Paralegals' Pay Rises Despite Lower Billing Rates for Their Work, According to 2013 ALM/IPMA Survey

Thu May 30, 2013 9:30am EDT

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NEW YORK, May 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hourly base pay continues to rise for paralegal and litigation support positions in both law firms and law departments this year despite a decrease in the rates at which law firms bill their work to clients, according to the just-released ALM/IPMA Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals and Managers, 2013 Edition.

The survey, conducted by ALM Legal Intelligence, a leading source of business intelligence for the legal profession, in partnership with the International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA), tracks compensation, billing rates and billable hours. The 298 participating law firms and law departments reported on 8,245 paralegal, litigation support and docketing positions for the annual survey, which has been conducted since 2002.

Key survey findings included the following:

  • The number of organizations granting salary increases in the past year is back to 2011 levels. Increases were reported at 86.3% of organizations, down from 91.5% in 2012. For 2013, the average expected increase for paralegals is 3% for both exempt and non-exempt paralegal positions.
  • The rates that law firms charge clients for paralegals services are down about 5% overall compared to 2012. The biggest drop was for Paralegal Supervisor/Coordinator, down 17% from 2012 to $206 in 2013. Charges for Case Manager services, however, rose 10% to $265.
  • The highest paid law firm positions in 2013 are Litigation Support/Technology/eDiscovery Manager at $79.41 per hour, up from $77.72 in 2012, and Paralegal Director at $73.48, up from $67.73. Among law departments, Paralegal Director is the top title at $60.74 per hour, followed by Litigation Support Project Manager at $57.42.
  • Paralegals without management duties saw their average hourly base increase $2.50 per hour at law firms to $35.98, from $33.49 in 2012. Their colleagues at law departments saw virtually no change in their hourly rate, currently at $31.46 from last year's $31.50.
  • Bonuses at law firms rose sharply on average for Paralegal Directors to $16,149 in 2013 from $13,325 last year, and Case Managers were up to $8,267 from $6,297. Paralegal bonuses fell slightly to $3,426 from $3,511. Among law departments, Paralegals' average bonuses fell to $5,835 from $6,194 in 2012.

To purchase a copy of the survey, visit www.almlegalintel.com/Surveys/ParalegalComp. IPMA members or organizations with IPMA members may be eligible for a discount and should phone 888-770-5647 to order.

About ALM Legal Intelligence

ALM Legal Intelligence offers detailed business information for and about the legal industry, focused on the top U.S. and international law firms. The division's online research Web service, www.almlegalintel.com, provides subscribers with direct, on-demand access to ALM Legal Intelligence's extensive database of surveys, rankings and reports related to law firms and the legal industry. The site also includes an online store where non-subscribers can, on an individual basis, purchase and download preformatted individual law firm reports, research reports and selected current-year survey data. ALM Legal Intelligence is a division of ALM.

About the IPMA

The International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA), founded in 1984 as the Legal Assistant Management Association, promotes the development, professional standing and visibility of paralegal management professionals and consists of members throughout the United States and Canada as well as parts of Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. More information on the IPMA can be found at www.paralegalmanagement.org.

About ALM

ALM is a global leader in specialized business news and information. Trusted reporting delivered through innovative technology is the hallmark of ALM's award-winning media properties, which include Law.com (www.law.com), The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and The New York Law Journal. Headquartered in New York City with 16 offices worldwide, ALM brands have been serving their markets since 1843. For more information, visit www.alm.com.

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CONTACT: Media Contact:
         Fred Rackmil
         Rackmil Associates
         212.412.0044 or fred@rackmil.com