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
Million-dollar partners in Sydney

Million-dollar partners in Sydney

SYDNEY’S TOP-tier partners topped the million dollar mark for the first time this year, as the gap between their remuneration and that of their counterparts in other Australian cities widened…

SYDNEY’S TOP-tier partners topped the million dollar mark for the first time this year, as the gap between their remuneration and that of their counterparts in other Australian cities widened even further.

While Sydney partners bagged an average $1,015,000, in Melbourne, average top-tier partner earnings lagged at $896,000. Partner remuneration in Sydney and Melbourne significantly towered over those in small firms, which was a more stately $432,000 in Sydney and $340,000 in Melbourne.

The figures were published in Mahlab’s Recruitment Salary Survey 2006, released last Friday as the first salary survey of the financial year.

Overall, New South Wales lawyers had the lowest salary increases in the country — a 7 per cent rise on last year, while the largest increases were enjoyed by Victorians, at 8.3 per cent, and Queensland and South Australia at 8 per cent on average. Across the nation, the salary increases showed as the lowest average increases in the past six years.

Lawyers in Sydney still had the highest salaries in the land, however, with top-tier firms offering their first year lawyers $68,000 on average, compared to an average of $63,500 in Melbourne. Lawyers of 10 years or more seniority commanded salaries of $200,000 on average in NSW’s capital, while in Victoria’s they had to be content with $170,000.

Across the board, the 8 per cent increase in pay of financial 2006 was the same as that of 2005, and both marked the lowest average increases in the last six years. Salary bands meanwhile increased by only 4.5 per cent.

Rather, many firms underlined their commitment to high achievers by offering better bonuses. Thirty-three per cent of lawyers at private firms surveyed by Mahlab are receiving discretionary performance-based bonuses, making such benefits more prevalent than previous years.

The Mahlab survey also noted that some lawyers returning from overseas and lateral recruits practising in sought-after areas had triggered a “bidding war” between firms which was putting pressure on salaries. Sign-on bonuses were increasingly used as a counterattack by firms to keep a lid on salaries in this environment while enabling firms to offer lawyers an incentive to join.

Other benefits were offered by employers to encourage talent retention. Mobile phones were offered to 32 per cent and laptops to 22 per cent of lawyers surveyed, while 32 per cent had been offered the chance for secondment within Australia. Thirty-seven per cent of lawyers had been offered paid study leave, and 33 per cent full fee reimbursement for studying.

The trend of rewarding the highest achievers was continued. Overall, top tier partner earnings rose by 7-8 per cent since last year, while those at mid and low-tier levels rose 8 per cent. At firms with performance-based partnership remuneration, the highest-billing partners were claiming salaries of as much as two thirds more than their lowest-performing colleagues.

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

Million-dollar partners in Sydney
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
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 & ...