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Demand for Lawyers Surges in Legal Departments, Salary Increases Follow

CAREERSDemand for Lawyers Surges in Legal Departments, Salary Increases Follow

67.5% of employees in the legal departments of companies received a pay rise in the past year, with nearly one in four seeing an increase of over 15%. This is according to the “Salary and Trends Report in Companies” by Grafton Recruitment. The research also indicated a 38% increase in job advertisements. Legislative pressure related to the growing role of new technologies and corporate social responsibility means that lawyers should not worry about job stability.

According to Grafton Recruitment’s report, work in legal departments is characterized by significant stability. Increasing salaries and satisfaction with employment mean that few lawyers consider changing jobs. Moreover, as experts have observed, companies are increasingly opting not to outsource legal services to external entities, but instead to expand their in-house teams.

The results of Grafton Recruitment’s study showed a 38% increase in job advertisements in legal departments compared to the third quarter of 2019 – the highest result among all departments surveyed. Demand for employees increases with the frequency and complexity of new regulations, of which, as experts explain, there is no shortage. A dramatic increase in demand for roles was observed after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and despite slight declines in 2022, it remains at a stable level.

“The requirement for companies to adapt to a new reality largely rests on the shoulders of legal departments. Many changes related to technological transformation require consideration in terms of appropriate regulations, which makes the role of these departments key in the development of enterprises. Currently, there is a large demand for legal services not only in the field of new technologies, but also intellectual property, sustainable development, including the growing social responsibility of corporations, not to mention the constantly changing tax and labor law regulations,” explains Ewa Michalska,  Grafton Recruitment.

Despite the demand for lawyers remaining above the accepted benchmark, there is also a noticeable decline in demand for roles in the compliance area. This state of affairs is due, among other things, to the fact that this area usually involves niche processes carried out mainly within Shared Service Centers, where fewer investments are observed.

62.5% of legal department employees declare that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their work. 67.5% say their work is stressful or very stressful – a higher stress factor is recorded only in the marketing and PR departments. The needs of legal department employees are most fully met in the area of non-wage benefits and development opportunities. These factors, as well as significant wage increases, mean that up to 40% of legal department employees do not currently think about changing their employer. This is the highest result among all departments surveyed.

“Legal area is, along with logistics, one of the two that in 2023 recorded the highest wage growth. As many as 22.5% of employees reported a wage increase of over 15%. Raises were not received by 32.5% of respondents. The rest received lower raises (up to 15%),” explains Ewa Michalska.

Salaries in legal departments are dependent on the position, experience, and location of the company. Lawyers earn the most in Warsaw. A junior lawyer can count on a salary of about 9.5 thousand zł there, whereas a senior lawyer can earn even 30 thousand zł. Of all the surveyed cities, lawyers are paid the least in Łódź and Poznań, whereas compliance directors in Warsaw can earn up to 45 thousand zł.

50% of the respondents work in stationary mode, the second highest result among the surveyed departments. Only 2.5% of legal department employees work fully remotely, the rest declare a hybrid model. However, the ability to work remotely ranks second to last in the hierarchy of important employment factors, stemming from the nature of lawyer’s work.

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