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More Than The Holiday Blues: How Your Firm Can Combat Employee Anxiety & Depression

Thanksgiving sparks the beginning of family get-togethers, year-end deadlines, and, as a result, mental health concerns.

Considering this contentious, recent election coincides with the arrival of holidays already associated with anxiety, stress, and drinking way too much, it’s important to discuss how your law firm or business will handle behavioral health problems of its employees this season.

The American Bar Association (ABA) recently partnered with Hazelden and reported findings from its study on the rates of substance use and other mental health concerns among lawyers in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. While they may not surprise you, the results can help law firm managers better prepare for a potentially dicey December.

One of the more interesting takeaways was that younger lawyers are at higher risk for abusing alcohol. Apparently attorneys in the first 10 years of their practice experience the highest rates of problematic use (28.9%), followed by attorneys practicing for 11 to 20 years (20.6), reports Above The Law blog.

It goes without saying that anxiety and stress are highly correlated with alcohol abuse. And, the study somberly states, “ubiquity of alcohol in the legal professional culture certainly demonstrates both its ready availability and social acceptability, should one choose to cope with their mental health problems in that manner,” (via ATL).

It’s easy to think that symptoms of these behavioral problems would be evident. If younger associates are starting to smell of alcohol or miss deadlines, certainly that’s cause for concern.

However, extreme reactions to stress and anxiety can happen under the radar. Take, for instance, a sad story about a law graduate who recently committed suicide after failing the California Bar Exam.

The graduate’s parents issued a statement. In addition to expression surprise, they implored other students to reach out for support.

“Our son Brian Christopher Grauman unexpectedly took his own life on Friday evening 18 Nov 2016, after learning he did not pass the California Bar Exam. We are still trying to understand such an extreme reaction by Brian. We know he loved studying and debating law, and he was intently focused on fulfilling his dream of practicing law in the courtroom….”

“It appears the idea of repeating the last 7 months of his life to again prepare for the Bar Exam and then once more nervously await months for the results was too much for him. We deeply regret that he did not take the time to talk to anyone after learning his exam results.”

In the ideal world, a law firm manager can sense his or her associate’s breaking point. But, in reality, the human emotional state can be fragile and unpredictable.

That’s why it’s really important to bring these issues out into the open and provide a forum for your employees to express their anxieties, desires, and concerns.

Here’s how you can do it.

First, survey your associates to find out how prevalent these issues are within your firm. Ensure its anonymity. Second, confirm with your healthcare provider that your firm’s employees have affordable access to counseling and other mental health services. Circulate these options in a firm-wide memo.

Finally, make it clear to your office that you take mental health seriously by offering preventative activities, such as gym memberships, gift certificates to local spas, bring in a masseur this month for 15-minutes massages, or invite a yoga teacher to offer classes before work for a week to introduce associates to the sport.

Consider making wellness a priority and outlet your employees’ happiness, not happy hour. You won’t just survive this holiday season—you’ll thrive.

 

-WB

For more ideas about how to generate a productive, thriving law firm, learn more from The Center for Competitive Management’s webinars here.

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New Reports Show Compensation Is Key To Happiness For Cubs & In-House Counsel

Lawyers and bear lovers, come on down!

The latter, at least, is a phrase most people will remember from the iconic television game show The Price Is Right. Former host, Bob Barker, has fully embraced his second calling as an animal rights advocate.

Barker is providing $50,000 to a Manitoba couple to build the Canadian province’s first black bear cub rehabilitation center on their property, according to CBC News.

The couple, Judy and Roger Stearns, plan to take in orphaned cubs and care for the creatures until they reach a size and weight appropriate for re-release into the wild.

“My husband and I were going to be building the facility with our own funds,” said Judy Stearns on Wednesday (via CBC News).

“Now it can be that much larger and more complex, and we can help the bears even more. It’s fabulous.”

The center will be able to hold about 10 cubs in total. By caring for the cubs at the center, Judy and Roger Stearns, along with Barker’s financial assistance, will help spare them from being sent to a zoo or, worse yet, killed in an animal shelter.

“A life in captivity for bears is a life filled with suffering, so giving orphaned bear cubs a second chance at a life in the wild is a campaign worth supporting,” said Barker.

A life in captivity—not just for animals, but also attorneys—is what many in-house counsel fear these days, according to a recent survey.

