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Salary Predictions



Average starting salaries for legal professionals in the United States are expected to rise 6.1 percent in 2006, according to the just-released Robert Half Legal 2006 Salary Guide. This compares with starting salary increases of 3.4 percent forecast this time last year

According to Robert Half Legal research, average starting salaries for attorneys are expected to rise 5 percent in 2006. The position that will see the biggest increase in base compensation is that of licensed attorney with 4 to 9+ years of experience at a small to midsize law firm (10-35 attorneys). The average annual salary will be from $72,000 to $128,000, an 8.5 percent increase over last year. First-year associates at those same firms will see starting salaries rise 7.9 percent to the range of $49,500 to $74,000. Their counterparts at large law firms (75+ attorneys) will earn between $91,250 to $123,500 per year, a 6.8 percent increase from 2005 projections

Corporate attorneys will see average compensation gains of 8.5 percent over 2005 projections. Salaries for first-year associates will rise 9.9 percent, to the range of $55,750 to $83,500. Licensed lawyers with one to three years of experience will see increases in base compensation of 9.1 percent to between $67,000 and $103,250 annually.

Average starting salaries for legal administrators and office managers are expected to grow 5.6 percent. At small to midsize law firms, base compensation will range from $49,000 to $76,000 for these positions, a 6.8 percent gain over 2005 levels.

Legal secretaries can expect average starting salaries to increase 6 percent in 2006. The position of midlevel legal secretary at a small to midsize law firm will see the biggest gain in compensation. The average annual salary is anticipated to rise 7.4 percent to between $38,250 to $52,500 per year.

Other key findings from the Robert Half Legal 2006 Salary Guide include:
  • Average starting compensation for paralegals will increase 5.6 percent over 2006. At small to midsize law firms, salaries for junior paralegals with two to three years of experience are projected to rise 7.1 percent to between $31,750 and $40,000.

  • Compensation for case clerks with up to two years of experience at small to midsize law firms is expected to increase 8.1 percent to the range of $25,750 to $31,000 annually.

  • Law office librarians will see the biggest gain of all positions in the legal field with average starting salaries expected to increase 16 percent over 2005, to the range of $37,750 to $61,750 per year.

  • Office clerks will see average base compensation increase 8.5 percent, to the range of $24,250 to $33,000.


01-15-2006


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