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07 April 2017

Law firm rates rising at fastest pace since 2008 recession

Overall law firm rates are on the up with average year-over-year lawyer rate increases reaching their highest levels since 2008.

Andriy Popov

Larger firms are maintaining pricing power as rates rise. Among over 350 factors tested in a new report, law firm size was the single largest driver of law firm rates. It was also determined that rates at the associate level are rising faster than at the partner level. The average year-over-year rate increase for associates was 7.3 per cent, more than double the 3.6 per cent rate increase for partners. The research revealed, however, that rates for first year associate were flat. Despite the rise in overall associate rates, the average rate that a first-year associate billed has not changed. As a result, rate increases among more tenured associates are even higher than for associates overall.


The Real Rate Report was published by Wolters Kluwer and CEB and the data sourced from actual legal invoices.   Commenting, Abbott Martin, legal research leader, CEB said: 'This report allows clients and law firms alike to understand how specific decisions about firm size, location, and attorney experience impact matter costs.’ 

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