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The comp chasm between corporate law departments and other law departments

Data from Abbott, Langer’s survey of 111 organizations, published December 2005, highlights the dollars paid corporate in-house lawyers compared to the cents paid government, non-profit, and university lawyers. The big bucks go to the likes of certain manufacturers and “providers of business services” (median total cash compensation in the $240,000s) and several other industries (medians around $175,000).

The lowest median incomes were in state and local governments ($64,350), nonprofits ($69,112) and educational institutions ($88,855). Such benefits as quality of life, public service, pensions, do-goodness, and free tuition must be impressive to make up for incomes less than half of corporate brethren.

Obviously, if your law department wants comparable compensation data to benchmark against, you need to be sure that your industry has adequate representation in a survey and that the survey breaks out the metrics along industry lines.

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