Pay data obtained mostly from large law departments makes lawyers in smaller departments feel bad

Organizations that collect compensation and benchmark data gravitate toward large law departments. They want to boast about the impressive number of lawyers among their respondents, the gargantuan revenue they support, and the league-table rankings of their participants.

The downside of the Fortune fetish is that the resulting metrics do not match well for the four more numerous smaller legal departments, who operate under different constraints. Compensation figures, especially, skew much higher for large departments. A recent post underscored this “income inequality.” The median cash compensation of a set of general counsel of smaller companies was less than the median cash compensation of specialist lawyers at predominantly large departments (See my post of May 23, 2012: preliminary data on compensation from General Counsel Metrics.).

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