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Compliance, remuneration and finding the right role…the three main challenges for lawyers

Posted by: Laurence Simons 09/04/15

Our recent salary survey discovered many things about legal and compliance professionals, some of which we knew and some of which were more surprising. At the end of our survey we gave respondents the opportunity to mention, discuss, vent about (delete as appropriate) the main challenges they are facing. The three issues that received the most attention were compliance, remuneration and finding the right role.


This has been a regular topic in the comments section since 2012. Following the 2008 crash the compliance sector has boomed, with companies needing dedicated compliance professionals. More companies now have a dedicated compliance function according to our research. When we asked the question in 2013, 33% of respondents said their team had a dedicated compliance function. In 2014 this figure rose to 35%, showing just how important compliance is becoming to businesses. We anticipate this figure to increase over the coming years, particularly in developing legal markets such as India and countries across Africa.



The debate will always rage as to whether lawyers are paid too much. However, some lawyers believe that for the hours they work and the pay freeze many have experienced over the last couple of years, they are not remunerated enough. Whether it is in the form of their base salary or a bonus, lawyers do feel that the upturn in the global economy means that they should be receiving a pay increase. This could explain why 29% of respondents to our survey will actively look for a new role in 2015 and 46% of respondents would consider moving if the right role presented itself. One interesting point from our research is that more lawyers are working an increasing number of hours; 34% are now working between 46-50 hours a week (an increase of 3% from last year’s survey).


Difficulty finding the right role

An increasing number of legal and compliance professionals are finding it more difficult to find a suitable role. One respondent to our survey stated that “the market seems to be strong but it appears to take longer for opportunities to develop”. There could be a million different reasons for candidates not finding a suitable role. They could be too selective or their region may not have an extensive selection of roles to choose from. Equally,  perhaps companies’ and law firms’ criteria is too specific or they are less willing to give an inexperienced lawyer a chance. Whatever the reasons, we’re sure this will smooth out over the course of 2015.