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Law firm "tech support" does a lot more than make sure your Internet is running and software is up to date. In today's firms, technology professionals are an essential part of eDiscovery practice, litigation support, cybersecurity, and -- in the rare firm -- legal innovation.
And these highly-skilled tech workers are in store for a significant raise as more firms realize their worth and demand begins to outstrip supply. It might just be time to give your tech team a raise -- or watch them move elsewhere.
Highly-Valued, Well-Paid and In Demand
Tech workers are becoming increasingly essential to, and valued by, the legal industry. For large firms, technology professionals can be as necessary as lawyers themselves. They're the people who make sure the firm's computer systems are functioning, who keep eDiscovery from imploding, who make sure that the practice management systems are running smoothly. Some of them even protect against cyber attacks -- though the legal industry as a whole remains incredibly vulnerable to hacking.
Firms now have to compete for that talent not just between each other, but from their clients. Skadden may be the nation's highest paying employer, according to Glassdoor, but Netflix comes in second. And firms aren't just competing against tech companies. Traditional businesses are also more than willing to steal away skilled technology professionals.
Time for a Raise
All that extra competition means higher wages for legal tech workers. Robert Half Legal, the staffing agency, just released its 2016 Salary Guide for the legal industry and things look good for tech workers.
The wages for the average worker in eDiscovery and litigation support are expected to increase by 4.78 percent in 2016. That's a greater increase than lawyers can expect. On the top end, wages for litigation support and eDiscovery directors are expected to increase 5.7 percent to between $101,000 and $130,500. Wages for experienced managers are expected to go up 5.5 percent, reaching up to $115,750. Skilled tech workers could be making wages comparable to first year attorneys', without the hassle of having to be a BigLaw associate.
Of course, those are national averages. In San Francisco and New York, salaries would be nearly 40 percent higher, according to Robert Half. They'd be significantly less in El Paso or Duluth.