If you plan to work in Biglaw, you know it’s likely you’ll be able to command a very high hourly rate. Just how high we’re talking, though, depends on the area of law in which you choose to practice.

We already knew that litigators handling bet-the-company cases collected nice fees — in some instances up to $1,500 per hour — but there are other practice groups that rake in crazy cash, too.

Keep reading to find out where you’ll be able to make the most bank in Biglaw…

Thanks to the Billing Rate Reference 2014, a recent study conducted by Law360 and BTI Consulting Group (available now for the low, low price of $2,400), we now know the practice areas where lawyers are able to demand, and receive, top dollar for their legal services. Pay attention, associates.

So which lawyers make the most per hour? That would be intellectual property litigators and mergers and acquisitions attorneys. Corporate clients are willing to pay IP litigators up to $1,200 an hour, while M&A attorneys, on average, are paid 14.5 percent more per hour than all other practice areas.

Here are some monetary stats for you to look at for both practice areas, courtesy of Law360 (sub. req.):

It might feel good to be an IP lit gangsta, but M&A lawyers are truly killing it, according to BTI’s report:

The M&A practice group took an easy first place, overshadowing the average hourly billing rates of intellectual property litigation and litigation partners, which ranked as the second and third most expensive respectively, the report found.

The report found that senior intellectual property litigation partners at the largest firms billed an average hourly rate of $774, while partners charged an average of $650. For litigation — the practice area with the third-highest average-per-hour billing rates — senior partners brought in $745 per hour, and partners drew $610 an hour, according to the report.

Take a look at this infographic to see just how good IP lit and M&A have it over other practice areas:

If you haven’t changed your mind yet about your Biglaw career path, now would be a good time to do it.

The Going Rate—What Clients Really Pay Law Firms [The Mad Clientist / BTI Consulting]
IP Litigators Can Cost $1,200 An Hour [Law360 (sub. req.)]
All M&A Attorneys Make Bank, Survey Shows [Law360 (sub. req.)]


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