Another Bob Barker—this one, a partner at the legal recruiting firm BarkerGilmrore—is looking to improve the lives of others. Instead of bears, he looks at barristers, conducting surveys that ask in-house counsel to compare themselves to firm lawyers by asking them to rate their pay relative to their “peers.”

According to Barker—the lawyer, not the animal-lover—respondents were free to interpret that word “peer” however they saw fit.

And, with that in mind, although salaries for in-house attorneys are on the rise, increasing by 4.2 percent across all industries, a surprising 44 percent of respondents considered their compensation, including cash bonuses and equity awards, “below or significantly below that of their peers,” reports Bloomberg Law.

In fact, roughly 40 percent said they were likely to consider a new position next year because of compensation issues, despite the fact that their career boasts a wage rate rising well above the 2015 national inflation rate of 0.1 percent.

Alas, corporate counsel can be such a bear. But, it doesn’t have to be.

The successful law firm manager knows how to:

  • Engage Employees
  • Promote Their Strengths
  • Motivate Them to Work Together
  • Maximizing Your Resources in Your Team
  • Handle Conflict in Your Team

This means, finding what inspires workers to be more productive, whether it’s a pro-bono pet project or flexible vacation policy.

A successful manager knows the personality traits of each employee and therefore how to promote their strengths. Spend more time investigating a person’s past to identify the specific skills—technical writing, diligent research, bi-lingual—that they can use in the future.

Finally, a productive law firm is one that promotes teamwork. Proper organization of case matters, standardization of documentation, an understanding of technology and other legal resources, and delegating tasks to the appropriate staff member are easier said than done. But, with proper strategies and training, your law associates don’t have to belong to that 40 percent seeking other employment.

Take the Center for Competitive Management’s webinar, “The Successful Manager’s Guide to Managing A Team.

Jam-packed with key strategies, practical tips, and techniques used by today’s top managers, this must-read guide explores:

  • Identifying Team Objectives
  • Teams Are Made of People
  • Managing Individuals
    • Engagement Strategies
    • Understanding Individual Needs
    • Different Personality Types
  • Managing the Team
  • Get To Know the Team
  • Maximizing Your Resources in Your Team
  • Improving Competencies within the Team
  • Identifying Growth Opportunities and Capacity Constraints in the Team
  • Handling Conflict in Your Team
  • Managing Difficult Employees

One of your most important roles as a manager is to make sure that your people have the support, tools, and resources they need to do their jobs. This essential guide outlines those six steps needed to equip your team for success.

Just one more thing… Bob Barker reminding you: Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.

-WB

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Why Your Firm Should Fear Legal StartUps & How To Compete

Millennials, the group of tech-toting, flip-flop wearing adults born after 1980, have been the subject of eye-rolling. They’ve been stereotyped as expecting rewards just for participating and believing that spending long hours at the office is overrated.

Yet, legal professionals say that depiction as applied to their younger colleagues is wrong. In fact, they may work differently, taking full advantage of technology, but they’re smart and productive.

In fact, that may be why many of these young graduates interested in law are not going into law firms, at all. Millennials are forming legal start-ups that compete with both small and large, established firms in different ways.

In terms of small-firm competition, small start-up legal services companies can’t rely on a longstanding, loyal client base. Usually they must drive business, and small firms and start-ups will thus be competing among the same pool of potential customers.

Solo practitioners be wary, as well. New ideas, better comprehension of modern technology and a young mindset are assets to these start-up firms looking to represent similar start-ups in the business environment.

Take a look at your millennial competition:

1. Willing

“Founded by Eliam Medina and Rob Dyson, and backed by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley like Y Combinator, 500 Startups and Ashton Kutcher, Willing is looking not only to change trust and estates, but the entire death care industry. Willing lets your write a will for free in five minutes, plan your funeral and after life and then connects you with the right vendors,” reports Above The Law.

“Is Willing even a legal tech company, or are they simply using a free, automated legal service — will writing — as a way to get customers?”

Well, it’s not the first time that free services have been used to bait and hook customers on related paid services. It’s a tried and true business model, so firms beware.

2. UpCounsel

How does it work? Clients answer a few questions about their legal needs, get connected to relevant attorneys who make a proposal and budget, and then interact online to complete your case.

“Matt Faustman at UpCounsel is convinced that the law firm model is going to change and he just raised a cool $10M from Menlo Ventures to prove it,” wrote Above The Law.

There’s a lot to be said for a system that makes it easier and—ah hem—pleasant to work with a lawyer.

