Discussing the findings, Altman Weil principal James Wilber said, "In-house lawyers in management positions saw their total compensation rise between 8% and 14% this year, while non-management lawyers took home from 4.5% to 23% more. These increases, even after adjusting them for inflation, were very solid. Generally, as in recent years, base salary increases were relatively modest, with bonuses increasing more than salaries."
||The survey, published by LexisNexis and Martindale-Hubbell, found that companies who generated a minimum of billion in revenue saw their internal legal costs rise by 7%.|
When choosing pricey outside counsel (the average cost of an in-house attorney is $346,497, while the average outside counsel attorney fee is $616,519), several factors are taken into consideration. These include firm specialization, responsiveness, and cost.
The survey covers four broad categories, including management positions, non-management positions, stock options, and variables. In the management position category the survey reported that chief legal officers (CLOs) saw both their salaries and their bonuses rise by 5.8% and 43% respectively. Overall compensation rose by 14.3%. Division general counsel and deputy CLOs also saw their compensation rise by 10.2% and 1.7% respectively.
In the non-management category attorneys saw their salaries increase as well. High-level specialists received a 6.4% increase and a 5% increase in bonuses, while senior attorneys saw their total cash compensation rise by 4.5%. Staff attorneys and recent graduates also saw their salaries rise by 23% and 10.8% respectively.
"As the survey shows, increases in total cash compensation for non-management lawyers were significantly higher for those of lesser experience. This may reflect a need to counter the dramatic increases in law firm starting salaries as general counsel compete with law firms for talent," Wilber said.
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Stock options and other key variables were also discussed in the survey's findings. For example, although the median fair market value of CLOs' stock options was 2% less than last year, they were still worth more than their overall compensation at $900,800. The survey also found that a key variable impacting compensation was law department size. Departments that housed 25 or more attorneys saw their CLOs take home 56.6% more than the national median.
The survey obtained and analyzed data from 343 law departments.