How much am I worth? Head of legal department, US investment bank

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A panel of specialist headhunters give their assessment of typical pay


Salary of head of legal department (general counsel), US investment bank, in UK: 130,000 - 160,000 (€180,000 - €225,000) total package 700,000 - 1.2m

Getting the top legal slot in a major US investment bank is in a way a matter of

luck, as much as talent and experience. The pay is fantastic, but just a handful of individuals make this grade. Recruitment experts say there are probably about half a dozen investment bank lawyers making more than 700,000, and perhaps a dozen in the 300,000 - 500,000 range.

Kevin Cooper, a director at Longbridge, the recruitment firm, says that usually the head of legal slot goes to a home grown lawyer or someone working in another investment bank, although from time to time banks lure someone away from private practice at this level. More typically the move from a law firm into an investment bank takes place early in a lawyer's career, a few

years after qualifying.

From then, an ambitious lawyer would seek to get the broadest possible range

of product experience if she (or more typically he) aspires to the top slot.

"A crucial quality is to be able to have an overview of the delivery of

products," says Cooper. "They would probably have headed a group before and

would have strong personal qualities in terms of managing staff."

Bonus rates for general counsels have been very strong in recent years in

the bulge bracket banks, says Cooper, but the recruitment market has now

slowed down substantially. "A year ago people were naming their prices, but

supply and demand have changed enormously and there are fewer opportunities

in investment banks."

Figures and information for "How much am I worth?" are provided by the

following firms: Alexander Mann, Longbridge and Odgers Ray & Berndtson.