And the Survey Says...
Slightly more than half of the lawyers participating in the KBA Economics and Law Office Management Service indicated that they bill at over $250 per hour and most of those anticipate that their hourly rate will remain the same in 2020. When asked if they would pursue the legal profession as a career if they were making the decision again, 56 percent said “yes, 16 percent said “no,” and 28 percent of respondents were “not sure.” Eighty-nine percent of respondents report their firms pay their annual Bar fees and 87 percent pick up the tab for CLE courses.
The KBA’s first-ever bar survey was completed by 278 lawyers or 18.5% of the total membership. Joanne O’Reilly of the American Bar Association’s Division of Bar Services was responsible for data collection and she reported that we can have high confidence that the survey responses reflect the demographics and economics of the Knoxville legal community overall.
Survey respondents indicated the average salary for recent law school grads with no experience is $65,539. Lawyers with fewer than three years of experience are averaging $75,549; $88,462 for those in practice three to five years; and $100,421 for those with six to eight years’ experience. Lawyers with more than eight years on the job are averaging $118,953 per year, and partners and shareholders are pulling in an average of $203,194.
Knoxville lawyers also reported spending an average of slightly less than 50 hours in the office each week and billing for 32 of those hours. Eighty-three percent spend at least an hour per week on volunteer work, with 20% spending 6-10 hours per week.The average number of pro bono hours completed in 2018 was 34.6 hours.
Seventeen percent had at least $100,000 in educational debt upon graduation from law school and twenty-three percent had less than $25,000 in debt.
Forty-four percent of respondents reported either operating a solo practice or working in a firm or other legal setting with five or fewer lawyers, while 16 percent say they work with more than 25 attorneys. Respondents also reported, on average, 57 percent of their offices’ gross receipts went to pay the lawyers in the office, while 21 percent went to support-staff salaries. The remaining 23 percent covered all other firm expenses.
Eighty-five percent of those who completed the survey are satisfied with the services the KBA provides and the most frequently used services were live CLE courses (71%), Attorney’s Directory (77%), and social events (43%).
Have I piqued your interest? To view the complete survey results which are filtered based on years of experience, employment setting and firm size, you must log in to the KBA website. Click here to log in.
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