Helping our clients build and grow their businesses,
by attracting the foremost in executive talent.

27/10/2011 Compensation of Legal Directors has grown

In October 2011 Morgan Hunt summed up the results of monitoring of the labor market situation in the field of jurisprudence. The aim was to identify changes in applicants’ preferences for such position as Head of Legal Department/ Vice-President for Legal Affairs as well as changes in their employers’ preferences. Opinions of more than 200 representatives of Russian and international companies, banks and Moscow candidates on Head of Legal position have been studied during this research. The results of the monitoring show that there are new trends appearing on the labor market. Companies’ and financial institutions’ requirements for knowledge and experience of candidates - leaders in the field of legal practice, are becoming more serious. Young professionals have to catch up with the trends of the time: to gain the necessary knowledge faster and grow professionally. Age limits for candidates who can interest an employer, is gradually reduced for younger candidates, who at the same time don’t yield in professionalism to older generation of candidates. Elizaveta Komolova, Morgan Hunt’s consultant of legal practice is telling more about the situation.

Number of offers from employers both in in-house (internal corporate lawyers) and in legal organizations increased on average in the market by 15% as compared to last year. However, if we compare the current situation with the similar situation in 2008-2009, we can admit that the growth of labor market in legal area hasn’t returned to pre-crisis levels. The number of offers from the applicants are in balance with companies’ opportunities and interests in Head of Legal positions. However, employers have quite serious approach to selection of candidates and prefer specialists with 3 years managing experience. Priority is given to those professionals who have lately worked on similar position for more than 3-4 years. Frequent changes of employers in candidates' CVs are not welcome. As Legal Directors companies and financial institutions see those specialists who are ready to work in different areas of law, so-called universalists. This trend can be seen on corporate lawyers’ market. About 65% of respondents confirmed this fact. However, there is an opinion about shortage of qualified candidates. It provoked by employers’ strict requirements in selecting professionals, and in law firms – by the need of candidates with highly specialized expertise.

Under these conditions, the most inventive and energetic professionals are aiming in a short time to get the same experience and expertise which have senior generation of specialists, putting their best efforts for their development. Some of them are successful in it. As a result, we see that nowadays there are many young and talented professionals on the market compared with the fact that in earlier period average age of specialist was 35-40 years. However there are only a few of them. Employers, as seen in practice, getting interested in them. We should assume that these candidates do not appear on the open market, their current employer clings to them, offering good compensation and career opportunities.

Talking with a candidate, employers pay attention to such qualities as quick decision-making, innovation and creativity. Internal mobility, adaptability and high motivation are also important. Business cases (often those which really appear in practice) are used to test candidates for Head of Legal position. When doing these tests candidates are needed to show the course of their thoughts and arguments. Most often, business cases don’t have just one right decision, and allow candidates to demonstrate their professionalism. Quick decision making is a great demand particularly in the fastest growing sectors where legal knowledge is frequently updated with the change of legislation. The example of such industry is IT / telecommunications sector. Most often this area requires professionals with creative thinking, as products or services here because of their innovativeness, requires an individual approach.

Salaries of Legal Directors have grown on average by 10-12% compared to the last year. Bonuses are common in law firms, where they are linked to successful projects and earnings. They can be fixed and not fixed. Corporate executives often receive bonuses for special achievements during the year or as part of compensation package. The amount of compensation depends on company’s size and other factors.

The table below presents the data on Legal Directors’ wages (based on the companies included in the top 100 on profit margins).