Most law firm partners are only somewhat satisfied with their pay and think they should be paid more, according to a survey conducted by Major, Lindsey & Africa on the satisfaction of law firm partners with their compensation and compensation systems.
In response to the survey, which the legal recruiting company hired ADF Research to conduct, only 24 percent of the respondents worldwide said they were very satisfied with their pay. While around 52 percent of the respondents said they were somewhat satisfied, 17 percent said they were not very satisfied and 6 percent said they were not at all satisfied.
Interestingly, 61 percent felt they thought they deserved more pay.
The survey, which was sent out to 30,000 law firm partners last June and received 1,873 responses, show that respondents' compensation ranged from less than $100,000 to slightly over, in one case, $6.1 million.
Average compensation was $640,000 or less than $843,000 reported as the average compensation of law firm partners by The Am Law 100 and The Am Law 200.
According to The Am Law Daily, the discrepancy could be because the Major Lindsey data has taken into account some partners of boutique law firms, which typically has 100 to 200 lawyers.
The survey reveals that, on average, respondents at law firms with less than 50 lawyers earned $388,000 while respondents at firms with more than 1,000 lawyers earned $881,000.
The compensation also appeared to be correlated to a firm's overall profitability. While the average compensation of respondents in firms with average profit per partner in the range of $250,000-$500,000 was $346,000, respondents who received average compensation of $1.6 million worked in firms which reported profit per partner of $2 million or more.
Other key findings include:
* Average compensation for all respondents was $640,000. Equity partners averaged $811,000 in compensation versus $336,000 for non-equity partners.
* Respondents in New York earned the most among the eleven cities surveyed with average compensation ($938,000) 155 percent more than Seattle, which ranked at the bottom.
* Only 22 percent of respondents in New York were very satisfied with their pay compared to 29 percent of respondents in Houston and San Francisco, where average compensation was 704,000 and $667,000 respectively.
* Compensation satisfaction depended a lot on the practice areas. For instance, 23 percent of corporate partners, who received $759,000 on average, said they were very satisfied while only 15 percent of respondents in labor and employment practice, who on average received $470,000, said they were very satisfied.
* IP partners, who received average compensation of $601,000, were most likely to classify themselves as very satisfied
* 40 percent of respondents attributed their lack of compensation satisfaction to cronyism, which represented a greater percentage than all other specifically enumerated reasons combined.