No Easy Money at Top Law Firms

Posted at Legal Practice Intelligence - 1 August 2016

Mahlab has released its 2016 Reports on the employment market for private practice and in-house lawyers.

Legal Practice Intelligence concludes that the days of across-the-board major pay rises are fading into a distant memory. The money is still great at top law firms but career progression is increasingly looking like a zero-sum game.

Key findings from the 2016 Mahlab Reports:

• The average national salary increase in private practice was 3.8%.

• 2016 has also seen more bonuses paid, with the average bonus between 5 and 10% of salary and a reported maximum of 20%.

• There has been a focus on having a flexible, agile workforce as employers seek to adapt to the changing nature of workflow.

• Cross-border transactions in developed and emerging markets are now a key growth area.

• Many senior lawyers at top tier practices report shedding of partners and reduced partnership numbers, bottlenecks for partnership, onerous benchmarks to progress and a general lack of prospects. Many of these lawyers have landed in mid sized law firms as salaried partners, with a mandate to build a practice in supportive firms wanting high calibre expertise and seeking growth.

• The establishment of contractor services by some firms shows they are relying more on outsourcing services and a flexible workforce.

• The majority of lawyers at all levels complained of long hours and a lack of work-life balance in frenetic environments where they believe advancement to partnership is elusive.

• Senior associates and special counsel in particular expressed a high level of frustration with the lack of work-life balance, as well as the hurdles required to create a sustainable business case for partnership and a general lack of partnership opportunities.

• All lawyers shared a disillusionment with benchmarks for career progression increasing each year and the feeling of being driven to unsustainable levels. This is a key challenge the firms must address if they wish to retain valued staff and remain sustainable in this highly competitive market for clients and for talent.

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© 2016 Legal Practice Intelligence





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