The two examples above (get more here) explain why small or solo-practice law firms might fear the new legal kids on the block, but what do large law firms have to lose?

Properly incentivizing and compensating this new generation of lawyers is essential for your firm’s profitability, retention and key to attracting like-minded clients. When you’re losing key talent to start-ups due to hourly flexibility, superior work-life balance, or other compensation, it’s time to pay attention.

With all this venture capital and private equity money being thrown around to legal services start-ups, don’t be surprised if millennials follow the (dollar) bill.

What can you do? Consider:

  • Specific non-monetary rewards that are certain to improve job satisfaction (flexible leave or work-at-home policies, for example)
  • Tiered compensation for new associates
  • Alternative compensation models (i.e., anything except the traditional partnership model, such as including first-year associates in the profit-sharing)
  • Reward achievements, not simply hours for attorneys at every level

Need more specific ideas? Take the Center for Competitive Management’s webinar “Compensating Millennial Associates: Customizing Compensation and Rewards for Increased Productivity and Firm Profitability,” on Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM Eastern.

This information-packed webinar explores real-life methods for embracing the goals, expectations and ambitions of today’s millennial associates, and how to ‘meet in the middle’ when it comes to compensating this new generation.

Plus, in just 75 minutes, you will learn:

  • Surprising attitudes millennial lawyers have about total compensation
  • Who millennial lawyers are, and how they differ from other generations in terms of pay
  • Common misconceptions and truths about millennials lawyers
  • Mentoring, evaluations, and feedback tips that emphasize professionalism and increase associate self-sufficiency
  • And more!

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What Law Firms Can Learn From A Career In Software Development About Retaining Employees

According to one attorney-turned-developer’s calculations, after 43 year of employment, at age 65, the software developer will have saved $2,102,010 by investing in a fourth of his take home pay minus student loans.

What’s the figure for an attorney? Almost a million dollars less than the software developer ($1,268,404).

So how did William Ha, former civil litigator, come to this conclusion?

First, an attorney starts his career later and with higher student debt—a lot higher. As a result, the take-home pay that an attorney is able to invest over the next 40 years is both lower and delayed.

Of course, Ha acknowledges that each job has an “X Factor” that accounts for non-monetary yields. For example:

“The lawyer can make partner at a rather large, making a base pay of say $1,000,000 a year, and the software developer can take a company public as an earlier employee if not CEO, cashing in on his own millions,” writes Ha.

There are a variety of unknowns that affect this calculation, but Ha believes that the software engineer still wins out. A software engineer gets paid a pretty penny for any side work she completes (and a lawyer is not allowed to offer the same services).

In addition, law firms cannot go public based on ABA Professional Rules. Furthermore, to maintain the professional independence of a lawyer, no lawyer or law firm can share legal fees with a non-lawyer, explains Ha in “Economics of Software Development v. The Practice of Law – A Rough Look at the Professions”.

So, whereas law firm behemoth, Baker and McKenzie, brings in $2.54 billion in revenue in 2014, with over 11,500 employees (roughly $173,000 per employee—if they can shares these legal fees), Facebook for the same year, brings in 12.466 billion with 6,337 employees, creating $1,700,000 per employee.

In software development, it certainly pays to work for “the man.” For lawyers, it pays to be partner.

Ha moved to Los Angeles after leaving civil litigation and worked for an iOS app developer (via ATL).

“There, I saw young people my age and younger 1) making a good salary, 2) having fun at work, 3) leaving on the dot at 5pm, and 4) not having to deal with a brutal job market. This was the first exposure to software development (aside from my preconceived notions). Is this real life? I wanted to be part of this somehow…”

He converted.

As a law firm manager, does that mean you should quit (and encourage young associates to quit) to join the ranks of Facebook employees?

No, not necessarily. What Ha points out is that so much of what makes a career “worthwhile” is (1) passion and interest in the field; and (2) lifestyle.

To retain your law firm associates, it’s important to remind them why they decided to become lawyers in the first place. Perhaps it was passion for the law. If so, allow your young associates to take on pro-bono cases that they’re passionate about.

If your young associates are keen on making partner, enroll them in business development courses. Encourage them to network at professional events or join legal associations. Host dinners for your community businesses and mentor your young associates in the art of wining and dining potential new clients.

Finally, if your associates are starting to burn out—much like Ha—provide more flexible hours or a more comfortable workplace. There are a variety of innovative workplace practices that your firm can implement that don’t cost a dime, but improve the morale and the retention rates of employees (read about some suggestions here).

