News reports about the overall U.S. economy may still be trending negative, but there is good news in the results of our 2011 Law Department Compensation Benchmarking Survey. In our analysis of compensation data from 4,951 lawyers in nine law department positions, employed within 225 corporate law departments, we found that compensation for in-house lawyers (both salary and bonus) are finally on the upswing this year after stalling out last year.

Check out the Law Department Compensation Benchmarking Survey Charts for the big numbers from the survey. We found that law departments reported positive gains in bonuses for all positions. Compared to last year, bonuses increased from a low of 0.44% ($180,800) CLOs/GCs to a high of 58% ($23,700) for in-house attorneys. All positions except CLO/GC saw double-digit increases in bonuses.

Two of the four management positions reported an increase in salary from last year: Division general counsel is up 3.1% ($233,500) and managing attorney went up 5.0% ($200,000), while CLO/GC decreased -3.5% ($329,400) and deputy CLO decreased -4.9% ($229,500).

Four of the five non-management positions also reported salary increases: high level specialists were up 5.9% ($180,000), senior attorneys saw gains of 0.8% ($148,200), attorneys were up 4.1% ($115,800), and recent graduates notched an increase of 2.3% ($65,600). Only the staff attorney position showed a slight decline, down -1.6% ($78,700).

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