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Category: Study / Report

Litigation Billing Rate Data Has Chi-Squared Distribution

January 25, 2023

NALFA recently released the results from its 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey.  The results, published in The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, contains billing rate data on the factors that correlate directly to hourly rates in litigation: geography, years of litigation experience, position or title, complexity of case, and litigation practice size.

This empirical survey and report provides micro and macro data of current hourly rate ranges for both defense and plaintiffs’ litigators, at various experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, in regular and complex litigation, and in the nation’s largest markets.  This data-intensive survey contains hundreds of data sets and thousands of data points covering all relevant billing rate categories and variables.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation.

This is the third year NALFA has conducted this survey on billing rates. The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report contains new cities, additional categories, and more accurate variables.  These updated features allow us to capture new and more precise billing rate data.  Through our propriety email database, NALFA surveyed thousands of litigators from across the U.S,  Over 16,600 qualified litigators fully participated in this hourly rate survey.

For the third year in a row, at the macro level, we find a chi-squared distribution for litigation billing rates.  When we plot all responses (plaintiffs' and defense) in both regular and complex litigation 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 bell-shaped curve. Our model here starts from a low point ($200-$250), climbs to the highest point ($451-$500), before the midpoint ($601-$650), then declines gradually and finishes with a long tail with an uptick at the very end (Over $1100). 

"You can see that the climb upwards is steeper than the gradual decline downwards," said Terry Jesse, Executive Director of NALFA .  In the graph below, the y axis is the percentage of responses and the x axis is our 20-point hourly rate scale (Less than $200 to Over $1100).

 

NALFA Releases 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report

December 20, 2022

Every year, NALFA conducts an hourly rate survey of civil litigation in the U.S.   Today, NALFA released the results from its 2022 hourly rate survey.  The survey results, published in The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, shows billing rate data on the very factors that correlate directly to hourly rates in litigation:

City / Geography
Years of Litigation Experience / Seniority
Position / Title
Practice Area / Complexity of Case
Law Firm / Law Office Size

This empirical survey and report provides micro and macro data of current hourly rate ranges for both defense and plaintiffs’ litigators, at various experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, in regular and complex litigation, and in the nation’s largest markets.  This data-intensive survey contains hundreds of data sets and thousands of data points covering all relevant billing rate categories and variables.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation.

This is the third year NALFA has conducted this survey on billing rates.  The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report contains new cities, additional categories, and more accurate variables.  These updated features allow us to capture new and more precise billing rate data.  Through our propriety email database, NALFA surveyed thousands of litigators from across the U.S.  Over 16,600 qualified litigators fully participated in this hourly rate survey.  This data-rich survey was designed to aid litigators in proving their lodestar rates in court and comparing their rates to their litigation peers.

The 2022 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report is now available for purchase.  For more on this survey, email NALFA Executive Director Terry Jesse at terry@thenalfa.org or call us at (312) 907-7275.

IBA Panel: Narrow The Gender Hourly Billing Rate Gap in Law

November 4, 2022

A recent Law 360 story by Carolina Bolado, “Start With Fixing Gender Billable Rate Gap, IBA Panel Says” reports that law firms looking to retain their female talent need to start by narrowing the billable rate gap, which experts at the International Bar Association conference in Miami called the "Rosetta Stone" of the gender gap issue.  At an IBA panel on how to keep women in the profession, Michael Ellenhorn, CEO of Decipher, a data intelligence firm focused on the lateral legal market, said the data show women routinely bill more hours than their male counterparts but recover less money for that work.  Addressing this gap in billable rates is where firms need to start, he said.

"It's the baseline where this problem can be solved," Ellenhorn said.  "At a minimum, women partners need to be compensated and remunerated at the same rate as their male counterparts.  From an objective standpoint, that is one way we can move the ball down the pitch."  The panelists, a global group gathered together at the IBA conference to discuss the gender inequality problem, said part of the issue is that many managing partners don't even realize that there is a problem.