When interviewing potential new associates, hiring partners asks hard questions about why these law school grads what to join the firm. But, it’s equally valuable to investigate why young talent is leaving.

A growing number of firms have created non-partnership/career associate tracks to address client’ demands for value. These associates work fewer hours, and are paid lower salaries than partner-track lawyers. So how then does the firm incentivize these lawyers?

Balancing compensation in a firm that embraces multiple associate tracks is tricky. Keeping non-partner and partner tier associates happy and committed to the firm requires a compensation plan that fairly reflects the efforts, hours and status of each.

Learn more about attracting, retaining and compensating career associates with an eye towards loyalty, fairness, and firm profitability in C4CM’s webinar “Re-inventing Associate Compensation: Pay Structures that Incentivize, Reward & Retain Non-Partner Track Attorneys” on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM Eastern.

You will learn how to:

  • Use creativity, rather than conformity as a criteria for non-salary rewards
  • Utilize proven methods leading firms are using to create firm-building bonus structures for these associates
  • Build associate loyalty and reduce turnover
  • Increase associate awareness of firm business when they are not tasked as rainmakers
  • Evaluate career associate performance in addition to hours

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Stop Monkeying Around! Court Says Chimps Not Human (& Why Your Employees May Need A Vacation)

Feeling trapped at work? You’re not the only one. Just talk to Tommy, the chimpanzee living in a cage in upstate Fulton County, New York.

The former entertainment chimp has been going stir-crazy for upwards of a decade, about when he was given to his current owner, according to the BBC. Unfortunately for him, this Thursday, a New York court ruled that Tommy did not have the same legal protections as a human and must remain in captivity.

And you thought you had it bad.

The decision was handed down on Thursday, after the animal rights group Nonhuman Rights Project sued Tommy’s owner last year claiming that chimps had similar characteristics to the humans and thus deserved basic rights. One of those rights includes freedom.

Chimps “possess complex cognitive abilities that are so strictly protected when they’re found in human beings,” Nonhuman Rights Project president Steven Wise told Reuters last year, according to the International Business Times.

“There’s no reason why they should not be protected when they’re found in chimpanzees.”

Caged chimps around the nation (or, at least, the State of New York) are saddened today by Judge Karen Peters ruling:

“So far as legal theory is concerned, a person is any being whom the law regards as capable of rights and duties… Needless to say, unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions.”

So, at roughly 40 years old, Tommy is trapped.

But you don’t have to be.

Law offices can feel sterile or stifling, which is why you need to get out once in awhile. Surveys find 40 percent of Americans leave three to seven days of vacation per year unused, according to the New York Times.

It’s time to break out of your cage. In fact, those Americans who do unchain themselves from their desks and decide to take regular vacations end up happier, say surveys.

A new Nielsen poll commissioned by Diamond Resorts International finds that 71 percent of American workers who regularly take vacations are satisfied with their jobs, according to the New York Times. Of those that do not take regular vacations, less than 50 percent report being satisfied with their jobs.

As a law firm manager, you should ensure that your employees and associates take their much-needed holiday hours. Rested, relaxed, and satisfied employees stay at firms longer and are more productive. Employees who take regular vacations have also have better overall job performance, writes OpenView (via Huffington Post).

Law firms are increasingly tightening their belts when it comes to salary and attorney partner-track promotion, so now is the time to provide compensation in other ways. If your firm can’t afford bonuses this year, try giving extra vacation days.

You’ll find that employees will return to work with better attitudes and even work longer hours as a result. Plus, a boost in office morale has no price tag.

However, every monkey needs a banana. You may find employees are reluctant to take time off. Employees sometimes feel that their employer does not really want them to leave the office, or that—in their absence—they will be replaced or made redundant.

This is why some companies have created oddly innovative incentives to push employees to take vacation, according to OpenView (via Huffington Post):

  • FullContact, a Denver Software company, pays employees $7,500 to go on vacation, disconnect entirely and not work at all.
  • Evernote gives employees a $1,000 to take off days in at least 1 week increments.
  • Netflix offers an unlimited vacation policy as long as employees get their work done.

If your firm can’t offer more days off, then consider implementing a telecommute policy. Sometimes just working from home can feel like a stay-cation.

In the end, companies need to find a policy that fits its unique corporate culture. Poll your associates to find out why, exactly, they’re not taking all of their vacation days off.

