This survey was prepared on the basis of in-depth research carried out during May 2019. The results are based on
data collected from 13 leading corporate law firms in Budapest. The report was researched by Gwilym Davies of
Legal market overview
• After a decade spent yo-yoing between recovery and
recession, the Hungarian economy is now enjoying a
period of sustained stability, having seen nearly two
successive years of healthy growth.
• While current market conditions are proving a boon
for many of the law firms surveyed, the economic
turbulence of the past decade has nonetheless
taken a heavy toll on the Budapest legal services
market; recent years have seen numerous departures
from what was once a vibrant and promising new
marketplace for international law firms.
Compensation and human resources
• With Hungarian unemployment rates currently at
a record low of 3.6%, the hiring and retention of
both legal and non-legal support staff have become
increasingly difficult for law firms.
• Half of the law firms surveyed increased fee-earner
headcount during the past year. The mean net change
in fee-earner headcount during the past year among
the firms surveyed stands at an increase of 3.6%.
• During the past year, average compensation at likefor-
like fee-earner levels of seniority increased among
the law firms surveyed. Increases were especially
pronounced at trainee and junior associate levels.
• Modest rises in average billed rates reported by several
firms have generally been attributed to a gradual
willingness among clients to pay more for complex
legal services after a decade of fee stagnation and
• During the past year, average standard billed rates
at like-for-like associate levels of seniority increased
among the law firms surveyed.
• The current average realisation rate reported among
the law firms surveyed stands at 64%.