Small law firms have their own unique set of challenges. The Small Law Firm Economic Survey, a special report derived from data contained in the Survey of Law Firm Economics, is specifically designed for law firms with 20 or fewer attorneys, with the intention of aiding them in improving their economics and management.
The Survey contains one of the most complete, accurate, and up-to-date sets of economic statistics and financial data available about law firms. Published annually, the Survey helps you measure your firm against comparable firms and will provide a meaningful baseline against which to assess your firm''s performance and profitability.
This study is undertaken annually. An invitation to participate is sent to a selected group of law firms. These are firms which have had prior contact with ALM Legal Intelligence through its survey products. In addition, past participants and purchasers of this survey are invited to provide data. Invitations to participate are also sent to select members of the Association of Legal Administrators and various other law firm leadership mailing lists.
Only U.S. law firms are included in this study. Furthermore, only information furnished by sole practitioners and by law firms with 20 or fewer lawyers is contained in this report. ALM Legal Intelligence, in the Survey of Law Firm Economics, publishes information on larger firms. Information was collected in several areas for each lawyer who worked at the participating law firm in the previous year. Earnings and billable hours information is included only on individuals who worked full-time for the entire year.
Because a number of the respondents are professional corporations/associations, the owner-employees of these firms may receive substantial benefits, which are not reported as taxable earnings. In partnerships and proprietorships, these benefits are attributable to each individual''s income and are deducted by the partner or proprietor personally, subject to internal revenue code restrictions. Such benefits include pension fund contributions and insured medical benefits. Other benefits, such as life and disability insurance, are included in partner income and proprietor income but are not deductible in personal tax returns.
The Survey, therefore, reports “total compensation” as the aggregate of cash income and the following benefits: qualified retirement plan contributions (vested or unvested), medical reimbursement, group insurance benefits, employer''s share of social security, workers'' compensation and unemployment compensation. Not included are auto expenses, continuing education expenses and professional dues.