Lawyer Pay

Top In-House Lawyers Make $645K, Survey Says

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Chief legal officers and general counsel in legal departments of more than 25 lawyers made a median of $645,000 in total cash compensation in 2007, according to a survey by Altman Weil.

Median cash compensation ranged from $285,000 for companies with $300 million or less in gross annual revenue to $740,000 for those with more than $10 billion in gross annual revenue, Inside Counsel reports (PDF). The percentage of pay based on bonuses increases as lawyers rise in the legal department.

The median cash compensation for new law grads going into an in-house legal department was $70,000.

The pay is separate from stock options also given to many in-house counsel.

Dan DiLucchio, an Altman Weil principal, told the magazine there has been “a shift to more discretionary compensation” in the form of bonuses for in-house lawyers.

Inside Counsel looked at the Altman Weil numbers, as well as the results of a 2006 year-end survey by Hildebrandt of large companies’ legal departments. The Hildebrandt survey found chief legal officers make $800,000 in total cash compensation and general counsel make $564,000.

Hildebrandt’s survey is based on data from companies with a median of $10 billion in revenues, while Altman Weil’s is based on information from companies of which more than half had 5,000 or fewer employees.

A hat tip to Legal Blog Watch, which posted the story.

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