BP Amoco matches City firms’ salaries

BP Amoco’s in-house legal department is entering the bidding war for lawyers by reviewing its pay structure to bring it in line with City rates.

BP Amoco group general counsel Peter Bevan has commissioned a report to review rates of pay for lawyers from newly-qualified associates up to partner level.

He says: “If you take the lawyers from our City complex and to some extent throughout the rest of the UK, our recruits are traditionally from private practice and we need to be able to offer competitive salaries and competitive conditions.

“We can get good information [about pay] at associate level. The more senior the lawyer becomes the less accurate the information is.”

While the legal department is planning to review its base pay structure, Bevan says that bonus rates will also be examined.

He says that the option is available for lawyers to be awarded bonuses for billable hours as the in-house department monitors the amount of time legal staff rack up.

But he says: “Our system is based on the performance of the company. Or if they look after a particular business area we will be looking at the contribution of that lawyer.”

Over the past two months BP has taken on five lawyers and Bevan says that the company is planning to recruit more.

BP employs more than 50 lawyers in the UK and 270 worldwide. As well as its main office in London the company has bases in Aberdeen and Milton Keynes.