Billing rate & associate salary survey+ (BRASS+)

Developed in 2000, the BRASSplus provides participants with comprehensive benchmarking information on billing rates by geography, practice group, and a combination of both.

The BRASSplus is released on a biannual basis: the Initial and the Mid-Year Release. Participation is now underway for the Initial Release of the 2017 BRASSplus.

The results are delineated into three distinct benchmarking Reports, targeted to the Firm managers responsible for taking action. Each Report includes summary charts designed to visually present the firm's current and historical position relative to its peers. A description of the metrics included within each of the Report offerings is described below.

Available again this year to participants are the Talent360 and Revenue360 Performance Analytics Dashboards.  These desktop applications allow multiple users at the Firm to interactively filter between both historical and current year benchmarks across multiple comparison groups, multiple metrics and multiple attorney groups.

 


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Timing

Submissions for participation in the Initial Release of the BRASSplus are due April 14, 2017. Results will be distributed on May 26, 2017.

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Fees

The cost for receiving Reports from the 2017 Initial Release BRASSplus includes a base participation fee plus incremental fees for additional Reports or comparison groups ordered.

For those firms with greater than 100 attorneys, the base participation fee is $2,195 which includes three comparison groups in any Reporting style for your individual offices or practice groups.  A firm does not need to be a member of a comparison group to order it and see their values presented and ranked against the group.

Participants with less than 100 attorneys will receive a base participation fee of $995.

The fees for the Reporting Dashboards has been reduced to only $450 each.  If both Dashboards are ordered, the pricing is $800 for the two.

Additional comparison groups will be billed separately and discounts are provided for firms that order more than 10 additional comparison groups.

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Key benefits to participation

  1. Strong Participation Base of 250 Law Firms – And, last year our participants included nearly 70% of the largest, most profitable law firms.

  2. Receive Three Distinct Billing Rate Benchmarks  – The Revenue Management Report provides information on three distinct billing rates – standard rate, worked (agreed-upon) rate and billed rate. This allows participants to benchmark the rates that many firms realize due to client pressures.

  3. Ability to Create 'Peer Firm' Comparison Groups to Fit Your Firm's Needs  – Participants can choose to benchmark their individual offices and practice groups to over 1,500 standard geographic comparison groups and 500 standard national practice area comparison groups.

    Additionally, many participants opt to create custom comparison groups from a list of their peers/competitors to fit their individual firm needs.

  4. Availability of Multiple Products and Report Styles – All of our Report offerings are specifically targeted to the Firm managers responsible for taking action.

  5. Availability of Benchmarking Key Revenue Metrics by Practice Group  – Many law firms acknowledge the importance of managing revenue by practice group, in addition to geographic location.

    Not only can participants select benchmarking Reports by the size of their national practice, but also through ordering 'Practice Area by Location' comparison groups, which combine the location of the attorneys with the area of law practiced.

  6. Inclusion of Diversity Metrics – Metrics focused on the demographics of your attorneys, many delineated by gender and race, are available as well as a section devoted to information on select Firmwide Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.

  7. A Win-Win Time Investment to Cost Proposition –We strongly believe that the investment to participate is significantly more beneficial to the firm, compared to the alternative of compiling and analyzing information obtained from other labor-intensive sources.

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How to participate in the BRASSplus

Instructions

The Initial Release of the 2017 BRASSplus instructions document includes important information about the columns of data requested for each timekeeper classification submitted to the Survey.

2017 BRASSplus initial release instructions

Data Form
Participants in the 2017 Initial release of the BRASSplus have the following two options for collecting their data:

  • Preferred method: Free Data extraction tool
  • Alternative method: Spreadsheet-based questionnaire

Data disclaimer and confidentiality

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Preferred method: Free Data extraction tool

The data extraction tool is available free to participants in this survey that have either Elite or Aderant time and billing systems. The data extraction tool is a stand-alone, desktop application that can be installed and run on any PC at your firm.

All BRASSplus participants who intend to use the data extraction tool must visit the download site to install the application on a designated PC.

A key advantage to using this data extraction tool is the ability to preserve your firm's mappings to the survey-defined classifications across survey releases. Using this application will not only reduce the time to participate in subsequent releases, but will ensure consistency and enhance comparability in the results.

NOTE: The 2016 BRASSplus data extraction tool is no longer being used or supported. You must install the new 2017 initial release BRASSplus data extraction tool to proceed. The Data Extraction tool has been redesigned and as such, participants need to obtain their prior year mapping files from a Survey team member after installing the latest release.

The 2017 initial release BRASSplus data extraction tool installation instructions are also available for download.

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Alternative method: Spreadsheet-based questionnaire

Law firms who are not on the Elite or Aderant time and billing systems can choose to submit their data using our spreadsheet-based questionnaire. Firms should download and complete the following:

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Comparison groups

The following document contains a listing of the standard national, geographic, national practice area and practice area by location comparison groups that we anticipate producing during this Survey release. The document also provides information on the participation fees, as well as the types of reports available. This document also serves as the report order form.

Last year we were able to produce office comparison groups for 18 international locations. In addition, participants have the option of receiving London comparison groups in both USD and GBP. We strongly encourage participants to submit all of their individual office information, regardless of the size.

We recommend that each participant review the information contained within the comparison group description document before completing the report order form.

