Top in-house lawyers in the North West can now command salaries of up to £150,000 after a year that saw pay packages rise across the region.
The average salary for senior in-house counsels in the North West rose from £82,386 in 2004 to £86,000 last year. Salaries for junior in-housers rose too, with a one-year post-qualification experience (PQE) lawyer commanding pay of £33,000 in 2005 compared with £32,000 in 2004.
Recruiter BCL Legal carried out a survey of 130 companies across the region to reach the findings. It found on average that a higher number of in-house counsels now receive a car allowance and a bonus than in 2004, with 66 per cent now on an average bonus of £8,500.
The biggest salary hikes came for two year-PQE in-house lawyers, who enjoyed an increase of 10 per cent between 2004 and 2005. On average, North West in-house counsels at this level now earn £38,000 compared with £34,500 a year earlier.
The greatest difference between minimum and maximum salaries was at the five-year PQE level, ranging from £45,000 to £84,000.
BCL consultant Mark Levine said the construction sector tended to pay most generously.
He added: "Clients have to be competitive within the marketplace."