In-house lawyers who are highly engaged with business processes and valued for their work are likely to earn more than their peers, according to the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA). The ACLA In-House Counsel 2014 Report: Reward, Recognition and Influence was published on June 2 2014.
The report was based on a survey completed by 239 in-house counsel across Australia and included practitioners from a wide range of industries and organisations. Data from the survey was used to investigate the relationship between remuneration, appraisal systems, attitudes and engagement/value/influence (EVI).
A key finding from the report is that in-house legal professionals who are highly engaged during the early stages of business received a total median earning of $275,000 per year while those who were not engaged received an average of $168,000.
Although the data reflected a clear relationship between engagement and remuneration, the report stated that it is not possible to determine whether or not this is a causal effect.
Remuneration also appeared to have a strong link with certain types of performance measures. In- house lawyers who were subject to CEO appraisals and financial Key Performance Measures (KPIs) received higher salaries on average than those whose performances were measured by non-financial KPIs.
The survey also measured the extent to which each organisation valued the legal department, but found no relationship between value and remuneration.
However, the results did indicate that both highly engaged and valued individuals were overall more satisfied with their work.
The research also examines value added benefits such as bonuses, high superannuation and tax benefits. Interestingly, the data confirmed no relationship between total remuneration and overall satisfaction. One exception highlighted by the ACLA is that the average income of individuals who perceived themselves as a valued was $51, 000 above typical earnings within their profession.
“This suggests that perceiving yourself as valued individually as a lawyer is not, in itself, an indicator of overall satisfaction, but rather an outcome of remuneration.”
Overall, engagement with business process was a key indicator throughout many of the report’s findings. As well as receiving higher incomes, engaged team members were found to be more satisfied in their work, more valued by their organisations and more likely to take on leadership roles.