Some law schools boost in-house pay: here is how much

According to the “2022 Law Department Compensation Survey” released by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and consulting firm Empsight (that took into consideration the responses of 2,032 in-house legal professionals), the Top 20 law schools defined by the rankings from U.S. News & World Report are actually worth the investment for those who want to access in-house legal departments. In particular, these schools allow – more than others – to get to very well paid positions.

As a matter of fact, general counsels who graduated from a Top 20 law school earn 25% more in base salary than those who didn’t. They also make 41% more in total cash compensation.

The report also found other factors that drive compensation. Specifically:

  • Law school graduation year and previous work experience also contribute.
  • General counsel who graduated from law school before 2000 have 45% higher base salaries and 86% higher cash compensation than those who graduated after 2010.
  • Legal specialty also makes a huge difference.

“IP/patent litigation, entertainment, and licensing/royalty practice areas tend to pay base salaries well above the median while insurance, government relations, and risk management tend to pay below the median,” the report said.

It’s also worth noting that, according to the study:

  • Pension and ERISA work was the worst for any legal position, with rank-and-file attorneys earning 17% less than the median.
  • Experience at law firms boost salaries, to the tune of 20% compared with those attorneys who went straight to in-house following law school. 
  • Just 17% of respondents went straight to in-house after law school.
  • Regarding the noncompensation benefits provided by employers, 79% offer some form of remote work option, and 64% of in-house attorneys take advantage of that in the form of hybrid arrangements, with 24% being fully remote.

(Photo: Yale University, among the Top 20 law schools)

Some law schools boost in-house pay: here is how much

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