Economics of Law Report results released

Michigan attorneys can view the full results of the State Bar of Michigan’s 2023 Economics of Law Report, which shows the vast majority of attorneys believe economic conditions have either improved or stayed the same in the last three years.

The 2023 report reflects results from a survey of all Michigan attorneys based on 2022 data. The report determines county-by-county and statewide average billing rates and income broken down by occupation area, measures job satisfaction, and gives a first look into the broader impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A summary of the report issued earlier this year included information on billing rates, which is often used by courts when determining attorney fees and can also help attorneys determine if their salaries or rates are in line with other attorneys’. Overall, billing rates rose an average of 3% a year from a median of $275 to $300 per hour for private practice attorneys.

Median income rose for both private and non-private practitioners to $165,000 and $115,000, respectively.

When assessing their economic outlook, more attorneys were optimistic than not.

Asked about their professional economic outlook since 2019, 40% of private practice attorneys and 53% of non-private practice said things were better. About 35% of private practice and 30% of non-private practice attorneys said things were about the same. Less than 6% had been in practice fewer than three years and the remainder said things are worse now than in 2019.

The 2023 report also shows:

• 80% of those practicing law said they are satisfied in their work and 86% of other attorneys are satisfied with their occupation.

• 64% of non-private practice attorneys report seeing higher turnover since COVID, far more than the 34% of private practice attorneys who said likewise.

• About 40% of attorneys report being offered some sort of incentive to stay in their jobs, the most common incentive: remote work flexibility.

• The top practice concern related to the pandemic was “inconsistencies in procedures between judges and courts.”

• Private practice attorneys who graduated in 2022 borrowed less than reported in any year since at least 2012, with an average of just over $76,000. Non-private practice attorneys borrowed an average of over $89,000, the second smallest amount since 2012.

The Economics of Law Survey is conducted every three years by the State Bar of Michigan. The survey for the 2023 report was conducted in February 2023 and included participation from 3,819 Michigan attorneys.

To read the full 2023 Economics of Law Report as well as prior years’ results, visit