In-House Interrogatory

moneyshirtAsked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

Looks like life is good these days if you are a general counsel in the extractive/chemical/mining, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals or medical devices industries.

Those GCs are among the highest-paid corporate attorneys in the country, according to a new survey released by legal search firm Major Lindsey & Africa and General Counsel Metrics. For the study, 1,700 lawyers were asked about compensation in their law departments.

The survey also found the lowest paid general counsels worked in the nonprofit, government, education, construction and engineering sectors.

General counsels with more than 20 years experience make $300,000 or more in total cash compensation. While those with 30 years of experience have the highest compensation, bonuses are not related to years of experience  – company size and industry are more important factors.

Here’s our question for you:

In your experience, do the compensation findings in the study hold up?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • Jacksonville’s general counsel wrote a legal opinion about how her own appointment was legal.
  • The general counsel at University of Central Arkansas resigned.
  • Environmental Tectonics Corporation named a new VP/general counsel.

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

The numbers are in.

The top-paid general counsel in the United States last year was Brackett Denniston III of General Electric, who earned a salary of $10.9 million.

The country’s other top-earning GCs came from CBS, Bank of America and Time Warner.

There is good news all around for in-house counsel. The survey by Corporate Counsel found that the average salary for general counsels was up 7 percent, to a high of $1,853,671. Average bonuses were also up 50 percent.

So here’s our question for you:

Does this year’s survey reflect earnings at your company?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

Today we take a trip into foreign relations in the In-House Interrogatory.

The American Bar Association is talking about new rules regarding foreign in-house counsel, Corporate Counsel reports. The association’s commission on ethics has made several proposals.

The first rule would allow judges to let foreign lawyers appear before them in the United States pro hac vice. Another new rule would make it legal for foreign attorneys to take jobs as in-house counsel at an office in the United States as long as they are only working for one company. An additional proposal would let foreign attorneys register as in-house counsel in the country.

So here’s our question for you:

Do you agree with these new proposed rules? Should there be fewer restrictions on foreign general counsels in the United States?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

It’s all about staying out of trouble in this week’s In-House Interrogatory.

Corporate Counsel has a story with tips on how in-house counsel can avoid becoming targets of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The article says to be on the look out for risky transactions, make note  of employee complaints, seek outside counsel in times of doubt and avoid going along with everything the company’s business team says and does.

So, here’s our question for you:

What are your tips for staying careful and avoiding sticky situations with the Department of Justice?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

Companies are increasingly giving general counsels a larger role (and a larger chunk of money) as they are forced to beef up their legal teams to protect themselves from regulatory and legal risks, The Wall Street Journal reports.

This means GCs take on more of a management role at companies and get paid more. In fact, at some companies, in-house counsel are among the top five paid executives.

According to a report to be released Monday by compensation researcher Equilar Inc., the median pay for general counsel who report directly to chief executives was $1.55 million—more than twice that of those further down the corporate hierarchy, whose median pay was $760,000,” the Journal reported.

General counsels are getting paid more as they work with executives on business goals and map out possible risks for their company.

So, here’s our question for you:

Have general counsels taken on more of an executive position at your company? If so, has their pay increased?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • The American Red Cross appointed a new general counsel.
  • Marathon Oil named a executive vice president, general counsel and secretary.
  • Entecom’s general counsel retired.
  • What in-house counsel wants and doesn’t want from outside counsel.
  • The National Labor Relations Board’s Division of Judges disposed of 645 cases in FY 2012, issuing 207 decisions and settling 438 cases.
  • Attorneys for a few Penn State administrators say the university’s former GC violated attorney-client privilege by helping prosecutors build a case against the school’s former VP and athletic director.
  • In-house attorneys say a move in-house is no longer a career downshift.
  • J.P. Morgan revamps its legal team.

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

Ever wonder why general counsel fire outside firms?

A U.K-based market research firm put that question to a couple thousand in-house attorneys in 45 different countries. Out of the top five answers, three centered on the cost-to-value ratio and the other two focused on lack of client maintenance — one, particularly, on client maintenance when a key contact leaves the firm. The top reasons were published in American Lawyer:

• “They were doing a bad job: no results and a lot of invoices.”

• “Poor service. Lots of delay. When challenged, they were completely up front and just said [they] don’t have enough resources, which is pretty astonishing for an international law firm.”

• “It has to do with quality and price. We paid thirty or forty thousand euros, more or less for nothing. So, they had to go.”

•”The main client relationship [partner] left the firm. I find that often when partners leave, those firms neglect to contact clients to say we still want your business and we have signed a new relationship manager. They tend not to correspond with you. Yet the partner who leaves always contacts you from the new firm.”

•”There was a severe lack of relationship between what the bills were and what the value delivered was.”

So, here’s our question for you:

What are the main reasons you would fire outside counsel or have fired outside counsel in the past?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • Telecom’s group general counsel quit.
  • More shake-ups in News Corp.’s legal department.
  • The University of California, Irvine School of Law will open an in-house counsel certificate program next summer.
  • The former associate general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline talked about being acquitted of criminal charges last year.
  • Everything’s bigger in Texas: general counsel compensation is up 11 percent in the Lone Star State.
  • General counsels are increasingly sought out by CEOs for advice.
  • Follow us on Twitter for In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse
  • Want the latest on who’s been hired, fired or moving and shaking in between? Head to our Movers and Shakers page to find out.
  • For networking events and other happenings this week in Maryland, check out our calendar of events.
  • Get the very latest updates from our law reporters on Twitter: @TDRKristi, @Steve_Lash
  • Check out The Daily Record on Facebook.

