Average U.S. law firm partner rate increases to $381 per hour

In terms of billed hourly rates paid by clients, the average hourly billing rate of a partner in a U.S. law firm is $381 per hour, according to the Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report published by LexisNexis.

Of course, a partner’s practice area has a dramatic impact on the hourly billing rate. For example, advice and counsel for mergers and acquisitions commands a higher-than-average billing rate of $630 (see chart below).

What's interesting is that the research shows an increase in rates starting in 2010. The research says that partners rates increased 2.7% over the previous year, on top of an increase of 2.5% during the previous 12 month period.

Average law firm partner rate increases

The findings run counter to other reports about clients taking discounts, legal work being commoditized, pressure from overseas legal process outsourcing, and a decline in demand for legal services. Reports this year from Citi Hildebrandt and Altman Weil painted a grim portrait of the profession.

"As an amalgam of different law firm sizes, practice areas and locations, it’s a reasonable indicator of how hourly rates are trending. Hourly rates continue to climb, even if growth has slowed. However, these growth rates are well below the high single-digit growth the industry garnered during peak periods prior to 2008," the LexisNexis report states.

The $381 hourly rate is mathematical calculation for a wide range, where partner fees range from $170/hour for insurance defense work, to $392 to employment and labor, and $527 for IP and trademark work.

Median Partner Hourly Rates

The report adds that alternative fee arrangements were used in 10% of matters and 6% of billings in the past year. They are most commonly found in three practice areas: finance, loans and investments; employment and labor; and litigation.


Larry Bodine, journalist, lawyer, law firm marketerLarry Bodine is a journalist, lawyer and business development advisor to law firms. He is currently pursuing a project to publish legal news for consumers in newspapers, TV stations and web sites. For more information, you can reach him at 520.577.9759 and larrybodine.com.

For a related story, see New Statistics Illustrate the Decline of Biglaw

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Vero Beach motorcycle accident news - December 7, 2013 7:18 AM

I never hesitate to follow the reports of Enterprise Legal Management Trends because I trust their news. I think this partner rate could not effect the law firm business and also for those who are looking to get full value of their accident claims.

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