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Category: Fees by Tiers / Scale

Law Firms with Over 100 Attorneys Have Higher Rates Across All Experience Levels

September 4, 2021

NALFA recently released the results from our 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey.  The results, published in The 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, contains billing rate data on the very factors that correlate to hourly rates in litigation: geography, years of litigation experience, complexity of case, and litigation practice size.

This empirical survey and report provides macro and micro data of current hourly rate ranges for both defense and plaintiffs’ litigators, at various litigation experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, in routine and complex litigation, and in the nation’s largest legal markets and beyond.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation. 

Law firms with over 100 attorneys have higher rates across all litigation experience levels.  When compared to solo practitioners, law offices with 2-11 attorneys, and law firms with 12-99 attorneys, large law firms consistently have higher rates for litigators at all experience levels.  Almost half (49%) of litigators at large law firms bill at tier 2 rates ($401-$650).  While the percentages of litigators at smaller law firms and law offices who bill at tier 2 rates are lower.  "From our survey, the data analysis shows that associates at large law firms start with higher rates and raise them more frequently than litigators at small law firms and law offices," said Terry Jesse, Executive Director of NALFA.

The 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report is now available for purchase.  For more information on this survey, email NALFA Executive Director, Terry Jesse at terry@thenalfa.org or call us at (312) 907-7275.

Senior Litigators Now Entering Tier 3 Rates ($651-$900)

August 28, 2021

NALFA recently released the results from our 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey.  The results, published in The 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, contains billing rate data on the very factors that correlate to hourly rates in litigation: geography, years of litigation experience, complexity of case, and litigation practice size.

This empirical survey and report provides macro and micro data of current hourly rate ranges for both defense and plaintiffs’ litigators, at various litigation experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, in routine and complex litigation, and in the nation’s largest legal markets and beyond.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation.

3,285 litigators from across the U.S. participated in this hourly rate survey.  They included both plaintiff and defense counsel from solo shops to large law firms and at all experience levels.  The hourly rate survey shows more and more senior litigators (over 20 years of continuous litigation experience) starting to enter tier 3 rates ($651-$900).  Our survey shows that 28% of litigators with 21-24 years of litigation experience have tier 3 rates and 36% of litigators with 25-29 years of litigation experience also have tier 3 rates.  The percentages go up for litigators with over 30 years of litigation experience.

The 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report is now available for purchase.  For more information on this survey, email NALFA Executive Director, Terry Jesse at terry@thenalfa.org or call us at (312) 907-7275.

NALFA Survey: Hourly Rate Data Distribution is Not Bell-Shaped

August 21, 2021

NALFA recently released the results from our 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey.  The results, published in The 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, contains billing rate data on the very factors that correlate to hourly rates in litigation: geography, years of litigation experience, complexity of case, and litigation practice size.

This empirical survey and report provides macro and micro data of current hourly rate ranges for both defense and plaintiffs’ litigators, at various litigation experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, in routine and complex litigation, and in the nation’s largest legal markets and beyond.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation.

3,285 litigators fully participated in this hourly rate survey.  When we plot all (national) our hourly rate responses (plaintiffs' and defense) on a graph (x,y axis), we have a general shape distribution model known as Chi-Squared distribution.  That is, the distribution is not the classic normal bell-shaped curve.  Our model here starts from a low point ($200-$250), peaks well before the midpoint ($601-$650), then declining gradually and finishing with a long tail with an uptick at the very end (Over $1100).  It resembles a whale-shaped type distribution.  The y axis is the percentage of responses and the x axis is the hourly rate scale (Less than $200 to Over $1100).

 

The 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report is now available for purchase.  For more information on this survey, email NALFA Executive Director, Terry Jesse at terry@thenalfa.org or call us at (312) 907-7275.

Court Considers Sliding Scale for Attorney Fees in Antitrust Action

August 7, 2021

A recent Law 360 story by Celeste Bott, “Court Mulls Sliding Scale for Fees in Chicken Antitrust Suit”, reports that the Illinois federal judge overseeing price-fixing litigation against major broiler chicken producers said he's considering awarding fees on a sliding scale as class counsel seeks an interim payment of $57 million in attorney fees from a $155 million settlement.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin, when granting final approval in June for a combined deal reached by a group of broiler chicken buyers and Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride, held off on approving a bid by class counsel for that interim fee payment and for litigation expenses of $4.5 million, saying he may need more information before making a decision.

In a minute order, Judge Durkin said he was likely to apply a sliding scale approach in awarding class counsel fees, citing the Seventh Circuit's approach in In re Synthroid Marketing Litigation , where the amount being awarded fees went down as the settlement amount went up.  "Several courts in this district have applied the scale suggested in Synthroid.  The court's current intent is to apply such a scale to the fee award in this case," Durkin said in the order.

For example, that approach was used by an Illinois federal judge in awarding fees to class counsel who won a $34 million settlement on behalf of Chase Bank customers who claimed they were contacted on their cellphones without their permission, in one of the cases Judge Durkin cited in the district.  He ordered class counsel for the direct purchaser plaintiffs to file a brief addressing whether the application of a sliding scale is appropriate in the case and what the sliding scale should be if the court chooses to apply one, asking them to focus on any recent authorities on the issue, preferably in antitrust cases, the district and circuit.

San Francisco & Dallas Join Top Tier Billing Rate Cities

August 3, 2021

The old adage that real estate is all about location, location, location also applies to hourly rates.  NALFA recently released its results from its annual hourly rate survey of civil litigation in the U.S.  The survey results, published in The 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, shows hourly rate data on factors that correlate to hourly rates in litigation, including geography. 

NALFA surveyed thousands of litigators (plaintiffs’ and defense counsel) from the 16 largest legal markets.  NALFA divided its results into a tier group system.  These tiered peer cities share similar characteristics on litigation hourly rate data.  The following 16 cities are list from highest billing rates in litigation to lowest:

Washington, DC
San Francisco, CA      Tier I
New York, NY
Dallas, TX

Chicago, IL
Los Angeles, CA         Tier II
Boston, MA
Miami, FL

Philadelphia, PA
Atlanta, GA                 Tier III
Houston, TX
San Diego, CA

Seattle, WA
Tampa, FL                   Tier IV
Denver, CO
New Orleans, LA

This 2020 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report is now available for purchase.  For more information on this, email NALFA Executive Director, Terry Jesse at terry@thenalfa.org or call us at (312) 907-7275.