- Nearly nine in 10 in-house counsel reported receiving a bonus in recent years, with one in three awarded bonuses representing 30% or more of their base pay, according to a report.
Meanwhile, roughly 31% of more than 1,600 in-house counsel survey respondents reported receiving raises of 3% in recent years, the most commonly cited figure, according to Above the Law’s 2022 In-House Compensation Survey Report.
- Three in 10 respondents said their salary was in the $200,000 to $249,000 range, with only 6% of in-house attorneys reporting that they earned $400,000 or more. The Above the Law survey was conducted between March and October 2022 in partnership with the litigation finance firm Lake Whillans.
The share of attorneys who reported receiving higher bonuses and raises by percentage in recent years increased from Above the Law’s 2021 survey.
For example, last year 24% of respondents said they received bonuses in recent years of at least 30%.
This year, 33% of respondents reported bonuses of 30% or more, and 14% of attorneys said they received bonuses in the 60-100% range.
Additionally, slightly more respondents reported having some kind of target bonus this year (87%) than last year (83%). Roughly one-fourth of respondents said their target bonus was between 20% and 29% of their base pay and three in ten said their bonus was greater than 30% than of their base salary.
The economic uncertainty this year amid a period of very high inflation and rising interest rates will likely impact the size of bonuses lawyers report receiving moving forward, particularly as companies freeze hiring and lay off staff to cut costs.
This year’s compensation survey also featured more attorneys reporting raises at the higher end of the typical range.
In 2021, 25% of respondents said their raises in recent years averaged more than 4%. This year, 33% reported average raises of 5% or higher.
In-house lawyers in small departments, which were defined as those with five or fewer attorneys, are the most likely to have received raises of at least 5%.
“In contrast to salaries and bonuses, which are generally higher among more experienced respondents, raises tend to start high for more recent graduates and then settle closer to 3% for attorneys with more than a decade of experience,” the report said.
On the salary front, the vast majority of respondents (89%) reported earning a base salary of at least $150,000.
In smaller cities, $150,000 to $199,000 is the most common salary range, while in larger markets the most common range is $200,000 to $249,000.
At the higher end of the pay spectrum, the media & entertainment industry saw the most respondents who say they earn $400,000 or more (17%).
Meanwhile, the insurance sector had the highest percentage of respondents (18%) who reported base salaries below $150,000.