In-House Interrogatory

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

The deputy general counsel at Verizon Wireless is taking the reverse commute and moving to a job at a law firm after spending 24 years in-house. John Thorne started at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel PLLC in Washington, D.C., this week.

Thorne was involved in a lot of high-profile antitrust cases while he was with Verizon and said he chose to take the job at the law firm because wanted “to do new things.”

So, here’s our question for you:

What are the top reasons an in-house attorney would move out-of-house when many do the opposite — move in-house after many years at a law firm?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

No money, mo problems

Looks like more bad news this week for law school graduates.

Starting salaries for the class of 2011 are down across the board. Mean starting salaries for first-year associates fell 6.5 percent, according to numbers from the National Association for Law Placement.

The class of 2010 was paid a mean salary of $84,111, while the class of 2011′s mean salary was $78,653, according to the data. Mean salaries fell 15 percent compared to the class of 2009, which reported a mean salary of $93,454.

The median salary fell from $63,00 to $60,000 between 2010 and 2011,  according to the data.

Last month, we wrote about law school graduate employment numbers falling across the country, including for law school grads in Maryland. Fewer than half of the state’s law school graduates from the class of 2011 have full-time, permanent jobs, according to American Bar Association data released in June. Both Maryland law schools, the University of Baltimore School of Law and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, had numbers that fell below the national average of 55 percent.

Then there’s that Boston law firm that advertised a first-year associate position with $10,000 salary.

So, per this week’s news, not only are fewer recent law school grads finding jobs, those who have, are getting paid less. But, hey, at least it’s Friday?

In-House Interrogatory

This week it is all about Facebook and Twitter, even for general counsels.

Asked: Our weekly question to the In-House community

National Labor Relations Board Acting General Counsel Lafe E. Solomon issued his latest report on employee social media use May 30, his third in less than a year. Solomon examined the practices of several companies’ social media policies but basically maintains that when companies create too many rules for social media use, they violate the National Labor Relations Act by limiting employee rights.

Solomon is also not the only one talking social media in the workplace lately. The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill in April banning employers from asking employees for their passwords to their social media accounts.

Here’s our question for you:

What are your companies’ policies on social media use and how do you deal with the issue as a general counsel?

Leave a comment below or email me.

Need to Know:

  • Now as to what’s what in the in-house world. This week, we have general counsels coming, going, even taking pay cuts. We have the details on the biggest moves in the industry:
  • Fannie Mae made its general counsel, Timothy J. Mayopoulos, its new CEO. Mayopoulos, however, will go from pulling in about $2.66 million a year to a $600,000 annual salary.
  • Weather Channel Companies named George Callard its new general counsel. The catch? This guy could be in for a bumpy ride after a former anchor/reporter filed suit against the company alleging new management did not let her take time off to serve in the Air Force Reserves.
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure named Ellen D. Willmott  as its new general counsel, the group announced Wednesday. Willmott comes to the the breast cancer charity organization from Save the Children USA.
  • To get more in-house counsel news, sign up for our FREE monthly email newsletter, In-House Counsel. The newsletter is a compilation of The Daily Record’s coverage of in-house counsel news as well as job listings, movements within the industry and other resources. Click here to sign up today.
  • Follow us on Twitter for the In-House news and discussion: @TDRInHouse
  • Want the latest on who’s been hired, fired or moving and shaking in between? Head to our Movers and Shakers page to find out.
  • For networking events and other happenings this week in Maryland, check out our calendar of events.
  • Get the very latest updates from our law reporters on Twitter: @TDRKristi, @BenMook@Steve_Lash
  • Check out The Daily Record on Facebook.

Hey, must (not) be the money

Forget six figures. Apparently some law school graduates are just looking to get paid, period.

Boston College Law School posted a job opening on the school’s online job bank that pays $10,000. And this is where it gets interesting: the firm, Gilbert & O’Bryan LLP, has already received 32 applications since the posting went up a week ago.

For those wondering, $10,000 adds up to less than minimum wage and rounds out to about $5 an hour. On top of that, the law school says its 2010 graduates earn a median of $160,000 a year at private firms.

As a law school official explained to the Boston Business Journal:

In this challenging legal environment, we feel that it’s better to post any opportunity that offers our graduates a chance to gain legal experience. Other job postings on the same site offer far more in terms of compensation. Of course there will be outliers on both the high and low sides, but our policy is to post any paid legal position that’s submitted from a legitimate source.

And the job is not without its perks, according to the posting:

This is an excellent position for a new lawyer or someone returning to a legal career, and a good place to learn how to practice law with real clients. … Benefits include malpractice insurance, health insurance, employer paid clothing allowance and an MBTA pass. Former employees have gone on to prominence in other firms, government and private practice.

While we at The Daily Record reported in April that law school students were optimistic about their job opportunities post-graduation, are students more desperate for work than we thought?