Profession lags behind in executive pay

LEGAL directors of the top corporations earn two-thirds of the average boardroom salary, a new survey reveals.

Research by New Bridge Street Consultants shows that legal specialists can expect to be paid about £75,000 less than other members of the board.

The survey also shows that the profession is under-represented in the top corporate echelons, with less than four per cent of leading positions taken up by lawyers.

David Tankel, director of New Bridge Street Consultants, said lawyers tended to take up company secretary positions rather than more highly paid posts such as finance director.

“It is not that there is injustice. It is just that lawyers tend to occupy the less commercially-important positions.”

The survey of the UK's top 500 stockmarket companies revealed that on average legal directors earned a basic salary of £137,000, generating total annual pay of £162,000. Tankel said this was 32 per cent below average.

Tim Razzall, retiring partner with Frere Cholmeley Bischoff, and a director of three listed companies, said the survey did not show that lawyers were being penalised. “A lot of lawyers end up doing the job of company secretary, which is not as well paid in big companies as some other functions.”