2020 Partner Compensation Survey - Major, Lindsey & Africa


In the summer of 2020, Major, Lindsey & Africa launched its 2020 Partner Compensation Survey in partnership with Acritas (part of Thomson Reuters). The Survey, which was sent independently by Acritas to almost 50,000 law firm partners in AmLaw 200-size firms across the United States, was the sixth in a series of groundbreaking, biennial surveys begun by MLA in 2010.

Given the enormous changes brought about this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Survey also included several new questions relating to the pandemic’s effects on partners’ draws, base compensation, bonuses and capital contributions. However, mindful of the increased time pressures faced by partners as a result of the pandemic, we shortened other aspects of the 2020 Survey to make it easier to complete, with a greater focus on core metrics.

Key findings include:

  • Average compensation for all partners was $1,054,000, up 10% from 2018 ($962,000). Median compensation has also increased since 2018 ($625,000 to $675,000).
  • Male partners continue to significantly outpace female partners in originations. Male partners reported average originations of $3,116,000, representing a 2% gain over 2018. Female partners, however, after posting an 8% decrease in originations between 2016 and 2018, reported a 19% increase, with average originations of $2,102,000.
  • The disparity in compensation among cities continues to be pronounced. Average total compensation ranged from a low of $650,000 in Atlanta to a high of $1,658,000 in Palo Alto/Silicon Valley and $1,639,000 in New York.
  • 37% of partners do not provide a standard discount off their hourly billing rate. Of those who do, the majority give a discount of 15% or less. Only 9% of all partners provide a discount above this figure.

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