It took a global economic meltdown and a major upheaval of the legal industry, but law firms seemed to get the message that 2009 was not the year to substantially increase their billing rates. While most firms did raise their rates, the average increase was a modest 2.5% during 2009 to $372 per hour.

Reality dawns on hourly rates
The recession forced firms to moderate or forego rate increases.

A nationwide sampling of law firm billing rates
We asked the respondents to its 2009 survey of the nation’s 250 largest law firms to provide a range of hourly billing rates. Firms that supplied the information — including some not in the NLJ 250 — are listed in alphabetical order.

Firms report using alternatives to the billable hour
A list of law firms that reported use of alternative billing methods. We asked firms to differentiate between variations on the billable hour (discounted and blended hourly rates) and true alternatives (fixed or flat, contingency, hybrid and retrospective fees).

Firms report their billing rates by associate class
A sampling of hourly rates charged by law firms that establish billing rates based on associate class. The firms reported the data as part of The National Law Journal‘s 2009 survey of the nation’s 250 largest law firms.