Mark Levine
Mark Levine
Managing Director: In-house

Articles From the Team

If your move meant accepting a lower basic salary but higher overall potential would you accept it?

A lawyer that we are dealing with is currently in a private practice role that pays £80,000 with no bonus. An organisation that we are assisting has offered £75,000 but with a bonus system that based on the last 5 years would add an additional c£20,000 to her package. The client’s view point is that this offer constitutes a 25% increase on their current situation. The lawyer with the offer says that she needs the guarantee of the £80,000 salary and can’t rely on a bonus that however likely to pay out is not guaranteed.

What would you do? In my experience no one likes going backwards on basic salary and I totally get that. On the other hand, in-house packages are often put together differently to private practice ones. In private practice you are likely to get your basic salary and a bonus dependent on your chargeable hours. So yes you can get a bonus but it means burning the midnight oil in the office to get it.

Working in-house a package is often made up of basic salary, bonus (dependent on both the company hitting its targets and the individual completing their responsibilities). My experience over the years is that most in-house roles want to pay out bonuses to their employees as opposed to dangling it as a carrot that can never be eaten.

Most lawyers prefer certainty and would prefer this over the gamble of greater take home pay that a bonus may give them. It can be hard for companies who have hundreds if not thousands of staff paid in a certain format to change for one lawyer, but at the same time it can be hard for a private practice lawyer to give up some certainty now for the ‘promise’ of more in 12 months time.

My only comment is that if a business has a track record of paying out bonuses and it is a role/ change of environment that you are after, and then sometimes you have to just go with the flow and believe in the in-house remuneration system.

For more information contact Mark Levine at BCL Legal.

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