Rich Lawyers Are Getting Richer, And Poor Lawyers Are Getting Poorer

skaddenLawyers at Skadden are cashing in

Photo: jsmjr on flickr

While most lawyers suffer unemployment or relatively low pay, the top few are cashing in like never before.Partners in the top 25 per cent of hourly billers boosted their average price to a record $873 an hour in 2011, up 4.9 per cent from 2010, according to a report by TyMetrix.

For the bottom 25 per cent of hourly billers, however, the average price languished at $204 per hour, increasing less than inflation. WSJ’s Jennifer Smith describes their weak recovery:

The slow growth at the low end shows that clients who pushed back on legal bills during the economic downturn are continuing to hold the line, especially on routine matters, including bulk contract work or compiling documents for patent claims. And that disparity between who can raise prices—and who can’t—spotlights a growing segmentation in the $100 billion corporate legal market.

Meanwhile the recession left millions of lawyers underemployed or unemployed, as law firms across the spectrum cut back on hiring.

Now check out an infographic on the law school bubble >

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