A recent Corporate Counsel story, “Report: Top-Tier Law Firm Rates Surged This Year” reports that law firm billing rates are surging faster than the American to Canadian dollar exchange rates this year, according to LexisNexis’ Frank Strong in his recent blog post. “Big law billing rates grew notably—pushing a 6 percent increase in the gap between the top two tiers of law firms, by attorney headcount, from 38 percent to 44 percent,” writes Strong. He takes the numbers from his company’s Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report.
Broken down even further, this means the largest firms, those with more than 750 lawyers, have a median rate of $711 per hour, up from $675 the previous year. “Second tier” firms, those with 501 to 750 attorneys, didn’t see as great a rate increase from $490 to just $495.
According to the report, intellectual property and regulatory and compliance practice areas “show median partner growth about 2.9 percent during both the past year and over the previous three-year period.” But groups such as insurance and environmental didn’t see the same increase and, in fact, grew at rates slower than litigation, real estate, employment and labor, commercial, contracts and other areas.