Climbing Compensation

Good news general counsel: Your companies like you. They really like you—at least if a new report on GC pay is any indication. The study from compensation researcher Equilar Inc. showed that GCs’ salaries are rising at a faster rate than those of many other top executives, perhaps spurred by an increasing focus on compliance and regulatory reform.  

$1.55 million Median pay for Fortune 1000 general counsel who report directly to the CEO

$1.7 million Median compensation for general counsel in the tech, media and telecom industries (the highest-paying industries)

$1.1 million Median pay for GCs at retail and consumer firms (the lowest-paying industries)

$1.3 million Median salary for female GCs, compared to roughly $1.1 million for men

12.8% Increase in GC pay in 2011, compared to 6.2 percent for CEOs and 8.9 percent for CFOs

Approaching Anniversary

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) turns 35 on Dec. 19 (although companies such as Wal-Mart and Pfizer probably won’t be celebrating its birthday.) A new Deloitte survey of more than 2,100 professionals shows that most executives are planning to upgrade their anti-corruption programs next year, but notes that the vast majority of businesses are not making use of the newest technologies to help them in their quest for compliance.

55.4% Executives surveyed who plan to improve their companies’ corruption prevention and detection programs next year

23.2% Respondents who believe that the cost of those programs will be their biggest challenge in 2013

6% Executives who believe that their companies effectively use data visualization and analytics to prevent corruption

48.5% Respondents who say that offering rewards to whistleblowers encourages earlier internal reporting

Sinking Spending

Last month, an HBR Consulting survey reported that businesses spent more on both in-house and outside legal counsel than they had in the preceding two year period. Unfortunately, that trend may be coming to an end, at least according to the new 2012 Chief Legal Officer report from Altman Weil. The study shows that corporate legal departments are using various tactics to cut outside counsel spend, such as negotiating for lower rates, moving more work in-house or even taking their business to less expensive law firms.

39% CLOs who said they decreased their outside counsel budget between 2011 and 2012, up from 25 percent in the period between 2010 and 2011

71% Companies that negotiated with their law firms for lower rates

47% Law departments that shifted work from law firms to in-house attorneys

41% Companies that moved some of their work to less expensive firms

Demand Drop

The legal services sector added 600 jobs last month, but there was no corresponding rise in the demand for legal services. A new report by the Peer Monitor Index shows that the demand in the sector has dropped for the second straight quarter, affecting nearly every practice area. Firms’ direct and overhead expenses also increased by 3.5 and 3.4 percent, respectively, during the same period.

-0.8% Decline in billable hours in the third quarter, following an 0.2% decline in the second quarter

2.5% Increase in demand for labor and employment work, the only sector to see higher demand

-1.3% Decline in the demand for litigation

4% Increase in billable hours in New York, the only city to see such an uptick

Female-Friendly Firms

Can women have it all? It’s a question that’s been bandied about for years, and one that was recently brought back into focus by Anne-Marie Slaughter’s now-famous Atlantic cover story. The good news for women lawyers is that more firms are introducing policies such as child care, flex-time and generous parental leave.

A new report from Working Mother Magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers spotlights 50 of these firms in its list of the 2012 Best Law Firms for Women (BLF). And don’t worry menfolk—the report notes that many of these firm policies extend to male employees as well.

21% Executive committee seats at the BLF that are held by women, up from 19 percent in 2011

18% Percent of equity partners that are women at the BLF, compared to the national average of 15 percent

17% Percentage of lawyers using flex-time at the BLF, up from 11 percent in 2011

15 Weeks of fully paid maternity leave for female lawyers at these firms, which also offer six weeks of paid paternity leave

31% Featured law firms that had no women among their top 10 rainmakers