Salaries rise and bonuses fall at Canadian firms

November 9, 2011 Interesting article here that speculates upon bonuses and salaries in large Canadian law firms. According to Dal Bhathal, the managing director of legal recruitment firm Eastern Canada for The Counsel Network, large firms awarded generous bonuses last year because the volume of work they were seeing boosted confidence. But things have changed, he says, because of the upheaval in the global economy.

The article speculates that it’s unlikely that 2011 bonuses will match those paid last year, though associate salaries are continuing to rise. “Because of the quiet purge of associates that has been going on, firms are still able to pay more for the elite talent, so salaries are increasing,” says Adam Lepofsky of recruitment firm The Rainmaker Group. “But as far as hiring goes, the firms are staying lean because associates are averaging some 200 and 300 and even 400 below their targetted billable hours of 1700 or 1800 annually.”

The Robert Half Legal 2012 Salary Guide anticipates that first-year associates at large law firms will see salary increases of just 0.4% in 2012, to a range between $82,000 and $89,500. Lawyers with one to three years’ experience are likely to see an average salary rise of 1.3% to a range between $87,000 and $119,500. Those with four to nine years’ experience can expect a raise of 2.8 % to a range between $126,500 and $228,750, while lawyers with 10-12 years’ experience are at 2.9% in a range between $185,00 and $264,750.

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