Commerce & Industry UK Market Report & Salary Guide 2016

We are delighted to announce the launch of our Commerce & Industry UK Market Report & Salary Guide 2016. It has been quite an eventful year so far in the UK to say the least, both politically and economically. From Brexit to a change in Prime Minister and a cabinet reshuffle, the second half of 2016 is certainly different to the beginning of the year. So, how have these seismic changes affected the in-house legal landscape?

In reality, not a great deal has changed in the short term and for the most part it’s very much business as usual for many of our clients. However, we cannot ignore the potential changes that may happen once Article 50 is eventually triggered and the UK formally begins the process to leave the European Union. For the time being though whatever potential changes being suggested are loose speculation.

Whilst the UK in-house legal landscape hasn’t changed drastically in 2016, our research shows three main areas that are worth highlighting; the increase of newly created positions, the rise of contract lawyers and the General Counsel market.

Newly created positions

In the first half of 2016, the UK legal in-house market saw the same level of buoyancy that was experienced in the latter part of 2015, which is the best we’ve seen post the 2008 financial crisis (has it really been that long?!). Encouragingly, a large proportion of Taylor Root’s instructions over the past 12 months have been newly created positions as companies increase headcount within their legal teams. There has been an increasing number of companies – particularly in the technology sector – introducing their first in-house lawyer. From speaking with our General Counsel clients about the reasons for this increase, many of them reported that in addition to increased business activity, the increased cost of utilising external counsel has encouraged them to undertake a cost/benefit analysis leading them to present a successful business case for an additional legal hire. Our survey identified that 40% of legal teams have seen an increase in the last 12 months. The technology, media, retail and leisure sectors have seen the biggest increases.

Contract lawyers

We have seen an increasing number of lawyers opting to work on an interim or contract basis in 2016. Similarly the in-house legal market has embraced this model as a cost-effective way of bringing in specialist legal skill sets for a defined period of time. There has definitely been an insurgence of opportunities for interim lawyers across all PQE levels over the past three years and particularly during 2015 and the first half of 2016. With an abundance of in-house contract roles available, our interim division – Fluid Resourcing - has witnessed more lawyers recognising the benefits of working on an interim basis and making the jump from full time employment to a more flexible interim role. We anticipate this trend will continue especially with the UK’s uncertain political and economic future.

General Counsel

The ‘Holy Grail’ of in-house legal positions. Well, that’s a bit dramatic but given that salaries are rising year-on-year across all sectors (with variance depending on sector) it’s not surprising that more lawyers seek to reach the pinnacle of the in-house legal world. With General Counsel opportunities being limited and competition being tougher than ever, there is an increasingly strong pool of talent wanting that much sought after top spot. The role of the General Counsel is evolving. It’s becoming more common for General Counsels to oversee an increasing number of different departments within their company including: Company Secretarial, Data Protection, Compliance, Health and Safety and HR.

**Our Market Report & Salary Guide discusses these topics in greater detail as well as providing salary bands by PQE level and sector, including the General Counsel market. For a more detailed discussion, please contact me on 020 7415 2828 or sarahingwersen@taylorroot.com. If you would request a copy, please contact me or 2016 Commerce & Industry Market Report & Salary Guide.