Law by the Numb#rs

2013 raises to peak for midlevel associates at midsize firms

Posted Mar 1, 2013 3:00 AM CDT

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Smack dab in the middle may be the best place to be as far as 2013 salary increases are concerned, the Robert Half Legal 2013 Salary Guide reports.

“Average starting salaries for legal professionals in the United States are projected to rise 3 percent overall in 2013,” reports the legal staffing firm specializing in lawyers, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. “The largest increases in base compensation are expected for associates, paralegals and legal secretaries at midsize and small-to-midsize law firms. Litigation support specialists also should see greater-than-average salary gains.”

According to the guide, average starting salaries for lawyers are expected to increase 3.2 percent in 2013. Licensed lawyers with four to nine years’ experience at small-to-midsize firms of 10-35 lawyers may expect to see a 4.9 percent rise in base compensation, to the range of $87,250 to $157,500 annually, on average. “Lawyers with the same amount of experience at midsize law firms of 35-75 lawyers will see starting salaries rise 4.8 percent, to the range of $119,750 to $178,250 per year. First-year associates at small-to-midsize law firms will earn between $58,250 [and] $84,750, on average, a 2.1 percent increase from 2012 projections. Corporate attorneys will see average compensation gains of 3.4 percent over 2012. Starting salaries for licensed in-house attorneys with 10 to 12 years of experience will rise 3.9 percent, to the range of $134,500 to $235,500 annually.”

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Graphics by Jamie Gannon.

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DATA EXCERPTS FROM The Robert Half Legal 2013 Salary Guide

As law firms focus on pursuing new revenue opportunities, the market is strengthening for mid- and senior-level associates with business development skills, extensive client contacts and experience in high-demand practice areas such as health care, commercial law and litigation, says Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal.

While salaries have not yet returned to pre-recession levels, many hiring managers are offering above-average compensation and bonuses to attract the industry’s best candidates and retain their most valuable employees.

Copies of the full salary guide can be downloaded from the Robert Half International website.

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