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NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL TAKES A 5-YEAR LOOK AT LAWYERS' SALARIES

 NEW YORK, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- In the spring of 1989, when The National Law Journal published its first "What Lawyers Earn" report, the legal profession -- in terms of earning power in private practice -- was at its peak. In government, teaching and public interest law, however, attorney salaries lagged behind.
 But the past four years have seen a dramatic change in this pattern of compensation. In this fifth annual report, published in its May 10 issue, the NLJ has tracked these changes since the spring of 1989 and found several distinct patters:
 -- Profits per partner at some of the nation's leading firms are far below the figures for the 1988 fiscal year.
 -- Associate compensation is flat.
 -- The income gap between law firm associates and judges has narrowed.
 -- The gap between associates and federal government attorneys has also diminished, but the pattern for lawyers in state government jobs is mixed.
 -- Compensation for in-house attorneys has increased dramatically.
 -- Law school professors' salaries have risen steadily.
 -- Salaries for public interest attorneys remain among the lowest in the profession.
 Perhaps the biggest change has come in the earnings for the nation's largest law firms. The average profit per partner figure in 1988 was $360,000; in fiscal 1992, it was down to $319,000.
 But while profits in large firms were stagnant or declining, profits at small firms were growing. From 1988 through 1992, profits rose 30 percent for sole practitioners, 25 percent for firms with two to five lawyers, and 15 percent for firms with six to 12 attorneys.
 Other salaries have risen substantially. The salaries for federal judges have risen about 50 percent since the spring of 1989, although the record for state judges is mixed. Most federal government attorneys have seen a steady rise in salary. On the state level, however, many of the figures have not changed for years, the weekly newspaper about lawyers and the law reported.
 -0- 5/3/93
 /CONTACT: Andrew P. Plesser for The National Law Journal, 212-319-8383/


CO: The National Law Journal ST: New York IN: SU:

LR-TS -- NY061 -- 3784 05/03/93 12:20 EDT
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Date:May 3, 1993
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