Salary Guide 2017: Legal

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The continued drive for talent in the large law firms is the most striking aspect of legal recruitment over the past 12 months.

There is also no sign of slowdown on the number of in-house legal positions opening up in various sectors. One of key factors affecting recruitment in legal is the growth of in-house legal teams. As a greater number of lawyers are moving in-house, this creates openings in private practice. This is compounded with general economic growth to put further pressure on practices to source the right talent to service the increased workload.

Legal Salary Guide in House

RoleYears' ExperienceDublin
Head of Legal 5+ 100 - 300k 100k - 275k 100k - 250k 90k - 200k
Senior Lawyer 5+ 80k - 150k 80k - 140k 70k - 120k 65k - 100k
Lawyer 1 - 3 45k - 80k 45k - 65k 42k - 60k 38k - 48k
3 - 5 80k - 100k 65k - 90k 60k - 85k 48k - 70k
Newly Qualified Solicitor 0 - 1 45k - 70k 42k - 60k 40k - 50k 35k - 45k
Junior Company Secretary 1 - 2 40k - 55k 40k - 50k 40k - 45k 30k - 40k
Company Secretary 2 - 4 50k - 70k 45k - 60k 45k - 55k 35k - 45k

Legal Salary Guide in Private Practice

RoleYears' ExperienceDublin
Solicitor 1 - 3 45k - 80k 42k - 60k 37k - 50k 35k - 45k
3 - 5 65k - 90k 60k - 75k 50k - 70k 45k - 65k
5+ 90k - 120k 75k - 120k 70k - 100k 65k - 90k
Newly Qualified Solicitor 0 - 1 40k - 65k 35k - 45k 35k - 45k 32k - 42k
Company Secretary 1 - 2 40k - 55k 40k - 50k 40k - 45k 30k - 40k
2 - 4 55k - 70k 50k - 55k 45k - 50k 40k - 50k

Commentary on Legal Roles and Remuneration in Ireland for 2017

Practices will not compromise on service levels and so, despite the shortage of talent, only those candidates with the right experience will be considered. This results in certain roles remaining unfilled for longer periods than desired.

In private practice there are ongoing openings in corporate, commercial property and banking. Funds teams continue to welcome new talent and aviation is also a key growth area in many large firms.

In industry, solicitors with commercial contracts experience are key for technology companies and in financial services funds experience is sought after. Lawyers with aircraft leasing experience are also highly sought after by companies in that space.

In terms of the ratio of male vs females in the legal market, the balance shifted towards female for the first time in 2014 with just over 50% of those holding practising certificates being women. Ireland was the first country in the world to find the balance in favour of females. As of the end of 2015 this was over 51%.  

14% of solicitors are now working in-house. If you add in those working in the public sector this comes to almost 20%. It is worth noting that 63% of solicitors working in-house roles are female.

We are seeing a return of some legal professionals who may have spent time working in the UK and elsewhere. This has not yet increased dramatically but it is something we expect will increase particularly in areas of legal affected by Brexit such as financial services and competition law.

As for solicitors moving abroad, offshore locations like the Caribbean, Channel Islands and the Middle East provide strong opportunities for those with the correct PQE levels and qualifications.

Legal and Compliance is a growing area for companies as regulatory frameworks are becoming more complex, this includes sectors outside of financial services. Where traditionally we have seen compliance professionals moving into these roles, many US led companies prefer to hire compliance professionals who are qualified as lawyers. For this reason we have seen openings for lawyers in compliance teams within pharma, tech and financial services.

Flexible working is not very common for solicitors. Some solicitors do have arrangements such as working from home or part time however generally this is an arrangement that is reached through tenure rather than from the outset. 

Salaries will level out as the post-recession increase in the firms is levelling out, this dictates how the rest of the market will react. As always in areas where there are less candidates companies will continue pay a premium, where the budget allows.

Areas in which training and further qualifications are becoming valued more and more are data protection, compliance and company secretarial. For other areas hands on experience is most relevant.

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