10-Year Partner Compensation Survey


Since 2010, Major, Lindsey & Africa has been conducting a biennial survey of law firm partner compensation to gain an understanding of not only the ways law firm partners are compensated but also the differences in compensation structures. 

The 10-year retrospective, fielded in conjunction with legal market intelligence and research specialists Acritas, shows that law firm partners’ compensation has increased more than 38% on average over the past decade; however, these gains have not been uniform. Equity partners saw a 40% uptick in pay over the past decade, while non-equity partner compensation has remained relatively stagnant, increasing only 10% over the same period.

Other highlights of the survey included:

  • On average, lateral partners earned 20% to 30% more than their non-lateral counterparts. Female partners in particular saw a more significant impact to their compensation upon making a lateral move, with their median pay increasing by 40%.


  • Partners are generally satisfied with their level of compensation. However, slightly more than half would be willing to sacrifice a portion of their pay for more time off or a reduction in hours or other perks. Additionally, equity partners reported higher satisfaction with their compensation than non-equity partners, and female partners were more likely than male partners to be dissatisfied with their compensation.

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