Interesting Data Points from 2017 Counsellink Trends Report

There are quite a few interesting nuggets of information contained in the recently released 2017 Counsellink Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report.   Here are the pieces of information that stood out to us:

  • The blended hourly rate for matters - by practice area is a quick and easy benchmarking tool for both law departments and law firms to gut check hourly rates.  This, however, is not useful in determining whether you are receiving or providing value.
  • The largest 50 firms have billable rates that are 40% higher than the next tier of firms.  You have to wonder what the realization rates are for those firms with that kind of gap.
  • Law firms with over 750 lawyers had median hourly rates of $625 per hour.  Law firms with 50 or less lawyers had median hourly rates of $250 per hour.  Cost structure plays a large role in the divide.
  • For law firms looking to enter new markets, 6 cities had over 3.5% of year over year growth: Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.  And 5 states had over 6.5% year over year growth: Massachusetts, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Indiana.
  • The highest partner hourly rates were Mergers & Acquisitions at $634.
  • The lowest partner hourly rates were Insurance at $190.
  • Law firm consolidation by companies continues to increase via convergence programs.  62% of companies have 10 firms or fewer.  But does convergence lead to lasting results or do fees start to creep up after year 1 or do service levels suffer after year 1?

We continue to be skeptical of the value that convergence for convergence sake provides.  We'd love to hear from you about your experiences with convergence programs or consolidation of law firms.  Please email us at