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Bad News: Corporations Prefer to Bring Work In-House Rather than Hire Outside Counsel

Posted by Larry Bodine | Apr 03, 2018 | 0 Comments

 Compensation range for in-house counsel

According to a new survey, in-house legal departments have a strong desire to bring more talent in-house. According to the survey findings, 65 percent of respondents said they would prefer to bring additional talent in-house instead of relying on outside counsel.

31 percent said they planned to add headcount to their legal department in the next 12 months.

Nearly one-third of respondents (32 percent) would consider using contract attorneys during their continued search for an appropriate full-time hire. 

This is bad news for large defense law firms that represent major corporations. Competition arising from their own clients is a bid business development challenge that these law firms face.

More than 500 in-house counsel, including general counsels and chief legal officers, completed the In-House Legal Trends Survey conducted by Special Counsel, a legal staffing and eDiscovery company.

Company benefits for in-house counsel

Surprisingly, the survey found that salary was not the biggest draw for talent, with only 13 percent of respondents citing compensation as a top reason for working at their current company.

On the other hand, benefits like flexible work arrangements (23 percent), as well as long-term growth opportunities (23 percent) help make a difference for employees. The right mix of salary and benefits may be contributing to strong tenure within legal departments, with nearly half of respondents saying they have been at their current job for six years or more (48 percent).

The average compensation for a General Counsel was $410,000-$415,000. Chief Legal Officers earned from $825,000 to $387,375.

The breakdown of respondents was:

  • 30% general counsel
  • 27% associate/assistant/deputy GC
  • 25% counsel/attorney
  • 9% chief legal officer
  • 5% divisional general counsel
  • 4% non-attorney

Special Counselconducted an online survey of 500 U.S. adults who identified as in-house legal personnel. Fielding was executed between June 8 and Nov. 6, 2017 using Survey Monkey.

About the Author

Larry Bodine

Attorney and journalist Larry Bodine is the Senior Legal Marketing Strategist at LawLytics law firm marketing.

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