The announcement of the $2,000 per hour lawyer and the first-year associate starting salaries rising to $180,000 has stirred up a largely negative reaction from Biglaw clients, Above the Law reported. After the first-year salary news release, Bank of America’s global general counsel made their opinions very clear in an email that’s become public, “we are aware of no market-driven basis for such an increase and do not expect to bear the costs of the firms’ decisions” (Above the Law). According to BTI Consulting Group, the $2,000/hour billable rate structure reflects a shocking 25% increase from 2014’s highest rates, as reported in The American Lawyer.
According to Above the Law, the increase of compensation and rates at large law firms will likely open a door for “value” firms, making them more attractive to legal departments at corporations. The technology and tools available today make it possible for smaller firms to have access to the resources that Biglaw can provide to its corporate clients. Social media outlets and digital publishing software play a large role in making it easier for smaller firms or lawyers to make themselves more reputable to a larger audience. The release of these two pieces of news has created an optimal time for small and medium firms to take advantage of impressing corporate counsel (Above the Law).
For more information, contact Bill Sugarman.
Firms are taking a more analytical approach to partner compensation, reports LegalTech News. While partner compensation has traditionally been calculated in a more subjective manner, experts from legal software producer Aderant posit that “analytical models should be the best practice for determining law firm compensation.”
Dan Ronesi of Aderant argues that although law firms have started utilizing profitability as a metric for the firm itself , many are still hesitant to use this approach to calculate partner compensation. Aderant cites perceived lack of access to data and inherent differences in profitability between practice areas as two potential challenges to the adoption.
LegalTech News further quotes Ronesi as advising to “locate the profit that one’s generated instead of the revenue that one’s generated,” since revenue, if increased inefficiently, does not necessarily lead to increased profitability.
Ronesi identifies three future trends in firm operations: using better technology to track these metrics, looking at the numbers more frequently to create new opportunities, and increased use of profitability in the compensation models (as quoted by LegalTech News).
Many observers believe Chicago’s startup and technology scene has reached a critical mass, enjoying a timely alignment of talent, capital and political will alongside an emerging infrastructure of incubators and accelerators. Moreover, its not just insiders – Silicon Valley is starting to recognize that something important is afoot in the Midwest as well.
Chicago’s startup and technology community has just taken a major step forward with the announcement that Howard Tullman, well-connected entrepreneur extraordinaire, will be taking the reigns at 1871. We expect this growing startup and technology scene to create exciting new opportunities for Chicago transactional attorneys and the local legal community at large.