Sometimes the only bars that imprison us are the ones we put up ourselves.

Check out more creative ideas for employee compensation with C4CM’s audio course, “Associate Compensation: Leveraging Hybrid Methods that Combine Lockstep with Merit-Based Tiers.”

In just 75 minutes, our expert faculty will examine the key factors in associate compensation that contribute to firms staying competitive and profitable in this rapidly shifting environment, including:

  • Why change? How client demands are fueling the rapid fire changes to associate tracks
  • Details on the types of alternatives to pure lock-step compensation models and how these alternatives compensate associates
  • Ways to develop and manage meaningful criteria for promotions outside of lock-step
  • Crucial performance review criteria to include in your merit-based compensation system
  • Beyond compensation increases, what matters most to associates, mid-levels and partners
  • Where firms have failed when it comes to associate compensation overhauls and how to avoid their compensation mistakes

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What’s Your Firm’s Associate Compensation Model & Should You Change It?

Working as a first-year associate in a law firm used to be simple–painful, but simple. There was lengthy, tedious document review and paying your dues (literally and figuratively).

But today, the job has become much more complicated. Firms are dissatisfied with the traditional compensation model for younger associates and are looking to leverage more out of each one. Numerous law firms have completely thrown out the old hierarchical, lockstep model of associates and replaced it instead with a merit-based one.

Keeping your head down and listening to what the name partners tell you is no longer enough. Associates are now evaluated on going above and beyond, on “delivering legal excellence,” “driving client value” and “building a practice,” in the words of Seyfarth’s merit-based pay system.

“It takes the process off of autopilot, so we’re really dependent upon getting feedback from partners,” Laura Saklad, the chief lawyer development officer for Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, one of the first firms to ditch former lockstep models for associate pay, said to Law360.

“We have found that moving away from an automatic advancement system has actually created a greater buy-in among the partners for the need to give really substantive answers.”

Although this system of constant evaluation may seem stressful to associates, law firm managers believe merit-based pay not only improves performance and productivity, it also helps increase communication between associate levels.

“We’re putting a lot of energy into ensuring that we have a strong mentoring program in place and that mentoring conversations are happening in between reviews so associates are getting clear messages about where there are skill gaps and how to fill them,” Saklad said to Law360.

With these types of compensation systems, it’s impossible to simply dismiss a performance review or to forget to follow-up in a matter. Associates must make the grade in order to make the pay. This requires diligently listening to areas where your performance is weak and then making concerted efforts to improve those skills.

Although there appear to be many benefits to such a system, what are its downsides?

First, it certainly encourages competition, not comraderie among same-level associates. Second, it’s a more difficult system for larger firms. Finally, it may reward favoritism. Should an associate receive a lackluster review beause he or she has a less dynamic personality? Is there such a thing as a completely objective evaluator, and if not, should pay really be tied to such a subjective measure?

Reed Smith, the large Pittsburgh-based law firm, announced a similar restructuring of its policies with regard to associate performance and promotion, stating:

“The firm has revamped its associate model, doing away with associate classes based strictly on entry date in favor of three associate groups that will have formal training from the time they enter the firm until they are ready to be considered for partnership. . . . The goal of the program is to provide a road map for associates detailing the specific skills required at each of the newly created levels–junior, midlevel, and senior associates. Associates won’t be able to move to the next tier until they have met those requirements. Compensation will be tied to those competencies by 2011 as well.”

Changes in traditional associate compensation models are here to stay. The question is, in the land of billable hours and time constraints, do these law firms have the capabilities to successfully implement such large-scale, high-stakes training programs?

A lot is being blamed on the economic crisis. Will new associates ever be as profitable for the firm as they were before the economic downturn? The answer is yes. But, to return to pre-crisis levels of profitability, law firms need to adapt to the current situation. It involves new technology, new tools, new management, and new ways of motivating your employees.

Revamping the Associate Model for Max Profitability: Leveraging New Lawyers for Higher Per Partner Profits is an information-packed webinar that examines the strategic and financial implications of the changing associate model, and what law firms should do to stay competitive and profitable in this rapidly shifting environment.

