In-house legal professions deserve better rewards

In-house legal professions deserve better rewardsIn-house legal professionals may not be getting the rewards they deserve, according to a new report.

A study conducted by Legal Week concluded that a number of general counsels may be entitled to larger bonuses and salaries to reflect the crucial role they play in aiding businesses.

Although there has been a number of high-profile media reports revealing some in-house legal teams are receiving large wages, it does not appear this is the trend across the whole of the industry.

The research found that 42 per cent of respondents believe the pay gap between in-house and other legal sectors to be ‘slight’, while 19 per cent considered the difference to be major.

Just 7.5 per cent felt that general counsel staff were overpaid compared to other corporate positions.

“Over the last 20 or so years, in-house legal work has diverged significantly from private practice, and become more demanding and intense,” explained one surveyed individual.

It was also argued that some in-house legal professions can find it hard to demonstrate how they add value to companies and this makes it difficult to request and receive higher monetary rewards.

However, the research did suggest that the role of in-house lawyers could develop and this could bring a number of pay benefits in the long term.

There was strong support for the expansion of current share purchase schemes and awards, as well as 80 per cent of those surveyed wanting bonuses to be part of standard packages.

Candace Kendall, a consultant who has worked as an in-house lawyer at Motorola and Skandia, as well as in a private practice capacity with DLA Piper, argued that top legal professionals are increasingly in a position to demand strong rewards because they have an in-demand skill set.

“When you get to the top echelons, you are fishing in quite a small pool of people who can handle the role, accepting responsibility and accountability for such large organisations,” she explained.

Corporate legal jobs at Barclay Simpson.