Paralegal compensation

A recent ALM Research annual compensation survey for Paralegals/Legal Assistants and Managers, suggested some interesting statistics. 

  • Compensation increases averaged between 3 and 5%
  • The highest paid paralegals are litigation support/technology managers who earned a median annual base compensation of $115,000
  • The average billing rate for paralegals was more than $150 per hour, with rates for most positions exceeding $175
  • Paralegal case managers in law firms averaged 1,642 billable hours, followed by senior paralegals at 1,530 hours

Many lawyers are still charging less than $200 per hour. Though faced with competition from other lawyers (and now paralegals), lawyers must fight to find ways to increase their fees, whether by the hour or otherwise. If they don’t, their economic well-being will be endangered.  In fact, recent statistics I saw in a California study says that 50% of California lawyers earn less than $100,000 and 50% of those earn less than $50,000. The scene is echoed in New York and elsewhere.

Like every other profession and trade and business, the practice of law is a business … That means we’re governed by the same formula:  P=R – E.  Profit (take home pay) equals revenue collected less expenses.
Remember the ABA study that opined that lawyers who billed 1,500 hours per year would earn a substantial income? Apparently, the standard today is between 1800 and 2200 hours of billable time. That doesn’t leave much time to eat, brush your teeth or say hello to your kids. And, of course, this does not include the hours spent on visioning the future of and operating your practice today as a business, which it is. 

We need to spend many hours tilling the soil if we want to advance, both professionally and economically.  "The grass is NOT greener on the other side." It’s just a different set of challenges.

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