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Bar News - December 17, 2014

Preliminary Results of NH Bar Survey Show Income Differences


Click on the images above to view a PDF of each chart.
Conducted online this fall, the 2014 Economics of Law Practice survey was designed to provide data that will be helpful to NHBA members as they set fees, hire staff, search for jobs and negotiate other forms of compensation.

The bar association has received an initial report with preliminary findings prepared by a national survey firm that has conducted similar surveys for a number of bar associations nationwide. That report is now under review, and a full report will be forthcoming. The two charts on this page provide just a glimpse of the data that will soon be available to all members.

Preliminary income figures track income by years of experience and by gender. Additional details will be posted at on these figures, including the distribution of reported incomes by percentile, and by different areas within private practice.

In addition to providing data on income and billing rates from private practice attorneys, the final report will contain information related specifically to public sector and in-house counsel.

The survey also posed questions regarding expenses, salaries paid to law office staff, and use of technology that will be compared to answers from previous surveys conducted by the NH Bar Association.

The survey results will also contain information on the prevalence and amount of student debt among NH Bar members, as well as the median and mean monthly payments of those with outstanding debt.

The survey findings will be released in a series of modules over the next few months, accompanied by comparative data and analysis. Arthur Greene, a NH lawyer and practice management consultant, and Dennis Delay, a local economist, are assisting the NH Bar Association in reviewing and analyzing the findings.

2014 NHBA Economics of Law Survey Highlights
Who Answered the Survey?

More than 740 attorneys answered at least part of the survey, including 505 private practitioners and 236 attorneys in non-private practice. While the survey was open to all, invitations were specifically sent to approximately 3,500 active-status, in-state members; only 4 percent of the respondents were from out of state.

  • 70 percent were members in private practice, either in firms or as solo practitioners.
  • 27 percent identified as solo practitioners (some may employ attorneys).
  • 18 percent were government attorneys
  • 12 percent were in-house counsel
Practice Area Income

Top three practice areas by respondentsí annual income in 2013, reporting the 25th percentile (lowest paid group), median, and 95th percentile (highest paid)

25th percentile
95th percentile
Trial practice (not PI)
Medical malpractice
Intellectual property

The three lowest paid practice areas, according to respondents (25th percentile, median, 95th percentile):

25th percentile
95th percentile
General practice
Consumer law
Family law

(Responses include both full- and part-time attorneys.)

Hourly Billing Rates

Here are selected median, low and top percentile rates for private practitioners by region:

Region 1 (Carroll, Coos, Grafton, Sullivan)
25th percentile: $175
Median: $200
95th percentile $300

Region 2 (Belknap, Cheshire, Merrimack, Strafford)
25th percentile: $195
Median: $225
95th percentile $350

Region 3 (Hillsborough, Rockingham)
25th percentile: $200
Median: $250
95th percentile $375

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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