Large law firms were broadly able to boost billing rates by an average of nearly 4% last year while posting their highest realization rates since the Great Recession.

And it wouldn’t be surprising if law firms try to raise billing rates just as much or more in 2022, especially as inflation surges, elite law firms install another associate salary bump and the overall cost for top talent increases. Still, analysts and law firm leaders say big firms will have to navigate significant rate pressures, including clients’ own anxieties about inflation.