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Miami Big Firm Partners Report High Compensation but Low Job Satisfaction Survey Says

Dylan Jackson LAW.COM

The average compensation for lawyers in Miami surpassed the national average last year, according to a new survey by Major, Lindsey & Africa. Miami partners reported a 10 percent increase in yearly compensation, from $847.000 to $937,000, whereas the average compensation nationally went from $855,000 to $877,000, the survey said.

The study covered the period from September 2017 through August 2018.

For the study, Major, Lindsey & Africa researchers surveyed 1,390 partners nationwide. Respondents were asked 30 questions on several topics, including primary practice area, gender, firm size, ethnicity, total compensation and satisfaction. The report broke down responses by city, although Miami had among one of the lowest partner response rates, (2 percent), making it “difficult to draw meaningful conclusions,” according to the report’s authors.

Miami partners also reported a 17 percent increase in annual billable hours, from 1,508 to 1,766. Billing rates took a small 1 percent jump, from $652 in 2016 to $658. Partners nationwide reported an average 5 percent jump in billing rates, from $685 to $718.

Satisfaction rates for Miami partners are either the lowest, or among the lowest, in the country, according to the survey. An estimated 10 percent of partners said they are “very satisfied” with their job, and 13 percent said they are very satisfied with their compensation. In Minneapolis, where partners reported the lowest compensation, 30 percent said they were very satisfied with their job and compensation. Nationally, satisfaction rates averaged 22 percent for 2017 and 31 percent for 2016.

Other major findings include a national 53 percent pay gap between male and female partners. While male partners take home an average $959,000 in compensation each year, women reported an average salary of $627,000. The gap extends to billing rates, with female partners reporting an average of $650 and males reporting an average of $736 (a year over year increase of 2 percent and 5 percent respectively).

Unsurprisingly, New York partners boast the highest salaries — nearly $1.5 million on average, with Silicon Valley coming in second at $1.2 million a year. On the low end of the pay scale are cities such as Minneapolis and Seattle, with average annual salaries of $539,000 and $637,000 respectively. Between practice areas, labor and employment partners reported the lowest average compensation at $681,000, while corporate partners reported the highest, nearly $1.2 million annually.

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