The median partner billing rate at law firms with 201 to 500 lawyers has grown to $651, according to a new edition of the CounselLink Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report.
Surprisingly, the median BigLaw rate for law firms with 750+ lawyers has dropped over the last four years to $622.
The report is based on $18 billion in actual legal invoices. The data suggests that the largest law firms have modified staffing models and reassigned IP litigation work to more junior partners in an effort at cost control.
Meanwhile some corporate clients pay an off-the-charts $1,600 an hour (after any discount) as the highest rate in the market—a new all-time high for the top rate, according to BTI Consulting. And, this is not an isolated rate—more than a few clients report paying $1,600 per hour.
- 38% corporate counsel report paying a top rate of $1,000 an hour or higher. The largest 30 law firms, including the Magic Circle firms, lay claim to 54% of clients paying the highest rates.
- Clients say new and extreme risks make the top rates worth paying. Think monster transactions, global complexity, large scale FCPA and similar enterprise-level risk.