Our Annual Midlevel Associates Survey is based on responses from 7,259 third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates (classes of 2003, 2004 and 2005) from law firm offices around the globe. Any firm may participate in the survey, which is distributed during the spring.
We received responses from 42 percent of the 17,456 associates invited to take part. An individual firm's response rate is based on the number of returns out of the surveys distributed. A firm can choose which branch offices take part, so the number of eligible midlevels does not always reflect the size of midlevel classes firmwide.
All of the responses are used to calculate the overall averages. We did not include part-time associates for the average hours billed, hours worked, base salary, or bonus.
For a firm to be included in the National Rankings chart, we must receive 10 or more completed surveys from associates with the firm. This year, associates from 180 firms participated, and 157 of the firms returned the minimum 10 responses. A firm's national score is the average of 12 questions on the survey that summarize the firm's qualities, including the interest and satisfaction levels of work; benefits and compensation; relations between associates and partners; training and guidance; openness about finances and strategies; billable hours policy; the firm's attitude toward pro bono work; and the likelihood of the associate being at the firm in two years.
Firms designated as national, rather than anchored to a specific headquarters, have no more than 45 percent of their lawyers in any single region. Firms with an international designation have at least 40 percent of their lawyers working outside their home country. All others list the firm's headquarters as their location.
For a branch office to be included in the Results by City chart, we must receive five or more completed responses from associates in that office. The same 12 questions are calculated for individual cities or markets to determine branch scores and rankings. Additional firmwide results as well as city rankings for additional markets will appear on our Web site, americanlawyer.com. Requests to be included next year, and other questions, may be directed to email@example.com.