Energy lawyers scoop biggest pay packets

In-house energy lawyers are among the best paid in the country, according a new salary survey that shows their average wage outstrips counterparts in the banking sector for the first time.

The survey, conducted by recruiters GRS Group, found the average remuneration for energy companies’ heads of legal was £234,000, made up of a base salary of £160,000 and £74,000 bonus.

Second tier legal managers in the energy sector command an average £117,000 salary and £40,000 bonus while legal counsel of more than seven years’ PQE averaged a wage of £92,000 and £24,000 bonus.

The basic salary is on average 8.8 per cent higher than counterparts in the commerce and industry sector, with bonuses an average 5.4 per cent higher. Average bonuses for the energy sector grew some 19 per cent in 2005.

In-house salaries in the energy sector have risen on average 7 per cent in 2006, compared to a 4.8 per cent rise in 2005. This compares with average private practice salaries which rose some 9 per cent.

Other highlights from the survey include 51 per cent of companies and 74 per cent of law firms citing a shortage of suitable candidates making recruitment difficult, reflecting the dearth of quality associates in corporate and real estate practices.

The survey polled 433 energy lawyers across 88 companies and 61 law firms.