The national average increase for starting salaries across the legal field is predicted to be 3.1 percent. But what does that look like for your specific lawyer salary? Depending on the years of experience, your expected salary increase may be higher or lower than the average.
According to our 2016 Legal Salary Guide, law firm attorneys can expect a salary increase of 3.5 percent. However, depending on the years of experience and the size of your firm, some lawyers may see a greater salary increase than others.
Those roles that are expected to experience the biggest salary increases include lawyers with 10+ years of experience who work at midsize firms, and lawyers with 4-9 years of experience who are employed at small to midsize firms.
Here are the lawyer salary increases for 2016 that you can expect to see, depending on your years of experience and the size of your firm.
For the purposes of this data, we define law firm sizes as follows:
- Large law firm: 75+ lawyers
- Midsize law firm: 35-75 lawyers
- Small/midsize law firm: 10-35 lawyers
- Small law firm: up to 10 lawyers
Lawyers with 10+ years of experience may see salary increases upwards of 4%. Midsize law firms are reporting the highest increases at 4.7%. Small to midsize firm are reporting increases of 4.6%. The largest and smallest firms are reporting salary increases of 4.0%.
Lawyers with 4-9 years of experience can also expect to see salary increases of 4% and higher. The reported increases are highest at 4.7% for lawyers at small to midsize firms. Midsize firms are reporting projected increases of 4.4%, with small firms at 4.3%. Large law firms have a projected lawyer salary increase of 4.0%.
Lawyers with 1-3 years of experience may see salary gains more in alignment with the 3.1% national average. Midsize firms report slightly higher increases at 3.2%. Other size firms lag slightly behind: Small to midsize firms are reporting a 2.8% increase, large firms a 2.7% increase, and small firms a 2.6% increase.
First-year associates can expect less than the average starting salary increase. At a large law firm, they can expect to see a 2.7% increase from 2015 in a starting lawyer salary. At a midsize firm, they can expect a 2.5% higher salary than last year. Small to midsize and smaller firms are reporting a 2.2% and 2.3% increase, respectively.