British in-house lawyers take pay hit

By James Barnes

04 January 2013 at 12:02 BST

Britain's in-house lawyers have seen their pay increases running below inflation over the last year, effectively lowering wages, research released yesterday revealed.

Not keeping up with inflation

Not keeping up with inflation

UK employment researcher Incomes Data Services found that in-house lawyers received salary rises of 2.7 per cent at the median over the last year (to September 2012), while inflation averaged 3.7 per cent over the same period.

Pay freezes

In the previous year, in-house salaries grew by 2.8 per cent at the median while inflation rose by 5 per cent, meaning the new figures make for two years of real-term pay cuts.
The research also unearthed some good news for those working in-house, as absolute pay freezes for heads of legal dropped to 13 per cent compared to 20 per cent the previous year. Median salaries for in-house lawyers now range from £122,604 for heads of legal to £48,273 for junior lawyers.

Staffing costs

‘In-house lawyers continue to experience a squeeze in their take-home pay,’ commented Nasreen Rahman, principal researcher at IDS. ‘Businesses have been keeping a tight rein on staffing costs since the recession and pay growth for support staff, even for in-house lawyers, has been sluggish.’
However, the researcher continued, ‘increasing demand for in-house legal counsel has offered some relief over the last year. An increasing number of organisations are now looking to bolster their in-house legal teams by bringing specialist talent in-house in order to reduce their reliance on external counsel.’


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