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The 12th annual Going Rate survey isn’t a scientific study of hourly rates. It is, instead, an anecdotal cross section of what lawyers in the metro Atlanta area-and a few towns outside it-charge for their services. This year’s survey contains hourly rates for 378 lawyers, 69 paralegals and 31 other support staffers, all working in Georgia. It also contains hourly rates for legal professionals practicing outside the state or in some cases outside the country at 20 law firms. In addition, it offers hourly rates for accountants and financial consultants from 12 local and five out-of-state firms. The survey contains rates for firms of various sizes-from solo practitioners to those with more than 1,000 attorneys — and for lawyers with widely varying levels of experience. Most of this year’s numbers were gathered from Chapter 11 filings in the Northern District U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Daily Report looked at 125 Chapter 11 cases filed in 2001, and at about 20 ongoing cases filed in earlier years that contained fee petitions with 2001 rates. Though most of the data comes from bankruptcy cases, the hourly rates published here come from lawyers in virtually all practice areas. The most well represented practice areas are bankruptcy, insolvency and creditors’ rights (27 percent); litigation (14 percent); corporate, securities, and mergers and acquisitions (12 percent); and real estate (8 percent). Because the U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires these attorneys to attest that they are charging their “usual and customary” hourly rates for the type of service they perform during the pendency of a bankruptcy proceeding, the data are considered reliable. Any discounts or premiums must be declared in the fee application for the court to assess. During the course of a year, lawyers change their rates, their firms and their job titles. This means that some of the lawyers listed here may be practicing at a new firm, or may have changed status within their firms, for example moving from associate to partner with a commensurate increase in fees. Also, some firms listed here may have changed their names because of a break-up, merger or other reason.

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