79% of Lawyers Saw Their Compensation Stay the Same or Increase Over the Past Year, per New Martindale-Avvo Report
LOS ANGELES, June 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The type of clients an attorney represents has the biggest impact on their annual compensation, according to the Martindale-Avvo Attorney Compensation Report, released today.
The third-annual report found attorneys who represent businesses made an average of $238,000 in 2019, while attorneys whose primary focus was representing consumers earned an average of $181,000 last year.
Average earnings were down $2,000 year-over-year in 2019, according to the report compiled from an in-depth survey of more than 823 attorneys.
Compensation is on the Rise
While average attorney compensation was down $2,000 overall when averaged across all survey respondents, 79 percent of lawyers individually reported their compensation has either stayed the same or increased in 2019.
30 percent of attorneys surveyed mentioned their compensation did not decrease but stayed the same. An additional 30 percent said their compensation increased by up to 10 percent, while another 19 percent said they saw their compensation increase by over 10 percent.
Small Firm Attorneys Coming Out On Top
Small-firm attorneys, defined as those working in a practice with 1 to 21 attorneys on staff, earned an average of $210,000 annually — while solo practitioners earned a mean of $150,000 in 2019.
This compensation gap between small-firm attorneys and solo practitioners has grown by $6,000 in the last year to a noteworthy $60,000.
Gender Pay Gap
Though the gender pay gap shrank, it was not by a substantial amount. This year’s report listed the gender pay gap among solo and small firm attorneys at $76,000, relative to last year’s report which saw the gender pay gap reach $79,000. Male attorneys earned an average of $217,000 in 2019, compared to $141,000 for female attorneys.
The report surfaces several reasons that can logically account for the gap in gender pay, including a higher portion of female attorneys representing consumers. The report found that in 2019 consumer attorneys earned far less than those who represent businesses.
This year’s report had a focus on attorney’s perception of their profession, including their favorite and least favorite things about being an attorney.
While 63% of attorneys feel they’re fairly compensated for their efforts, a significant 37% percent of lawyers feel they are underappreciated financially.
Overall, 69 percent of attorneys said if they had a chance to do it over again they would choose the same path to become an attorney. Meanwhile, 31 percent of lawyers stated, if given another opportunity, they would not have become a lawyer.
Business During COVID
While this year’s compensation report covers 2019 and does not encompass the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Martindale-Avvo has conducted additional research into fallout from the pandemic in advance of next year’s attorney compensation report.
Last month Martindale-Avvo released the results of independent surveys of attorneys and consumers that highlight the changes experienced by the legal industry—and by consumers—during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the lawyers surveyed, 95 percent of surveyed firms are still accepting new clients. However, about 81 percent of surveyed firms have seen decreased revenues during the pandemic. Of those, 27 percent report their revenue has decreased by more than half since the start of the pandemic. More than 18 percent of firms were forced to shrink their staffs through layoffs and furloughs, and just 5 percent of law firms have increased marketing expenses during the pandemic.
62 percent of surveyed attorneys said they believe it will take anywhere from four months to a year for their firm to return back to where they were financially pre-COVID-19. Meanwhile, more than 50 percent of lawyers said they plan for their staff to continue to work remotely, in some fashion, when the pandemic is over.
About The Report
The 2019 Attorney Compensation Reports surveyed 900 United States-based solo practitioners and small law firm attorneys and focused on the 823 respondents who practice full-time. In addition to gathering compensation data from 2019, the Attorney Compensation Report covers important factors that affect income, such as hours worked, time spent with clients, gender, and community involvement.
The leader in legal marketing, Martindale-Avvo comprises the online legal brands Martindale-Hubbell, Martindale-Nolo, Ngage, and Avvo, and connects attorneys with 23 million consumers monthly.
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