New Global Census Provides Insight Into Law Field Trends & Changes

The latest 2015 Association of Corporate Council (ACC) Global Census: A Profile of In-House Counsel reveals some interesting insights into the law profession at home and abroad. The discrepancies between salaries around the world is enlightening, while other key concerns, trends & industry changes are also touched upon.

The census was compiled using 5,000 responses from in-house lawyers across 73 countries.

Census Findings When It Comes to Salaries

Over 15% of lawyers practising worldwide earn above half a million dollars annually. In comparison, less than 2% of American in-house counsel, and below 5% of European & Canadian in-house lawyers were paid salaries of $500,000.

Turns out there is a huge division between Australia’s most highly paid in-house lawyers and those who are worst off. We have more corporate counsel taking-home highest income bracket figures compared to their North American and European counter-parts, however our corporate lawyers also make up the majority of the lowest income bracket.

In total, 1/4 of Australian in-house counsel were remunerated above $300,000 per year. Whereas, only 20% of their Canadian counterparts were, with that percentage dropping to below 10% in America and Europe.

On the down-side though, just below 40% of Australian corporate counsel are paid less than $100,000 each year. This statistic matches Europe’s, but it is higher than any other global region (including developing countries). Just 5% of Canadian lawyers and 10% of American lawyers & receive even less.

7 Other Sector Changes/Trends Uncovered By The Census

1. Rising challenges reported when it comes to privacy, cybersecurity and corruption. During 2014 most in-house counsel say they faced mounting challenges in complying with laws regarding privacy, cybersecurity and corruption inside, as well as outside their jurisdiction. Corruption was largely limited to Latin America and Asia Pacific. 

2. Globally, women lag men in base salary and total compensation 69% of female in-house counsel are paid less than purchasing power parity (PPP) $200,000, in comparison to 56% of men who earn below this.  

3. Litigation tops the list of reasons to consult outside counsel, other reasons include: privacy and employment & labour.

4. In the past year, 40% of in-house counsel worked in a firm which underwent a merger or acquisition! Those who’ve stayed on after a merger or acquisition report their more optimistic about their firm’s financials now than they were previously.

5. In a change from last year, this year lawyers were far likelier to receive remuneration in the lowest and highest income brackets, instead of in the middle-range.

6. 2 thirds of in-house counsel reported they would leave their current job to advance their career if a new opportunity came up.

7. 62% of in-house counsel have multi-national work responsibilities, or cross border responsibilities signalling that multi-national work responsibilities are becoming standard.  

Where Do In-House Counsel Earn The Most?

Based off the survey responses, lawyers in Sub-Saharan Africa are paid very handsomely indeed. 40% of corporate counsel in sub-Saharan Africa earn over a dizzying $500,000, while over 80% take-home above $300,000.  

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