Average Pay is Up for In-House Lawyers, as Their Numbers Dwindle
Posted Sep 30, 2008 11:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
In-house lawyers make an average of $236,000 in pay and bonuses, up from $226,000, according to a new survey of 223 larger companies. But the pay increase comes at a time when in-house staffing is softening.
The average cash compensation, including bonuses, amounts to about $700,000 for general counsel and more than $900,000 for chief legal officers, according to a survey by the legal consulting firm Hildebrandt International. Long-term incentives increased the average total compensation to nearly $1.5 million for general counsel and nearly $2 million for chief legal officers, according to a press release (PDF) summarizing the survey.
The companies surveyed had revenues of more than $1 billion and assets of more than $3 billion. The study captured data as of March 15.
The survey found compensation for in-house counsel increased by 8 percent for all levels, a slightly smaller increase than last year’s hike of 10 percent. Despite the bigger paychecks, the employment outlook is not as good for in-house counsel, the survey suggests.
It found that the median company employs 3.8 lawyers per billion dollars of U.S. revenues. In the last four surveys, the number was greater, ranging from 4.2 to 4.7 lawyers per billion dollars of U.S. revenues.
Lauren Chung, director of Hildebrandt’s Law Department Consulting Group, told ABAJournal.com the data indicates that law departments “may be a little more cautious about hiring.”
As more law departments cut the number of in-house lawyers, the growth in inside spending is also slowing, Chung notes.
The survey found a 5 percent growth in in-house legal spending in the United States, compared to an 8 percent increase in last year’s survey.
Hat tip to the National Law Journal, which summarized the findings.