2021 Report of the Economic Survey September 2021

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The bi-ennial Report of the Economic Survey is one of the premier and most sought-after publications of the Association. The Economic Survey’s results are often cited in judicial opinions, analyzed by research firms, and used by law firms. Current AIPLA members can access the Report online - for free!  You must log in to access the digital file.  When you open the file in PDF, you can display the bookmarks to more easily navigate to the specific information in the Report.

AIPLA 2021 Report of the Economic Survey - Table of Contents

Order a print copy of the Report of the Economic Survey.

We've made a number of enhancements to the 2021 Report based on feedback from members, including the addition of questions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. As the profession changes over time, we're trying to stay ahead of the curve and capture information that will help our members see how their work experience stacks up with others. Here's what we learned:

The changing landscape of the workplace... 
  • The overall percentage of people who worked remotely to those likely to work remotely jumped from 42% pre-pandemic to 81% post-pandemic, and there was a significant shift in remote work for practitioners 35 year and younger (86.4%).
  • A small number (7.6%) said their billing rates changed during the pandemic, mostly in the solo practitioner space.
  • Even with the pandemic, gross median income increased by two percent.
  • From the Law Firm perspective, while many are not contemplating closing locations in 2021 or 2022, more than a quarter are considering reducing their office space.
  • The median total billings per attorney dropped in 2020, but is still above 2016 levels.
As always, the Report's format is consistent with previous reports, and includes:
  • typical charges for law services,
  • typical types of fees for law-service charges,
  • typical costs of litigation, and
  • characteristics of firms.
Some changes you'll see:
  • COVID-19 QUESTIONS: Expanded questions regarding remote work (before, during, and after the pandemic) and added questions about closing or reducing office space as well as impact on summer associates’ programs.
  • FILING US APPLICATIONS ABROAD: Revised to streamline responses. Individuals were asked to choose one foreign country and answer all questions in that section based on that one foreign country. Also, a question was added for respondents to indicate if there is a surcharge to clients for handling invoices from foreign counsel. 
  • COVERED BUSINESS METHOD (CBM) REVIEW: Replaced with the category of PGR/IPR.
  • NEW QUESTIONS: Billing rate changes for private practitioners, outsourcing services (replacing two previous questions about outsourcing international filing and annuity payments), and percent change in the firm’s revenue for IP legal services from 2019 to 2020.
AIPLA would like to thank Arlene Neal and Nicholas Camillo, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Law Practice Management Committee, Ryan Dean and John Gorecki, the Economic Survey Subcommittee Co-Chairs, and all of the members of the Committee for their hard work in putting this publication together. We are pleased to continue bringing you this valuable member benefit. We hope that you find the Report a useful reference tool in your practice.

Note: The online edition of the Report is protected from copying, editing, and printing. We know that members may need specific pages for court filings and we hare happy to provide specific pages for such use upon request. If you are in need of specific tables to submit, please contact kdrake@aipla.org, and state the purpose for needing the tables, and the specific tables (page numbers) needed.
Knobbe Martens

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