Corporate Law Departments Show Rising Pay and Hiring

By January 22, 2013 No Comments

In a double-dose of good news for attorneys and administrative staff employed by corporate law departments, a pair of surveys released last week showed that compensation grew for most positions in the past year and that total employment is slowly rising as well.

According to ALM Legal Intelligence’s “Law Department Compensation Benchmarking Survey, 2012 Edition,” the most senior position in U.S. corporate law departments—Chief Legal Officers or General Counsel (CLO/GC)—earned median total cash compensation in 2012 of $542,200, an increase of 16.9 percent over 2011.

The number-two position – Deputy CLO – earned median cash compensation of $321,200, a spike of 10.1 percent from a year ago. Indeed, only two of the nine positions surveyed showed slight compensation declines last year (Managing Attorney and Senior Attorney) and one other position was flat (Division GC).

Meanwhile, a companion survey from ALM Legal Intelligence – “Law Department Metrics Benchmarking Survey, 2012 Edition” – found a brightening employment outlook in corporate law departments. Just 6 percent of respondents said their department had made cuts in staffing in 2011, which was down from 17 percent in 2010 and 25 percent in 2009. At the same time, 51 percent reported hiring new lawyers in the past year, up from 44 percent in 2010 and just 39 percent in 2009. Moreover, less than one-fourth of law departments plan on budget cuts in the coming year, also the lowest reported number in the past three years.

The 2012 “Law Department Compensation Benchmarking Survey” – available for purchase at—analyzed compensation data from 4,426 lawyers in nine law department positions employed within 173 corporate law departments (72 percent had more than $1 billion in revenues).

The 2012 “Law Department Metrics Benchmarking Survey” – available for purchase at—analyzed detailed metrics from a sample of 66 corporate law departments (64 percent had more than $1 billion in revenues).

“Our surveys indicate that both salary and bonus compensation are seeing positive momentum for corporate law department professionals, but it appears that the top-level and bottom-level titles are making out the best while the mid-level attorneys are still feeling the pinch from the economic downturn,” said Kevin Iredell, vice president of ALM Legal Intelligence. “Perhaps best of all, though, is that staffing cuts continue on the downslide, overall expense pressure has softened a bit and hiring is happening once again, albeit at a cautious pace.”

ALM Legal Intelligence, a leading source of business intelligence for the legal profession, conducted both surveys in association with ALM’s Corporate Counsel.

ALM Legal Intelligence is a provider of detailed business information for and about the legal industry, focused on the top U.S. and international law firms. The division’s online research Web service provides subscribers with direct, on-demand access to ALM Legal Intelligence’s extensive database of surveys, rankings and lists related to law firms and the legal industry.  ALM Legal Intelligence is a division of ALM.

ALM, an integrated media company, is a leading provider of specialized business news, research and information, focused primarily on the legal and commercial real estate sectors.  ALM’s market-leading brands include The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel,, Insight Conferences,, Law Journal Press, Law Technology News, LegalTech, The National Law Journal and Real Estate Forum. Headquartered in New York City, ALM was formed in 1997.


Source: Law Updates (see link)

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