Posted by Lisa Hamilton on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 00:00
In Part 1 of this series, “Know What You’re Worth,” we covered how legal professionals can make informed decisions about their careers by staying current on legal hiring trends and the going legal salaries for various positions. In this post, we offer some specific projections for legal salaries in 2016 based on extensive research of local and national employment data that we conducted for the latest Robert Half Legal Salary Guide.
Visit our Salary Center for the latest Robert Half Legal Salary Guide, as well as other tools including a salary calculator to help you determine what legal professionals are being paid in your geographic area.
Here are highlights from our legal salary research:
According to the latest Robert Half Legal Salary Guide research, average starting salaries for lawyers at law firms are expected to increase 3.5 percent in 2016. Starting salaries for lawyers with 10-plus years' experience at a midsize law firm (35 to 75 lawyers) are expected to increase 4.7 percent from 2015, to the average range of $162,750 to $268,500 annually. At a small-to-midsize law firm (10 to 35 lawyers), lawyers with four to nine years' experience are projected to see starting salaries rise 4.7 percent, to the range of $102,750 to $175,750 per year. First-year associates at large law firms (more than 75 lawyers) are expected to earn between $116,000 and $143,500, a 2.7 percent increase over 2015 projections.
Corporate attorneys are expected to see average compensation gains of 3.1 percent over 2015 levels. Starting salaries for in-house counsel with four to nine years' experience at large companies (more than $250 million in revenue) are projected to rise 3.7 percent, to the range of $160,500 to $217,750 annually.
Legal support positions
Overall, salary increases of 3.0 percent are expected for law firm paralegals in 2016. At small-to-midsize law firms, paralegals with seven-plus years' experience should see average starting salaries rise by 4.0 percent, to the range of $61,750 to $73,500 annually.
Legal secretaries at law firms can expect average starting salaries to increase 2.3 percent in 2016. The greatest gains in starting salaries are expected for legal secretaries with three to six years' experience at midsize law firms. These professionals should see salaries in the range of $47,500 to $59,500 per year, a 3.4 percent increase from 2015.
Legal specialist positions
On average, starting salaries for legal specialists are predicted to rise 4.3 percent. Compliance directors with 10-plus years' experience should see the greatest gains, with starting salaries increasing by 5.8 percent, to the annual range of $118,250 to $138,500.
Other key findings on legal salaries
Research for the Robert Half Legal Salary Guide is also the basis for the following projections:
- Litigation support/eDiscovery directors with 10-plus years' experience can expect their base compensation to increase 5.7 percent on average, to the range of $101,000 to $130,500 annually.
- Contract managers can expect average starting salaries to rise by 5.6 percent, to the range of $80,500 to $121,500 per year.
- Compensation for lease administrators is projected to increase 5.3 percent, to the annual range of $59,000 to $80,500.
- Law firm administrators/office managers at small-to-midsize law firms can expect average starting salaries of $64,750 to $92,500 annually, a 3.1 percent increase from 2015.
- Midlevel paralegals with four to six years' experience at a large company should see average salary ranges of $60,000 to $77,500 per year, a 3.4 percent increase.
- Legal secretaries with three to six years' experience at a midsize company ($25 million to $250 million in revenue) are expected to earn starting salaries of $48,000 to $61,500 annually, a 3.3 percent increase from 2015.
To learn more about current legal compensation and hiring trends, including salary projections for more than 100 legal positions throughout North America, download a complimentary copy of the Robert Half Legal Salary Guide.