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.