No doubt, the Human Resources department controls many aspects of compensation for members of legal departments. They enforce corporate policies about amounts of raises, eligibility, mid-year corrections, promotions, titles, bonuses, equity awards and everything else. To regulate its domain, HR obtains data on lawyer compensation and uses that data to support or challenge what a general counsel would like to do.
The HR department often buys compensation data from third-party surveys and the law department might never know about the data or the participant group – or be able to learn from the management metrics that sometimes come bundled together.
To counterbalance the HR hegemony, general counsel take part in compensation surveys, therefore, is so that they can respond knowledgeably and persuasively to the data brandished by HR. Rarely does HR push general counsel to pay more! As with metrics on staffing and spending, general counsel sometimes want their own independent source to arm them for internecine power struggles.