Based on a survey of 1,500 lawyers in solo and small firms (fewer than 50 lawyers), Clio and Above The Law determined that 42% of these attorneys earn between $50,000 and $100,000 -- with an average of $82,292 -- but that 30% of these attorneys earn more than.
The size of your firm and the type of law you practice made the biggest difference, according to the newly-released 2018 Solo .
Solos earn far less -- 26% of solos earn less than $50,000 per year. However, 19% reported they earn more than $250,000.
The larger the firm, the higher the compensation:
- In firms between 2 and 10 attorneys, the largest segment of respondents reported annual compensation in the $50,000 to $74,999 range.
- In firms in the 11 to15 attorney category, the largest segment earned $100,000 to $149,000.
- In firms with 26 to 50 attorneys, the largest group partners reported earning $100,000 to $149,000, while slightly more than 1/5 earned more than $150,000.
Looking at average raises received over the past few years:
- 47.37% got more than 4% raises.
- At the other end of the chart, 24.5% got no raise at all.
- The remainder of attorneys got from 3.^5 to 5.8% raises.
Practice area also made a difference in compensation. Focusing only on partners:
- The most lucrative practice areas reported were corporate, with partners earning $250,000 to $499,999, and litigation partners.
- The preponderance of intellectual property lawyers earned from $150,000 to $249,000.
- The largest segments of tax law partners earned from $100,000 to $149,000.
- Partners in labor & employment reported that a preponderance earned $75,000 to $99,999.
- The lowest compensation as found among partners in real estate, labor & employment and personal injury, with a preponderance reporting compensation of $50,000 to $74,999.
I expected the compensation numbers to be higher. The classic ways to increase your compensation are changing your practice area, joining a firm that pays high compensation, raising your rates and billingmore hours. The overlooked consideration that makes the biggest difference is actively marketing your practice. More about that coming up.