Attorney Support Services » Building A Lean, High-Quality Legal Team

Building A Lean, High-Quality Legal Team

In 2023 Aaron Hall did a study of some of the highest hourly rates in the legal world:

  • $2,465 per hour was charged by Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells according to Reuters.
  • $1,965 per hour per hour was charged by attorney Bryce Friedman of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett according to Bloomberg.
  • $1,950 per hour was charged by David Boies of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP according to Reuters.
  • $1,230 per hour per hour was charged by attorney Dirk Vandermeersch of Cleary Gottlieb in Brussels according to Lawyers Mutual.
  • $1,220 per hour was charged by tax attorney Ian Taplin of Kirkland & Ellis according to Lawyers Mutual.

And while some of these rates might seem outrageous (or aspirational, depending on how you look at them), the reality is that running a law firm has become more expensive. From office costs to social benefits and costly talent, it has become more difficult to run a highly profitable law firm without increasing rates for the end user.


However, there’s a limit to raising prices. Most law firms need to approach this problem in three ways:

a) Attracting well-capitalized clients who can afford higher rates

b) Focusing on solving bigger, more expensive problems

c) Lowering their expenses without compromising quality


That is why today’s article talks about the true cost of in-house support and how Amata’s on-demand services save lawyers money.


The True Cost of In-House Support

Office and team are the two biggest expenses law firms incur (besides taxes, of course). Previous articles covered how our flexible office plans save law firms money on office space, providing them wiggle room to scale. Now we have a new service that can save you money on your team-building efforts: Our new Fractional Services Packages.

Because let’s be real: Hiring people today is expenses. How expensive? Here’s a breakdown of 2024 rates in an established market like Chicago:

Associate Attorneys

The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) found that the overall median first-year associate base salary as of January 1, 2023, was $200,000, up to $35,000 from 2021, when the survey was last administered. This means a 21.2% increase in salaries in just two years, raising the bar for solo attorneys and small firms to be able to afford hiring.

Law Clerk’s blog also found that, in general, freelance lawyers are paid about 30-40% of the market hourly rate. This means that if the median salary for lawyers is $135,740 (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), the average hourly rate is $65,26 per hour and for contract lawyers it would be $85-$120+ per hour.




According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2022 median pay for paralegals and legal assistants was $59,200 per year and $28.46 per hour. A closer look shows that in states like Illinois, an experienced paralegal can charge an average of $96,030 per year.


Executive Assistants

According to Indeed, the average salary for an executive assistant in the US can range from $64,986 on average to $103,983 on the high end.



Besides the high rates, there is an unspoken cost of building a team yourself: Time.

Posting on job sites, vetting applicants, interviewing them, training, onboarding, and then managing talent takes a lot of time. That is another benefit of our “curated-for-you” Fractional Support Services.

If you would like to build a lean, high-quality legal team, contact us to see how we can supply talent at rates you can afford, at just the hours that you need.