Discretionary bonuses dropping, says US survey on in-house lawyers

September 6, 2010 A survey into compensation for in-house counsel has reported that pay has dropped across the board in the past year, and even top lawyers at major corporations are affected. While salaries and stock awards have increased slightly over the period, discretionary bonuses dropped nearly 40 per cent.

Experts explain the drop in discretionary bonuses by pointing to the slow economy and the increased visibility under recently changed SEC rules. The rules companies to go into greater detail about how they calculate compensation for top executives, and it is thought that discretionary bonuses would not create a favourable corporate image in the current economic environment.

According to commentators, the increased scrutiny upon compensation will effect changes in how top lawyers are compensated - companies will still look for ways to keep their top lawyers and provide healthy compensation – but they will structure it differently.

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