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'Peer Firm' Custom Comparison Groups

Participants can also choose to create 'peer firm' comparison groups for their individual offices or practice groups, provided the criterion for participation in the group adheres to all current antitrust laws.

We are asking that all participants identify a listing of their primary peers on a national level. To assist with this effort, we developed a ‘Peer Firms’ Listing which allows you to select from the 200 law firms that were listed on the most recent American Lawyer publication. Additional space has been provided for your Firm to identify any Peer Firm listed outside of the AmLaw 200.

If a participant completes the Peer Firms Listing, the $100 custom group surcharge will be waived.

If your Firm needs a particular group not shown on the comparison group listing, please contact a Survey staff member to submit any custom group requests. All custom comparison groups are subject to the approval of the Survey staff and must meet our confidentiality criteria and legal guidelines.

A member of the PwC Survey team is available to assist your firm with your comparison group selections. Please email a Survey staff member if you need assistance.

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BRASSplus report offerings

Introduction

The BRASSplus benchmarking results are organized into Reports targeted to the Firm Managers responsible for taking action. A description of the metrics included within each of the Reports or Product offerings is included below.

Each Report type contains metrics for 15 distinct timekeeper titles and then further delineates them by years of experience, or law class year.

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The Revenue Management Report (RMR)

The following metrics are included within each RMR:

  • Standard Rates
  • Worked (agreed-upon) Rates
  • Billed Rates
  • Discounting Levels
  • Utilization
  • Realization
  • Leverage
  • Alternative Fee Arrangements
  • NEW – Annual Billable Hour Targets
  • Estimated Impact to Profitability by Achieving Performance Improvements

The metrics are presented in both a graphical and detailed format. Many of the graphs will include 10 years of historical information to better understand directionally where the Firm has performed relative to its peers prior to and after the economic downturn.

A ‘Snapshot of Findings’ Report will be included with each Revenue Management Report ordered. This high-level graphical Report is designed to showcase the most referenced metrics.

This Report is designed for Firmwide Managers, Office and Practice Group Leaders and the Finance Team.

Download a sample of this Reporting option

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Revenue360 Performance Analytics Dashboard

This reporting Dashboard allows multiple users at the Firm to interactively filter between both historical and current year benchmarks across multiple comparison groups, multiple metrics and multiple attorney groups. All of the visualizations that users create within the Dashboard can be saved to share with key Firm leaders. This Dashboard offering is a companion product with comparison groups ordered in the Revenue Management Report style.

Please contact a Survey staff member if you would like to preview this product.

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The Talent Management Report (TMR)

The following metrics, focused on retaining an engaged and diverse Attorney workforce, will be presented within the Talent Management Report:

  • Associate Compensation (Includes metrics showcasing the percentage receiving a bonus and the various bonus levels awarded designated by law class years)
  • Associate Bonuses by Utilization Levels
  • Attorney Metrics by Gender & Race
  • Headcount
  • Terminations
  • Utilization Levels
  • New - Information on the Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Team and initiatives/programs
  • Firmwide Diversity initiatives focused on Recruiting and Retaining Women and Minority Attorneys as well as initiatives directed towards LGBT Individuals

The metrics will be presented in both a graphical and detailed format.

A ‘Snapshot of Findings’ Report will be included with each Talent Management Report ordered. This high-level graphical Report is designed to showcase the most referenced metrics.

This Report is designed for Firmwide Managers, Human Resource Managers and Diversity Leaders.

Download a sample of this Reporting option

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Talent360 Performance Analytics Dashboard

This product is similar in functionality to our Revenue360 Performance Analytics Dashboard, but features metrics contained within the TMR. The Dashboard allows participants to filter between both historical and current year benchmarks across multiple comparison groups, multiple metrics and multiple attorney groups. All of the visualizations participants create within the Dashboard can be printed or downloaded to share with key Firm leaders.

The Dashboard offering is a companion product with any comparison groups ordered in the Talent Management Report style.

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The Partner Management Report (PMR)

This Report contains key metrics focused on the business owners of the firm. Information for both Equity and Non-Equity Partners are provided in the following areas:

  • Demographics
  • Compensation levels
  • Ratio Between the Highest and Lowest Compensated Partner
  • Permanent Capital Balance Levels
  • Ratio Between Compensation and Capital Balance Levels
  • Utilization
  • Treatment of newly appointed Non-Equity Partners
  • Information on Partner Compensation Systems
  • Information on Partner Admission Policies
  • Information on Partner Retirement & Benefits Policies

The metrics will be presented in both a graphical and detailed format, many delineated by years of experience.

This Report is designed for Firm Leaders and the Finance Team who are involved in setting Partner compensation and capital contribution levels.

This year, each BRASSplus participant will receive a complimentary PMR, for any selected ‘peer group’.

Download a sample of this Reporting option

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The 'Report Export' Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet report (in .xls format) consists of a 'data export' of the comparison group statistics provided within the Revenue Management Reports ordered. The group statistics from each comparison group ordered by the Firm will be displayed as a separate worksheet within the spreadsheet. Your Firm’s data for each office and practice group submitted to the Survey will be included in a separate worksheet.

Please contact a Survey staff member if you would like to preview this product.

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Contact us

Gregg Sincoff
Tax Managing Director
Tel: +1 (646) 471 1335
Email

Laurie Lieb
Director
Tel: +1 (623) 561 8481
Email

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