16 July 2013

Legal fees are top dollar in New York

New York law firms are the highest billers in the US whilst real estate rates lawyers enjoyed the biggest pay increases, according to billing information released by a legal procurement company.

By Charlotte Mullen

New York average partner rates are highest by more than 100 dollars Seamartini Graphics Media

TyMetrix Legal Analytics and CEB looked  at legal bills in the US legal environment  and discovered that the hourly rate for lawyers increased last year by an average of 4.8 per cent. The Wall Street Journal reports that although this data is on the rise from 2011’s figures, it fails to stand up to the pre-recession rates that lawyers once enjoyed, when the average increase between 2007 and 2008 was 8.2 per cent.


Both real estate lawyers and certain finance and security law firm partners were the biggest winners between 2010 and 2012, with real estate partners experiencing an 8.1 per cent increase in billing rates. Partners advising on health care and technology in the regulatory and government practice area also saw growing rates in the last two to three years. The report found  536.47 dollars and 370.25 dollars to be the 2012 average hourly rates for partners and associates respectively, according to Corporate Counsel magazine.


The report,  the ‘2013 Real Rate Report Snapshot’, comprises data from more than 4,800 US law firms and a total of 9.5 billion dollars in billings. It also revealed that New York was the most expensive city for partner rates at 755.68 dollars, 100 dollars more  than rival San Francisco at 651.33 dollars and Washington DC at 649.24 dollars. Finance and securities was top with partners in those areas earning the highest average partner rates at 673.04 dollars, followed by  mergers and acquisitions at 636.50 dollars an hour and commercial and contracts at 608.73 dollars.In terms of the size of law firms, the report found  larger law firms had the larger hourly rates, with firms in excess of 500 lawyers not only enjoying the highest rates of 2012, but also a higher percentage of increase than smaller firms.


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