Energy and utilities sector tops general counsel survey

Senior in-house banking lawyers have been overtaken for the first time by their counterparts in the energy and utilities sector as the holders of the most lucrative in-house jobs.
A Europe-wide in-house counsel survey produced by recruitment firm Laurence Simons revealed that, in the UK, senior counsel (with between seven and 10 years’ post-qualification experience) in the energy and utilities sector brought in an average salary of e142,000 (£98,700) a year, compared with e140,000 (£97,300) in banking.
“Banking has traditionally been the best paid, but over the years the sort of candidates that utilities have been looking for has changed,” said Laurence Simons partner Naveen Tuli. “Now they’re looking for project finance people trained in City firms rather than taking on people who articled with the company and stayed for donkey’s years, as in the old days.”
Also competing for the top spot were lawyers in the IT and telecoms sector, who at the senior level earned e135,000 (£93,850) a year.
However, at a more junior level, the banking lawyers outstripped their competition, with junior counsel (two to three years qualified) taking home an average of e99,000 (£68,800) per year. Property and construction came next at e84,000 (£58,300).
The survey also revealed that the UK, Switzerland and Belgium remained the most lucrative European locations for in-house lawyers.
For the largest companies with a revenue of more than e11bn (£7.6bn), general counsels in the UK earned an average of e265,000 (£184,200) per year, compared with their Swiss and Belgium rivals, who earned an average of e248,000 (£172,400) and e240,000 (£166,850) respectively. Lowest in the general counsel salaries at the largest companies was France on e203,000 (£141,100), with Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands falling in between.
At a senior counsel level, which covered a wider variety of jurisdictions, Spanish lawyers earned the lowest salaries, making an average of just e67,000 (£46,600), which is less than those in similar roles in the Nordic region and in Russia.
Once again, the Swiss were the best paid, making an average of e146,000 (£101,500).