Law firm fees defy gravity

As the recession gathered, legal fees grew, and one firm broke the $1,200 per hour barrier.

Leigh Jones / Associate editor
December 8, 2008

Despite the rancid economy of 2008, attorney billing rates continued their escalation trend, with nearly 71% of law firms reporting an increase in the amount that they charged clients compared with 2007. This figure represents law firms that increased their average and median billing rates firmwide.

Also this year, partner billing rates broke record highs, with one firm exceeding the $1,200 mark and another rising above $1,100 per hour.

This year’s results of The National Law Journal’s annual billing survey indicate that, although law firms upped their rates at a slower pace compared with last year’s increases, they still exacted a higher price for their labors from clients, even amid an unraveling economy.

The survey was based on information provided by 127 law firms that responded to billing questions submitted as part of the NLJ 250, The National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms. Of those 127 law firms, 109 provided billing information both this year and last, from which year-over-year comparisons were derived. The survey period ran from Oct. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, 2008.

For more see NLJ.com.

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