2009 median net incomes — including additional bonuses and compensation — broken down by legal classification are as follows:

• Partners, $180,000.

• Corporate counsels, $100,000.

• Sole practitioners, $80,000.

• Associates, $75,000.

• State government attorneys, $60,000.

You can read more here.

Hat tip to Professor Debra Curtis.


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