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Asian general counsel and their base compensation – huge differences across countries

A 2005 study by Laurence Simons [] draws on compensation data from 9,000 legal professionals and more than 50 multinationals in 16 countries.

The executive search firm published base salary data in U.S. dollars for six Asian countries. The only size category with full data consisted of departments with 1-5 lawyers. Note the astonishing inequality, based on the mid-point of the base salary ranges given.

Hong Kong $255,000
Singapore $187,000
Japan $142,000
Australia $143,000
China $ 89,000
India $ 39,000

If the quality of work has anything close to a match, no wonder the prospects of using low-cost offshore lawyers loom large.

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2 responses to “Asian general counsel and their base compensation – huge differences across countries”

  1. Paul Reynolds says:

    After 18 years of managing legal departments in Hong Kong, Manila and knowing the costs of hiring in-house counsel in Asia I feel comfortable in saying those figures are non-sensical. some are overstated (Hong Kong)while some are understated (China and Japan). I suspect the problem may be the size of some samples or respondents sometimes including, sometimes excluding housing allowance, home leave airfares and other high ticket benefits.

  2. Paul Reynolds says:

    I should add that several legal recruiters in Asia publish annual surveys of in -house salary and bounus tables . Their figures are often close to each other (I used them in my own salary reviews for lawyers working for our company)and do not correlate to those in the cited study.