Legal Intelligence Survey – 2008 Per Lawyer Revenues Drop – Flat Billing and Decline in Billed Hours

NEW YORK (September 14, 2009) – – The 2009 Survey of Law Firm Economics by Incisive Legal Intelligence, a leading source of business intelligence for the legal profession, reveals that participating U.S. law firms saw drops in virtually all key financial performance metrics last year. While average hourly billing rates for equity partners reached $332, an increase of less than one percent over the prior year, the hours billed by the average partner decreased by two percent to 1,681. Average revenues per lawyer reported by participating firms were $413,086, representing a decrease of 4% from the prior year. The study reports on annual financial performance; compensation; billing rates and hours; and other data, related primarily to small and mid-sized law firms (2 – 150 lawyers) in FY 2008. More than 190 law firms employing more than 12,000 lawyers participated in the survey, which has been conducted since 1972. For further information, or to purchase a copy of the survey, visit

Among the survey’s other findings:

· The average equity partner earned $352,569 in 2008 compared to $374,049 in 2007, a decrease of 5.7%.

· Overhead expenses decreased by 1.8 percent from the prior year to $167,256 per lawyer.

· It takes the average law firm 4.6 months to receive payment after doing billable work for a client.

· The average billing rate for associates was $213 per hour, a decrease of 3.2% from last year’s survey results.

“The Survey of Law Firm Economics is a unique resource for law firms seeking to compare their operational and financial performance on multiple levels, against comparable firms in size, geography and practice specialty,” said Kevin Iredell, vice president, legal business solutions at ALM. “For 37 years, a wide variety of firms have relied on the Survey as a primary tool for performance analysis and benchmarking.”

Data is presented nationally, by firm size, by geographic location, by practice area specialty, by population area size, by year admitted to bar and by years of experience. A companion study, the Small Law Firm Economic Survey, 2009 Edition, specifically for law firms with 20 or fewer lawyers, is also available. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Iredell at (212) 457-9500/ [email protected], e-mailing [email protected] or calling 1-(888) 782-7297.

Incisive Legal Intelligence offers detailed business information for and about the legal industry, focused on the top U.S. and international law firms. The division’s online research Web service,, provides subscribers with direct, on-demand access to ILI’s extensive database of surveys, rankings and lists related to law firms and the legal industry. The site also includes an online store where non-subscribers can, on an individual basis, purchase and download preformatted individual law firm reports, ILI Research reports, and selected current-year survey data. Incisive Legal Intelligence is a division of ALM.

ALM, an integrated media company, is a leading provider of specialized business news and information, focused primarily on the legal and commercial real estate sectors. ALM’s market-leading brands include The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel,, Insight Conferences,, Law Journal Press, LegalTech, The National Law Journal and Real Estate Forum. Headquartered in New York City, ALM was formed in 1997. For more information, visit

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