Robert Half Legal Releases Annual Salary Guide

Average Starting Salaries for Legal Jobs Projected to Rise 2.7 Per Cent in 2016

TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2015 /CNW/ - Starting salaries for legal professionals in Canada are expected to increase 2.7 per cent overall in 2016, according to the just-released Robert Half Legal 2016 Salary Guide. Law firm lawyers with more than 10 years of professional experience should see greater-than-average salary gains. Among legal specialists, litigation support/eDiscovery directors are expected to see the largest gains in annual base compensation.

Robert Half Legal is a legal staffing and consulting solutions firm specializing in lawyers, law clerks and other highly skilled legal professionals. The company's annual Salary Guide is based on extensive research, as well as local and national employment data gathered from Robert Half Legal offices throughout North America.

"Hiring in the legal field is gaining momentum as law firms and companies respond to rising demand for legal services," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "Law firms are expanding practice groups to support growth in real estate, corporate law and litigation while legal departments are building teams to manage more legal matters in-house."

Volkert noted that legal professionals with expertise in high-demand specialties are in short supply and receiving multiple employment offers or counteroffers. "Employers who are reluctant to offer competitive compensation packages or expedite the hiring process risk losing highly sought-after legal professionals to other organizations," he said.

Lawyer Positions
According to Robert Half Legal, average starting salaries for lawyers at law firms are expected to increase 3.5 per cent in 2016. Starting salaries for lawyers with 10-plus years' experience at a midsize law firm (35 to 75 lawyers) are expected to increase 4.5 per cent from 2015, to the average range of $165,250 to $233,500 annually. At a small-to-midsize law firm (10 to 35 lawyers), lawyers with the same level of experience are projected to see starting salaries rise 4.2 per cent, to the range of $139,750 to $203,250 per year. First-year associates are expected to earn between $87,250 and $99,750 at large law firms (more than 75 lawyers), a 3.0 per cent increase over 2015 projections.

Corporate lawyers are expected to see average compensation gains of 2.9 per cent over 2015 levels. Starting salaries for in-house counsel with four to nine years' experience at large companies (more than $250 million in revenue) are projected to rise 3.3 per cent, to the range of $149,500 to $246,000 annually.

Legal Support Positions
Overall, salary increases of 2.4 per cent are expected for law firm law clerks in 2016. At small to midsize law firms, law clerks with four to six years' experience should see average starting salaries rise by 3.4 per cent, to the range of $50,000 to $64,000 annually.

Legal assistants at law firms can expect average starting salaries to increase 2.0 per cent in 2016. The greatest gains in starting salaries are expected for legal assistants with three to six years' experience at small to midsize law firms. These professionals should see salaries in the range of $42,000 to $51,750 per year, a 2.7 per cent increase from 2015.

Legal Specialist Positions
On average, starting salaries for legal specialists are predicted to rise 3.9 per cent. Litigation support/eDiscovery directors with 10-plus years' experience should see the greatest gains, with starting salaries increasing by 5.8 per cent, to the annual range of $98,500 to $129,750.

Other key findings from the Robert Half Legal 2016 Salary Guide include:

  • Contract managers can expect average starting salaries to rise by 5.6 per cent, to the range of $69,000 to $101,750 per year.
  • Compliance directors with 10-plus years' experience can expect their base compensation to increase 5.4 per cent on average, to the range of $176,000 to $238,000 annually. 
  • Compensation for lease administrators is projected to increase 5.2 per cent, to the annual range of $55,000 to $77,250.
  • Midlevel law clerks with four to six years' experience at a large company (more than $250 million in revenue) should see average salary ranges of $58,500 to $71,500 per year, a 2.8 per cent increase.
  • Legal assistants with three to six years' experience at a large company are expected to earn starting salaries of $46,000 to $59,750 annually, a 1.9 per cent increase from 2015.

About the Robert Half Legal Salary Guide
The Robert Half Legal 2016 Salary Guide includes projected starting salary ranges for more than 100 positions in the legal field. This information is derived from the thousands of full-time and project placements handled nationwide by Robert Half Legal's recruiting and staffing professionals. Continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported as a number of factors, such as service time and work ethic, make ongoing pay difficult to measure. Bonuses, incentives and other forms of compensation, including benefits and retirement packages, also are not taken into account.

Robert Half Legal's annual Salary Guide is used extensively by law firms and corporate legal departments to determine appropriate compensation levels for employees. In addition, job seekers, academic institutions and legal associations rely on the guide for current data on salaries and trends in the legal field.

About Robert Half Legal
Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal provides a customized approach, including managed review, legal project management and eDiscovery services, to help organizations handle constantly changing workloads. The company offers in-demand expertise across practice areas as well as highly skilled legal professionals on a temporary, project and full-time basis. More information, including online job search services, can be found at roberthalflegal.ca. Follow our Legal Blog at blog.roberthalflegal.com and @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for workplace news, trends and advice.

SOURCE Robert Half Legal

For further information: Naz Araghian, 416.865.2140, naz.araghian@roberthalf.com


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