The Third Annual Report

According to the recently released third annual report from Martindale-Avvo, the type of clientele a lawyer chooses to represent has a major impact on their yearly compensation. This report showed lawyers representing businesses increased their earnings for 2019 by $238,000. The average earnings for the same year for lawyers placing their focus on consumers was $181,000. According to the in-depth survey included with the report, the average earnings for over 823 lawyers decreased by $2,000 during 2019.

The Increase in Compensation

When the average compensation for survey respondents was taken into consideration, the general figure decreased by $2,000 overall. Approximately 79 percent of these attorneys reported their individual compensation for 2019 as either the same or showing an increase. Of the lawyers surveyed, 30 percent stated there was no drop in their compensation. The figure remained the same. Another 30 percent stated there was an increase in compensation as high as 10 percent. An additional 19 percent stated there was an increase in compensation greater than 10 percent.

Top Compensation was Received by Small Firm Lawyers

Lawyers with a practice in a smaller firm are categorized as having between one and 21 lawyers on staff. The average annual compensation for 2019 was $210,000. The earnings of solo practitioners for the same year was $150,000. The gap in compensation between solo practitioners and lawyers working for small firms has increased by $6,000 during the past year. The difference is now $60,000.

Pay Gap According to Gender

There has been a drop in the pay gap according to gender, even though the amount is not considered substantial. According to the recent report, the pay gap for small firm and solo lawyers is $76,000. The pay gap for the previous year according to the report was $79,000. In 2019, the average earnings for a male lawyer was $217,000. The average earnings for a female lawyer was $141,000. According to the report, there are numerous logical reasons accounting for the difference in pay due to gender. This includes a greater number of female lawyers acting as a representative for consumers.

The Opinions of Lawyers

The focus of the report for 2019 is the perception of the lawyers regarding their profession such as the most and least desirable aspects of a career as a lawyer. The report showed 63 percent of the lawyers believe the compensation received for their efforts is fair, Only 37 percent of the attorneys feel they are financially underappreciated. Approximately 69 percent of the lawyers stated if given the opportunity to start from the beginning, they would still make the decision to become a lawyer. Another 31 percent of the attorneys said if offered a new opportunity, they would not have chosen to become an attorney.

Business During the Pandemic

Since the current compensation report is for 2019, the impact of COVID 19 is not covered. For this reason, additional research has been conducted concerning the impact of COVID 19 regarding the lawyer compensation report for 2020. Results have also been released for independent consumer and attorney statistics regarding the changes experienced by both consumers and the legal sector during the pandemic. According to the attorneys surveyed, new clients are still being accepted by 95 percent of the legal firms.

The revenue for approximately 81 percent of the attorneys surveyed has decreased due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Among these attorneys, 27 percent have reported a decrease in revenue of more than 50 percent since the pandemic began. Over 18 percent of these legal firms had no choice other than decreasing the size of their staff through furloughs and layoffs. Marketing expenses have only increased by five percent during the pandemic for the law firms.

Of the lawyers surveyed, 62 percent stated they believe a period of between four months to one year will be necessary for the firms to financially return to where they were before the pandemic. Over half of the attorneys surveyed stated they planned to allow their staff to work remotely once the COVID 19 pandemic ended.

About the 2019 Lawyer Compensation Reports

The Lawyer compensation reports for 2019 include surveys for 900 small law firms and solo practitioners within the United States during the year. The focus of the report are the 823 respondents with a full-time practice. The report includes the compensation data gathered from 2019 in addition to numerous important factors impacting income. This includes the number of hours worked, community involvement, gender, and how much time the attorneys spent with their clients.