Attorney Pay

In-House Division General Counsel Saw Biggest Percentage Pay Hikes in 2010

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The “middlemen” of in-house lawyers topped their corporate counsel colleagues by getting a collective 8.35 percent boost in median total cash compensation this year, a new survey reveals.

The median salary for division general counsel was $226,400, the median bonus was $78,000, and the median total cash compensation $292,000, according to a chart (PDF) published by Corporate Counsel. Compared to last year, those numbers represent a boost of 8.79 percent in salary, 4 percent in bonus, and 8.35 percent in total cash compensation.

Those numbers helped make up for a 9.8 percent drop in total cash compensation for the group the year before, Corporate Counsel reports. “Clearly, this was a great year to be a middle man!” the story says.

The median total cash compensation for general counsel and chief legal officers was $466,800, a decrease of 3.79 percent compared to last year. Corporate Counsel calls the numbers “something of a wash: total cash compensation went down this year almost the same amount that it went up last year.”

In a separate story, Corporate Counsel says 2010 was “a terrible year to be the little guy.” In-house positions without management responsibilities saw the biggest drop in wages this year, with the “attorney” position seeing the biggest decrease.

Nonmanagement attorneys saw their salary drop by 5.4 percent, their bonuses drop by 4.5 percent, and their total cash compensation drop by 6.6 percent. The median total cash compensation for the attorney position was $119,800.

The Law Department Compensation Benchmarking Survey collected data from 208 corporate law departments. Almost 75 percent of their companies generated revenues of $1 billion or more.

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