Economic Survey

The Missouri Bar Economic Survey – 2017

Special thanks to The Missouri Bar members who took their valuable time to respond promptly and candidly to the survey. Their assistance provides this resource for your use.


The Missouri Bar is pleased to report the results of The Missouri Bar Economic Survey – 2017.

The results of the survey provide a guide for Missouri lawyers in evaluating their firm's performance relative to comparable law firms in terms of geographical location and other indicators. The report also provides economic information about Missouri's lawyers who practice as solo practitioners, government attorneys and corporate counsel, as well as those who work in law-related and non-legal professions. Some sections include data from previous surveys to show trends over the past few years.

Since 1958, The Missouri Bar has conducted a survey every other year to gain insight into the economics of law practice in the State of Missouri. This survey report is a snapshot of the economic performance of the legal profession in Missouri as of December 31, 2016. The information in this survey should be used as a guide and not as an absolute standard. The Missouri Bar Economic Survey Report should be considered and used in its entirety.

The Assessment Resource Center (ARC) in the College of Education at the University of Missouri helped to develop the survey, sent the electronic survey, received all electronic and paper results, tabulated the responses, and prepared the survey results.

A sample of 4,000 members of The Missouri Bar listing a business address in Missouri was randomly selected from the member database. More than 23,000 lawyers listed a Missouri office address at the time the sample was taken. During the spring and summer of 2017, those included in the sample were sent the confidential questionnaire to complete. The questionnaire was distributed electronically twice, with a paper survey later sent to those who either did not have an email address on file or who did not initially respond to the online survey. A total of 1,539 members completed and returned the survey, representing a 38.5% response rate. More than 900 members (59.5% of responses) completed the survey electronically.




Years Licensed To Practice

At the end of the electronic version of the survey, respondents were asked to add any additional comments. While the comments provide useful information for refining the structure and administration of future economic surveys, they were not elicited for inclusion in the public distribution of the survey results.

In earlier economic surveys, the "mean" income was used as a reporting indicator of average income. The mean (arithmetic average) is calculated by adding the values of all responses and dividing by the total number of responses.

The surveys found that a few respondents reported incomes exceedingly higher than the income of most Missouri Bar members responding to the survey. For that reason, the 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 survey reports used the "median" income for more accurate reporting results. The median is the middle value of a series (distribution) of values, which by definition, half of the numbers are greater and half are less than the median.

© Copyright by The Missouri Bar 2017