Special Counsel releases 2018 law firm salary guide

November 03, 2017

Law firms are going beyond base salaries to attract and retain talent

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—November 03, 2017 — Special Counsel, a leader in the staffing and recruitment of lawyers and legal professionals, today released its 2018 Salary Guide, which includes comprehensive national and local salary data, as well as up-to-date job descriptions for the most sought-after legal positions at law firms, to help employers and candidates navigate today’s job market trends.

According to the 2018 Salary Guide, there is increased demand and competition for top legal talent. With employee attraction and retention top-of-mind, firms are increasing associate salaries and base pay to match competitors. Legal professionals can also look forward to more perks, like signing bonuses, relocation reimbursement and unique benefits. For example, Special Counsel found that:

  • The top non-traditional benefits are pet insurance, back-up or emergency child care, and credit union or loan access
  • 35% of attorney placements are relocations and most involve a bonus or reimbursement of expenses
  • The average signing bonus is $27,000, while relocation bonuses range from $5,000 to $10,000

"For legal professionals, a competitive salary remains one of the most important factors when considering a job offer,” said Laurie Chamberlin, president, Special Counsel. “However, to win over top talent, employers must consider the attractiveness of their total compensation and benefits package. Many companies are getting creative by incorporating out-of-the-box incentives, realizing it may give them an edge over the competition in securing the most talented candidates."

The figures in the 2018 Salary Guide are based on survey results collected first-hand by Special Counsel from over 5,000 respondents in various law firm positions from 38 major cities across the country. Law firm employees nationwide provided insight into their current base salary and total compensation figures. To further validate the data, each office in the Special Counsel branch network thoroughly reviewed the data to ensure local accuracy. This comprehensive approach results in more regionally accurate data than the public data that is found in other salary guides.

To download a copy of the 2018 Salary Guide, please click here. For more details on defining salaries and understanding trends in the job market, contact a local Special Counsel representative.