Associate satisfaction survey

September 1st, 2011 by Altman Weil

The American Lawyer has released it latest Midlevel Associate Survey.  After surveying 5,000+ third-, fourth- and fifth-year associates, the survey found the lowest overall satisfaction score since 2004.  The reason for associates’ discontent is work load.

“Midlevel associates put their noses to the grindstone last year, and they didn’t like it one bit. While demand for legal services rose in the last year, staffing at the country’s biggest firms continued to lag behind prerecession levels. As a result, third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates had their most demanding year since the recession began. They averaged 2,037 billable hours in 2010, compared to 1,957 the previous year. While the increase was only 80 hours (or two weeks of work to most associates), it represented the highest number of associate billable hours since 2007.”

Altman Weil’s Eric Seeger commented that law firms continue to be cautious about hiring. “That’s a normal business response in a questionable economy,” says Seeger. “Firms are not going to be in a hurry to staff up to prerecession levels.” In the meantime, the good news is that associate compensation is up. 

“The average base salary for midlevel associates this year was the highest in five years and represented a 4 percent increase, from $178,164 last year to $185,319 this year. The average year-end bonus was $19,746, up 5 percent from last year’s average of $18,774.”

Read it at The American Lawyer

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