Solo/Small Firm Survey: How Lawyers Spend Their Time and the Money They Make

One of the most striking findings of the survey (which covered firms of less than 30 attorneys) is how they spend their time.

Extract of article by Sharon Nelson, Esq.

One of the most striking findings of the survey (which covered firms of less than 30 attorneys) is how they spend their time. Small firm attorneys spend just 61 percent of their time practicing law. Solos spend barely more than half their time, 55 percent, practicing law. The larger the firm, the more time they devote to practicing law. Lawyers at firms of 11-29 attorneys spend 69 percent of their time practicing law.

While striking, this makes sense to me – the more lawyers, the more people there are to share management tasks.

For the lawyers surveyed, when they are not practicing law, the rest of their time is taken up by meeting or speaking with clients (12 percent of their time overall), managing the firm (11 percent), administrative tasks (10 percent), and growing the firm and marketing activities (6 percent). There is a reverse correlation between firm size and time spent with clients: the smaller the firm, the more time a lawyer spends with clients. Solos spend 16 percent of their time with clients, while those in 11-29 lawyer firms spend 8 percent.

Roughly two-thirds of solos have annual revenues under $200,000, with 28 percent under $100,000. Three percent of solos have revenues of $600,000 to $1 million, and none bring in more than that. No firm in the 11-29 lawyer range has less than $1 million in revenue. A third have revenue of $1 million to $5 million, a third have revenue over $5 million, and a third do not say.

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