{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I left my BigLaw job earlier this year to take some time off and/or retire early. I now have an offer from an old colleague, now at a boutique, to write briefs on a contracting basis. We haven’t discussed pay yet—what would be a reasonable hourly rate to ask for?", "post_id": "5f43026d37eb1f001bb87d3a", "reply_count": 6, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law" }

I left my BigLaw job earlier this year to take some time off and/or retire early. I now have an offer from an old colleague, now at a boutique, to write briefs on a contracting basis. We haven’t discussed pay yet—what would be a reasonable hourly rate to ask for?

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A common benchmark is around 1/3 of the hourly rate the firm typically charges. I would make sure it’s straight hourly for you and not based on receivables or hours charged, in case the person you’re writing for tends to write off hours.

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I’m thinking somewhere in the 200s, but getting anymore specific numbers wise will require knowing a little more about your colleague’s business (do they have a lot of work and a good set of consistent clients, etc). I’m assuming the colleges firm is under 20 attorneys

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Living the dream OP. When I was at a small firm in a secondary Midwest city 5 years ago, my managing partner was billing about $350-375/hr, and we occasionally used someone for research and briefs who charged $75/hr. But I got the sense that she wasn't charging as much as she could have, and certainly your credentials are worth a bump over the average.

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Just an update and in case this is useful to anyone else—they offered me an hourly rate that is about 1/3 the partners’ highest billing rate (their rates vary by client, so 1/3 of the highest rate they charge, and it’s about 1/2 of the lowest rate the partners charge), with an agreement that as their rates go up, mine will be adjusted, too. I’m pretty sure they hadn’t made those calculations or thought too deeply about it—they threw out a number and I asked follow up questions to see how it compared.

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As background, before I left my job I was a senior associate at a satellite office of a top NY law firm. I probably could have lateraled to partner at a local firm, but I was burnt out and had saved up enough that I wasn’t interested. My friend’s firm is small and probably a few steps below BigLaw in billing rates, but I don’t know for sure.

Thanks—these replies are really helpful.

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