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How Much Do Law Firm Partners Make Yearly?

How much law firm partners make yearly can be hard to note as it varies depending on the type of law firm, billing structure, and the origination of the client.

Aside from the size of the law firm as well as the operating expenses allocated including partner billing hours, rates, collection procedures, and the other associated partner hours billed, there are a whole lot of other variables that will determine a law partner’s income.

Law firms are private entities, and this entails that they can afford to keep salaries and compensation figures off the public eye especially since they always have privacy concerns.

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Owing to that, there is little to no information to buttress a typical partner’s income. However, note that being a partner entails that a lawyer makes more income when compared to non-partners at the same firm, but it does not mean that they take home millions each year.

Indeed, partners in well-known law firms in major cities make some serious money. For instance, partners with Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz in New York, renowned as the world’s most profitable law firm, took home around $6.5 million as profit in 2018.

Reports also have it that Partners with Kirkland & Ellis, a well-known Chicago firm also noted as the largest law firm in the United States by revenue, made around $5 million in 2018.

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In the United Kingdom, law partners with Magic Circle firms, Allen & Overy, and Freshfields all took home around £1.8 million in 2018. Although a good number of well-established law firms are producing PPPs averaging £1 million and more, there are without doubt a good percentage of law firm partners who are taking home around five and six-figure incomes.

Just as was noted above, the income of a law firm partner will vary based on critical factors such as the type of law firm, billing approach, and the origination of the client.

Factors That Determine How Much Law Firm Partners Make Yearly

  1. Firm size and reputation

There are different types and sizes of law firms in the industry and they all have different reach, so their incomes can never be the same.

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For instance, partners at well-known law firms will make a better income especially when compared to partners at small law firms. Larger firms are known to have more powerful and wealthy clientele as well as Archives of successful cases.

  1. Billing rates and client base

A good number of law firms tend to charge clients based on an hourly rate or a percentage of the value of the case. It simply means that different cases involving different clients will mean different compensation structures. As such, partners who make bigger incomes are the ones that handle complicated cases. Also, note that firms tend to leverage varying systems to distribute profits among partners.

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You will find firms that utilize the lockstep system, where income is mainly based on seniority and tenure, and there are firms that leverage a more merit-based system that takes into consideration things such as individual performance, business generation, and contributions to the firm’s success.

  1. Practice area

Practice area refers to the area of law wherein an attorney primarily focuses their career. Note that this is the area of expertise or specialty for an attorney, and varying practice areas have different levels of demand and profitability.

Owing to that, partners with a specialty in an area like corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, or litigation will most make more income and this can be attributed to the level of complication and stress involved in the work.

  1. Performance and business generation

In this field, partners who steadily draw in new clients and generate good business for the firm usually earn more. Owing to that, it is necessary for a partner to seek means to improve and grow. Developing and sustaining strong relationships with clients, networking, and getting lucrative cases or deals are essential for partners seeking to boost their earnings.

  1. Equity partnership vs. non-equity partnership

Law firms tend to possess varying partnership structures. Equity partners refer to partners who have an ownership stake in the firm and they qualify to receive a share of the firm’s profits. This will mean substantial income and compensation.

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Meanwhile, non-equity Partners refer to partners who maybe have an agreement on a fixed salary or a lower profit-sharing arrangement and they do not make as much as equity partners.

  1. Years of experience

Also, know that how long a partner has spent at the firm will determine the amount of compensation they get or take home. Even in hell, there is a hierarchy; and this simply means that partners who have spent more years with the firm and helped to build its portfolio of clients will command more compensation when compared to a newer partner.

This is because they have more insight into the firm’s operations, coupled with a proven record of successful cases or deals that must have helped to propel the firm to better heights.

  1. Geographical location

Same as with most businesses, location is a major determinant of a partner’s income. There are law firms scattered around the world and the revenue they generate as well as how much Partners earn depend on the cost of living coupled with the existing market rates within their geographical location.

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Have it in mind that Partners of law firms practicing in major cities or regions will make better income when compared to Partners of law firms in smaller towns.


Law firms are private entities, and this entails that they can afford to keep salaries and compensation figures off the public eye.

Owing to that, there is little to no information to buttress a partner’s income. However, note that how much law firm partners make can be hard to note as it varies depending on the type of law firm, billing structure, and the origination of the client.