Good health and increasing wealth for the private sector of the U.S. law industry are predicted for 2006 in a newly released annual salary forecast from Robert Half Legal.

Nationwide, average starting pay for legal professionals — attorneys, law firm administrators, paralegals, librarians and clerks — is expected to rise 6.1 percent across the board this year, according to the report. This year’s estimation is almost double the 3.4 percent rise for 2005, a year in which salaries rose as modestly as during the previous two years, according to Maura Winson Mann, a northeast regional manager for Robert Half Legal.