Sunday, July 28, 2013

What Are the Billing Rates for Lawyers?

You may be surprised how high they are. From Corporate Counsel:

For in-house counsel who want to do some comparison
shopping on law firm billing rates, a new analysis from TyMetrix Legal
Analytics and CEB shows that firms charged the most for finance and securities
work last year, and that partner rates in New York outpaced those in any other
U.S. or Canadian city by more than $100 an hour.

The “2013 Real Rate Report Snapshot” draws on $9.5 billion worth
of invoices submitted to 83 corporate clients from 2008 to 2012. The dataset
encompasses more than 4,800 U.S. law firms and 29.1 million hours billed by
partners, associates, and paralegals.

New York tops a list of 12 cities with the
highest average partner rates for 2012—all with hourly rates above $500:

  1. New York: $755.68
  2. San Francisco: $651.33
  3. Washington, D.C.: $649.24
  4. San Jose, CA: $634.98
  5. Toronto: $634.24
  6. Los Angeles: $620.34
  7. Boston: $598.69
  8. Chicago: $585.47
  9. Calgary, AB: $578.13
  10. Houston: $549.25
  11. Dallas: $510.32
  12. Philadelphia: $516.56

Law firm size, not surprisingly, has an important effect on rates, too—the bigger the firm,
the bigger the hourly bill. Here’s how hourly rates compare according to the
number of lawyers in a firm, again through the lens of average partner rates in

  • 1 to 50 lawyers: $342.95
  • 51 to 100 lawyers: $380.35
  • 101 to 250 lawyers: $422.35
  • 251 to 500 lawyers: $531.62
  • 501 to 1,000 lawyers: $638.23
  • More than 1,000 lawyers: $727.02

Not only did firms with 500-plus lawyers have the highest rates in 2012, but they also
increased their rates more than smaller firms did, “by 5.6 percent—more than
two times the average lawyer rate increase at smaller law firms with fewer than
100 lawyers,” according to the report.


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