eDiscovery Daily Blog

Legal Salaries on the Rise? That’s the Half of It: eDiscovery Trends

Robert Half, that is.

Robert Half’s 2016 Legal Salary Guide features salary ranges for more than 100 positions in the legal field and provides some other interesting statistics, as well.  According to the Guide, average starting salaries for lawyers at law firms are expected to increase 3.5 percent in 2016.  And, salaries for experienced litigation support and eDiscovery directors and managers are expected to rise even more than that.

The salary figures in the 2016 edition are based on a number of sources, most notably the thousands of full-time, temporary and project placements Robert Half’s staffing and recruiting professionals make each year. Here are some breakdowns:

  • Lawyers: Starting salaries for lawyers with 10-plus years’ experience are expected to increase 0 to 4.7 percent from 2015 (depending on the size of the firm). A lawyer with 10-plus years’ experience at a large firm (75+ lawyers) is expected to hit an average range of $194,250 to $279,500 annually.  First-year associates’ salaries are expected to increase 2.2 to 2.7 percent increase over 2015 projections.  Corporate in house counsel are expected to see average compensation gains of 2.2 to 3.7 percent over 2015 levels, with the more experienced in house counsel trending toward the top end of that range (average range of $185,250 to $259,750 annually).
  • Paralegals/Legal Assistants: Starting salaries for paralegals/legal assistants are expected to increase 0 to 4.0 percent from 2015. Senior legal assistants with 7+ years of experience are expected to make as much as $96,750 annually at large law firms.
  • Litigation Support/eDiscovery: Starting salaries for litigation support/eDiscovery directors and managers are expected to increase from 4 to 5.7 percent annually from 2015. The top end of the salary range for litigation support/eDiscovery directors with 10+ years of experience is $130,500.  Document coders also see an increase – 3.6 percent over 2015.

The guide also provides salary expectations for office managers, legal secretaries, legal specialists and contract and compliance administration positions for both law firms and corporate legal.  Not surprisingly, they’re all up.

Other notable statistics:

  • Lawyers’ top responses to the question “Aside from compensation or bonus, which of the following provides the best incentive for legal professionals to remain with a law firm/ company?” were as follows: Challenging work or variety of assignments (39 percent), Professional development opportunities (26 percent), Flexible work arrangements (20 percent).
  • 71 percent of lawyers said blended or hybrid paralegal/legal secretary positions are more common today than they were two years ago.
  • The top two practice areas that are expected to generate the greatest number of legal jobs in the next two years in the US are: Litigation (33 percent) and General Business/Commercial Law (26 percent).

The survey guide also provides an adjustment for various US cities across the country (obviously, salaries are much higher in New York (140 percent of the reported numbers for the different positions) than in Duluth, MN (79.6 percent).  For example, the top end of the salary range for litigation support/eDiscovery directors with 10+ years of experience in Houston (107.5 percent for my hometown) is actually $140,287 (just sayin’).  So, you can adjust the numbers based on local variances.  The guide even has a Canada section, eh?

The FREE 36 page PDF guide is available here.  Check it out.  Maybe you need a raise?

So, what do you think?  Do the numbers surprise you?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.