Law departments tend to exaggerate the rates at which they believe firms bill them, or at least to mis-state them. The top rates of senior partners stick in the mind, but the blended rate isn’t considered. Be sure to calculate the overall rates you are paying correctly.
A survey of 257 U.S. law firms in 21 major metropolitan areas finds that 65% of partners bill their time between $235 and $474 per hour. Approximately 20 percent of partners have billing rates of more than $500 per hour, which is an increase of nearly 5 percent over last year.
The national average for first-year associates is $167, while first-year associates in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC were billed out from between $190 to $259 per hour. www.helderassociates.com, 2005 as reported in Hildebrand Headlines (July 29, 2005).