find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
House splits over money

House splits over money

A major in-house salary survey has shown that the gap between senior and junior in-house salaries is growing.

A major in-house salary survey has shown that the gap between senior and junior in-house salaries is growing.

Yesterday (20 November) the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA) released the first part of a remuneration report into the salaries of corporate lawyers.

The ACLA report found that that the majority of the 239 in-house lawyers surveyed earned between $100k and $200k (61%).

At the top end, around 10 per cent of the in-house lawyers surveyed earned in excess of $250k.

Similarly, around 10 per cent of respondents earned less than $100k at the bottom of the salary range.

A report in December 2012 by ACLA and the University of Technology, the ASX 100 General Counsel Report, found that general counsels (GCs) in key management positions earned more than $1.2 million per year. That is more than double that of the average GC salary.

That report’s editor, Benevolent Society GC Alexandra Rose, spoke to Lawyers Weekly today about in-house salary trends.

She said yesterday’s ACLA report reinforced findings that in-house departments are facing cost-cutting and budget and salary pressures.

“The salaries [in the ACLA report] are slightly lower than expected,” she said. “There is a significant difference between the salaries in this report and the ASX100 report, and there is more scope for salary increases at the top-end of the market.”

In August, an in-house salary survey from Mahlab found that the average salary increase for in-house lawyers in 2012-13 was 2.8 per cent. In 2010-11, the average salary increase was 4.69 per cent

Just under a third (28%) of respondents to the most recent ACLA report were executive GCs, with 18 per cent GC or equivalent. Around one third of respondents (32%) were senior legal counsel and the remainder held middle-ranking to junior roles.

Seventy-five percent of respondent were with an in-house team of 10 or less people.

The ACLA survey showed that senior lawyers in smaller companies earn significantly less than GCs in large companies.

It cited the example of a GC in Western Australia with an in-house team of three lawyers working for a publicly-listed, moderate-paying resources company; that GC could expect to have a salary package between $177k and $240k.

This compares poorly to GCs in ASX100 companies not holding management positions; the average salary for GCs in that group, according to the ASX 100 GC Report, was $494,000.

Staying inside the house
The ACLA survey also showed that the average salary for an in-house lawyer is less than junior private practice positions.

A Taylor Root private practice salary survey released in August showed that lawyers with top-tier firms in Sydney can expect to be remunerated to the tune of $170,000 to $240,000 at the seven-to-10 year PQE level.
Despite that, Rose reckons that more and more young lawyers are looking to leave private practice.

“A number of junior private practice lawyers are desperate to get into in-house roles,” said Rose. “They see it as a stronger career path and the hours are more flexible... and it is an easier way to control their careers rather than being held to the vagaries of law firm partnership.”

The ACLA report also found that more than 80 per cent of in-house counsels received some form of value added benefit in their salary package, but only seven per cent of those received a bonus.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

House splits over money
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...