Hilarie Bass, the former co-president of Greenberg Traurig LLP who now runs the Bass Institute for Diversity and Inclusion, said that a study conducted during her tenure as American Bar Association president in 2017-2018 found that 91% of law firm leaders believe they are advocates of gender diversity.  The study found three-quarters of leaders believe that they are completely objective and committed to elevating women to equity partner status and that they are successful in retaining women.

But the female respondents to the survey did not agree.  A majority of women in the survey said they were overlooked for advancement and were compensated at a lower level than comparable male colleagues, Bass said.  Many also felt they were treated as a token representative for diversity, which Bass said is becoming more of an issue as clients demand diverse legal teams.  Bass said women reported being brought in to pitch the client but being sidelined not long afterward.

Ellenhorn said firms need to start by measuring data, in particular the comparison between average realized rates for male and female partners and how the firm apportions origination credit.  "It's very simple to do," Ellenhorn said.  "Those two data points will get you a long way to understanding what the mix is in each of your firms."  He added that his group has found that men tend to over-forecast their books of business and then underperform, while women in general under-forecast and overperform.  Firms need to stop penalizing women for doing this, not just in the lateral market but during firms' business and budget planning processes, he said.

Ellenhorn said his organization has looked at thousands of lateral partner questionnaires, which are forms lawyers fill out when they move from one firm to another.  He said that while women make up just one-fifth of equity partners, they make up 31% of lateral partner moves.  "You start to scratch your head a little bit about what is going on in the market," Ellenhorn said.  And unlike their male counterparts, women depart and oftentimes within the data set they don't show up somewhere else. In the last two years in the U.S., that's about 8,000 women partners who have likely disappeared from the profession."

NALFA Survey: Hourly Rate Data Distribution is Chi-Squared

August 11, 2022

NALFA recently released the results from its 2021 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey.  The results, published in The 2021 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, contains billing rate data on the factors that correlate directly 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 defense and plaintiffs’ rates in regular and complex litigation, at various litigation experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, and in the nation’s largest markets.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation.

Over 8,400 qualified litigators fully participated in this hourly rate survey.  When we plot all 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 bell-shaped curve. 

Our model here starts from a low point ($200-$250), peaks before the midpoint ($601-$650), then declines gradually and finishes with a long tail with an uptick at the very end (Over $1100).  It resembles a whale-shaped type distribution.  In the graph below, the y axis is the percentage of responses and the x axis is the hourly rate scale (Less than $200 to Over $1100).

NALFA Releases 2021 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report

July 19, 2022

Every year, NALFA conducts an hourly rate survey of civil litigation in the U.S.   Today, NALFA released the results from its 2021 hourly rate survey.  The survey results, published in The 2021 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report, shows billing rate data on the very factors that correlate directly to hourly rates in litigation:

City / Geography
Years of Litigation Experience / Seniority
Position / Title
Practice Area / Complexity of Case
Law Firm / Law Office Size

This empirical survey and report provides micro and macro data of current hourly rate ranges for both defense and plaintiffs’ litigators, at various experience levels, from large law firms to solo shops, in regular and complex litigation, and in the nation’s largest markets.  This data-intensive survey contains hundreds of data sets and thousands of data points covering all relevant billing rate categories and variables.  This is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive survey or study on hourly billing rates in litigation.

This is the second year NALFA has conducted this survey on billing rates.  The 2021 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report contains new cities, additional categories, and more accurate variables.  These updated features allow us to capture new and more precise billing rate data.  Through our propriety email database, NALFA surveyed thousands of litigators from across the U.S.  Over 8,400 qualified litigators fully participated in this hourly rate survey.  This data-rich survey was designed to aid litigators in proving their lodestar rates in court and comparing their rates to their litigation peers.

The 2021 Litigation Hourly Rate Survey & Report is now available for purchase.  For more on this survey, email NALFA Executive Director Terry Jesse at terry@thenalfa.org or call us at (312) 907-7275.