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Companies are boosting their bonus packages for corporate counsel to take account of surging private practice salaries, according to research released today (22 June).The Taylor Root’s annual survey of in-house salaries shows average salaries rising by 6.5% in the year 2000/2001, the same level as the previous year.However, the survey of more than 400 leading companies and institutions finds increasing use of bonuses to compensate for higher pay in private practice, with the average remuneration rising by more than 15%.In the South, this was equivalent to bonuses rising from 15% of total remuneration in 1999/2000 to 30% this year.The survey also found wide differences in the pay range, which range from £48,000 in the bottom quartile to £205,000 for the most highly paid. Regional differences remain important. The average basic salary for a head of legal in the South was £108,000 with a total package, (including basic salary, car and bonus) amounting to £146,000.In the Midlands and the North the average basic salary for the top legal position was £88,000 with a total package of £115,000.Commenting on the results, Taylor Root partner Nick Root said: “The real movement was at the top end of the scale, namely the heads of legal.”“When we recruit for heads of legal now we are looking at packages of £150,000 to £200,000. Five years ago that figure would have been £120,000. The average for a head of legal has shot up over the past five-to-ten years.”The report follows last month’s benchmarker survey, published by our sister magazine Legal Director, which found industry dissatisfaction over salaries. Nearly one quarter of the 100 senior counsel who responded to the survey said they felt underpaid.

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