COMPENSATION

  • Jul 4, 2017
    July 2017 - Compensation growth

    July 2017 - Compensation growth

    Lawyer salaries have seen an increase overall, but so have the expectations of those doing the hiring.

    Prospects appear to be somewhat brighter for lawyers as law firms and legal departments settle into 2017, with many looking to add to their complement of lawyers while also indicating slight increases in compensation. But the environment in which today’s new lawyer works is more demanding than ever.

  • Jul 4, 2016
    July 2016 - It's not all about money

    July 2016 - It's not all about money

    If money talks, then its voice got a little softer for associates in 2016, according to the results of Canadian Lawyer’s annual Compensation Survey.

    Despite a 12-per-cent bump in salary to $73,000 from $65,000, the average new call still rakes in significantly less than the $80,000 peak set in 2014, according to the survey. Meanwhile, for lawyers two to six years out, median wages were largely static compared with 2015, and in fact slight cuts were more likely than incremental boosts to pay packets.

  • Jul 6, 2015
    July 2015 - Bell starting to toll on billable hour

    July 2015 - Bell starting to toll on billable hour

    The bells may have finally started tolling for the billable hour, according to the results of Canadian Lawyer’s 2015 Compensation Survey.

    Already threatened by the spectre of alternative business structures and a wave of upstart law firms with innovative business models, the billable hour has also come under fire from access to justice advocates and even judges in recent times. Now our survey suggests law firms are looking elsewhere when it comes to measuring the work product of their lawyers.

  • Jul 7, 2014
    July 2014 - On the upswing

    July 2014 - On the upswing

    Associate salaries are back on the upswing, but new lawyers may have to do more for their money in the future, judging by the results of Canadian Lawyer’s 2014 Compensation Survey. After two straight years of decline, first-year associates saw a significant 21-per-cent bump in salary, with the median hitting $80,000 in this year’s survey, up from $66,000 in 2013. That’s the highest level since we started compiling the survey in this format in 2010.

    For in-house counsel called last year, the jump in the national average was a more modest, but still generous, 11 per cent, to $89,000 from $80,000. Grouped by year of call, new lawyers in every category saw average wages rise over last year’s survey, from one year out, to more than eight years out.

  • Jul 2, 2013
    July 2013 - The expectation gap

    July 2013 - The expectation gap

    The growing gap between the “unrealistic” pay expectations of associates and the salaries law firms are prepared to offer them is highlighted in Canadian Lawyer’s 2013 Compensation Survey. Among the survey’s 553 respondents, the average salary for a first year associate has fallen to $66,000 — a nine-per-cent drop from last year, which had already seen a five per cent year-on-year decline. At the same time, a slightly greater number of firms are setting annual billable hour targets for associates: 49 per cent of respondents, up from last year’s 44 per cent. Targets range from 650 to 1,850 annual billable hours, with an average just over 1,400.

    The figures come amid much industry discussion about the need to rein in compensation packages for more junior lawyers. Asked about the areas of greatest dispute in establishing compensation rates, one respondent said: “Unrealistic new lawyers.” Another complained about “associates not billing enough,” while another put it as “paying associates higher and higher wages in return for them earning the law firm less and less.”

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