Business of Law

Top hourly rates for some BigLaw partners have reached $2K, survey finds

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“More than a handful” of U.S. companies are now paying a top hourly rate of $2,000 to partners at BigLaw firms, a survey says.

Results released Wednesday by BTI Consulting Group show that billable rates for some elite lawyers reached this benchmark last year, reports the Am Law Daily (sub. req.). The consulting group surveyed 322 in-house counsels for companies that grossed at least $1 billion the previous year, and their findings were based on what clients paid, rather than just what firms billed.

Corporate clients are willing to pay top dollar for top legal talent when dealing with complex matters of great import to the company, Am Law Daily reports. These include “bet-the-company” intellectual property matters and dealing with sweeping government investigations.

Such practitioners can persuade a corporate client to sign on the dotted line of a representation agreement by discussing potential strategy in the case before they are actually retained, the survey found.

Respondents to the BTI Consulting Group survey said that the average hourly rate companies actually paid for outside counsel was $982. This is up from the $909 average hourly rate the group found in their 2013 survey of large companies.

Related coverage: “Top partner billing rates at BigLaw firms approach $1,500 per hour”

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