A third of in-house counsel had Covid-19 pay cuts, survey finds

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), in partnership with Empsight International released the 2020 Law Department Compensation reports. The project actually comprises two main components, which underline both the impact of Covid-19 and the main trends on compensation. With more than 17.000 global in-house legal professionals surveyed also in Switzerland, the data reflect the most recent outlook of this year, as they’re collected in June and July of 2020.

Despite Covid-19, 70 to 78% indicated hiring plans are unchanged. Furthermore, depending on position, 16 to 20% said to have implemented a hiring freeze. Between 0.5 and 1.8% of respondents said they implemented a layoff because of the pandemic whereas only 0.6% to 4.3% of companies have implemented a furlough in the legal department.

Furthermore, for departments administering merit increases, across all revenue levels and organizational types, the median 2020 merit budget is three percent. This is the same (three percent) for total salary budget, suggesting no additional money will be allocated for promotions or other increases.

Fewer than 3% of law departments saw their pay boosted because they had to work extra hours in response to the crisis. That’s why some in-house lawyers might see their pay decline this year: indeed, about one-third of law department respondents said their organizations have cut salaries because of Covid-19.

Finally, according to the report, Covid-19 may have a lasting effect on work from home programs for legal departments: 25 percent are considering maintaining remote work programs after the pandemic ends.