Atlanta lawyers charge an average of $293 per hour, ranking the city at No. 7 for pricey hourly rates out of the country’s 10-largest metropolitan areas.
New York lawyers average the highest hourly rate, at $344, while Philadelphia lawyers are the lowest, charging $245.
That goes for users of Clio project management software at least. Clio used aggregated and anonymized 2016 data from 60,000 subscribers to its cloud-based practice management software (both lawyers and nonlawyers), plus a survey of 2,915 Clio users and non-users, for its latest Legal Trends Report.
Georgia lawyers are billing at $253 an hour on average, the report found, but are only spending 26 percent of their workday on billable matters. That’s slightly lower than the national figure of 29 percent, according to Clio’s data. And 71 percent of its users nationally work eight or more hours per day.
For the roughly one-fourth of their time that they’re spending on client work, Georgia lawyers were able to bill for 82 percent of it, matching the national average, and then collect on 88 percent of their bills. That’s slightly higher than the national collection rate of 86 percent, but still only works out to Georgia lawyers getting paid for 19 percent of their actual work time. (The company broke out this data by state, but not by city.)
Clio’s users are mostly solo, small and mid-sized firms, with a “growing number of larger firms,” according to a Clio spokesperson, Sasha Perrin.
Outside of client work, lawyers are spending one third of their time on business development and almost half their time on administrative tasks, Clio found.
They are also spending time dealing with interruptions, according to the company’s survey. Fully 55 percent of the respondents said they are interrupted six or more times every day—and 25 percent said they’re derailed more than 10 times.
While Georgia lawyers billed $253 an hour on average, other timekeepers averaged $133 an hour. The average national rates were $260 per hour for lawyers and $149 per hour for nonlawyers. (West Virginia’s lawyers billed the lowest, on average, at $131 per hour.)
Lawyers in practice areas such as traffic, criminal and immigration law tended to charge flat rates instead of billing by the hour—and many lawyers use a mix of flat fees and hourly rates—Clio reported that 84 percent of its users’ fees were hourly.
Clio supplied average billing rates by practice area at the national level, but not by state. Rates ranged from bankruptcy ($320), corporate ($290), intellectual property ($289), civil rights ($278) and appellate ($275) at the high end to juvenile ($85) and workers compensation ($139) at the low end.