Attend Wedesday, September 3, 2014, from 2pm to 3:15pm EST and explore current associate management trends, new compensation systems, and other key aspects of associate management that impact your firm’s bottom line:

  • Where we are today and what has changed
  • Emerging economic models and how they affect associate profitability
  • New profitability drivers for 2014 and beyond
  • Trends and changes to the associate management process
  • Real-life firm examples of how to monitor associate’s progress and performance
  • Best practices for handling the first two years
  • Methods to make the associate evaluation process matter more
  • Why versatility matters when it comes to associate advancement and how to build it in to your programs
  • Common associate communication snafus and how to fix them

Trust experts like The Center for Competitive Management when you’re looking to upgrade your law firm management style. 

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The 2015 Vault Law Firm 100 Ranking & What It Takes To Get To The Top

The 2015 Vault Law Firm 100 rankings are in. Considering this economy, it’s not surprising that litigation powerhouses are taking the lead.

Still fighting for the No. 1 and No. 2 spot, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz takes the lead with Cravath, Swaine & Moore following suit. Although both firms excel at far more practice areas than litigation—including corporate, tax, and trusts and estates—lawsuits seem to be driving America or, at the very least, this list of top ranking firms.

Take, for example, Quinn Emanuel and Boies Schiller, who continued to ascend in the Vault Law 100 this year.

Quinn Emanuel first reached the Top 40 ranks in 2009, Top 25 in 2010. This year it is No. 15 this year. Renowned for its trial skills and ranked No. 1 for General Commercial Litigation in Vault’s 2014 rankings, survey respondents called the firm “innovative,” “intense,” “feared” and the “best litigation firm in the U.S.,” according to Above The Law Blog (ATL).

Quinn Emanuel’s litigation expertise is diverse, taking on all areas of litigation: products liability, appellate litigation, all types of class actions, clients can take their pick.

And, with lawsuits on the rise—patents, securities, employees, class action suits—there’s no wonder litigation firms are leaders of the pack.

All this just to say that even one-trick ponies aren’t just one-trick ponies; they have two, three, four practice areas up their sleeve.

And while the major New York-based firms continue to dominate, smaller firms can still make a name for themselves via innovation.

According to the Vault (and ATL), here are the Top 15 firms for 2015:

  1. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  3. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  4. Sullivan & Cromwell
  5. Davis Polk & Wardwell
  6. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
  7. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
  8. Weil, Gotshal & Manges
  9. Kirkland & Ellis
  10. Latham & Watkins
  11. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher
  12. Covington & Burling
  13. Boies, Schiller & Flexner
  14. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
  15. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

The full list is available here.

As litigants are increasingly in demand, it is no surprise that litigation support is increasingly desirable, as well.

A recent survey by ALM Legal Intelligence reveals that the hourly base pay for paralegals continues to rise. Salaries for paralegals, litigation support and docketing workers at both law firms and law departments, according to the ALM/IPMA Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals and Managers, 2014 Edition, released yesterday, are all implicated.

Conducted annually since 2002, the 2014 survey included 298 law firms and law departments reporting on over 9,500 paralegal, litigation support, and docketing positions.

According to their findings, at law firms, the highest hourly-pay positions are Litigation Support/Technology/eDiscovery Manager at $79.66 and Paralegal Director at $76.42. Among law departments, Paralegal Supervisor was the highest paid position at $70.32, followed by Litigation Support/Technology/eDiscovery Director/ Manager at $65.35, reports the ALM.

Law firm paralegals, the largest group reported, increased average hourly base pay to $36.57 from $35.98 in 2013, while law department paralegal pay jumped to $34.30 from $31.46.

Law firm bonuses on average increased most noticeably for Paralegal Directors at $18,421, compared to $16,149 the prior year.

Specialists/Industry Analysts bonuses rose to $6,939 from $5,749. Law firm billing rates for paralegal positions increased an average of 4 percent.

If you’re a law firm manager, should you care?

Well, it may be that the salaries of your first-year associates look a lot more attractive as litigation support than ever before. And, your first “innovative” act as a climbing-the-ranks firm might be reevaluating traditional legal positions and finding alternative arrangements, instead.

Competition to the top has never been fiercer. Pony up!

Are all your employees accurately classified as exempt or non-exempt? How can you be sure?

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are being forced to pay out big bucks for misclassifying employees and failing to pay proper overtime. In fact, the number of FLSA-related lawsuits in federal courts has spiked by 250% in the past decade.

Is your company at risk? The DOL estimates that nearly 70 percent of employers are not in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)!

Introducing FLSA Compliance: Your Practical Guide to Overtime Exemptions and Wage and Hour Law – a no-fluff, plain-English report you can to master the ins and outs of this complex law.

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