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Bar Survey Says Half of Responding Lawyers Saw Pay Cut, Nearly 20% Are Mulling Career Changes

Posted Feb 28, 2011 7:13 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Pay freezes, staff layoffs and reduced billing rates, as well as other signs of economic stress, are becoming commonplace in law practice, respondents to the latest Florida Bar survey say. And many are now mulling career changes ranging from a shift to another practice area or launching their own firm to leaving the law altogether.

Slightly more than half of respondents to the 2010 Economics and Law Office Management Survey say their business and/or profits are down, compared to two years earlier and a little over 41 percent say they haven't given lawyers pay raises, reports the Florida Bar News.

Although the average starting salary for recent graduates stayed steady at $50,000, median pay levels for seasoned practitioners dropped, according to the lengthy article. Partner pay slipped from $125,000 to $120,000 and midlevels with three to five years in practice have been earning $70,000 instead of $75,000.

Nearly 20 percent of respondents say they are considering, or have already resorted to, switching practice areas, starting their own firms or moving to another line of work.

For more details about what the survey found, read the full article.

Meanwhile, there is some good news: A number of Florida law firms that had been struggling in recent years are now doing better, thanks to belt-tightening and shifts in their practice focus, as a subsequent ABAJournal.com post details.

Hat tip: Legal Skills Prof Blog.

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