2018 Legal Salary Guide

James Gallagher 11.01.2018

Legal salary ranges for 2018 in Ireland across in-house and private practice jobs.

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Commentary on Legal Roles and Remuneration in Ireland for 2018

Legal recruitment in Ireland was buoyant throughout 2017. Demand was strong in both the industry and practice sectors where legal professionals have been highly sought after at almost all levels. This is due to organisations looking to bring legal positions in house, increased regulation in areas such as privacy, financial instruments and the movement of legal positions to Ireland off the back of Brexit and foreign direct investment. 

In industry, solicitors with commercial contracts experience have become a hot commodity for technology and pharmaceutical companies. In financial services the most sought-after professionals are those with extensive funds and aircraft leasing experience. 

Legal is an ever-growing area for companies as regulatory frameworks are becoming more complex especially with the GDPR coming to effect next year which will affect any operation with connections to the European market. We are seeing a number of professional job seekers interested in knowing about how they can upskill in privacy and also salaries associated with this niche.

Similar to last year for Irish law firms, there is a notable shortage of available talent across all levels. The growth of legal teams and the struggle to retain experienced professionals has produced favourable opportunities for professionals to progress within a firm. In practice firms; experience in corporate, privacy, information technology, M&A transactions and financial services is highly sought after. Many firms are looking to expand their leadership and are keen to speak with experienced professionals who are keen to progress to partner level. 

Our expectation last year was that salaries would increase in the legal market and this proved to be the case. We saw an uplift of between 5% to 10% in some cases and some professional job seekers were effectively given external promotions (moving from their current business to a more senior position with another organisation) which is something that had been rarely seen in the past.

Company secretarial roles in particular werein high demand in 2017 and we expect it will remain the same in 2018, with salaries naturally following in an upward trend. Due to the shortage of available professionals, companies are favourably compensating their current employees in this area. Organisations need to act quickly to hire active talent in this sector and need to have a strong value proposition to differentiate from competing firms; including remuneration, improved benefits packages and transparency around career development potential.

Sentiment in legal recruitment remains positive and we anticipate that as demand will remain strong throughout 2018, salaries will also follow suit in an upward trajectory. Organisations that are able to differentiate their offering from a benefits, career development and flexibility perspective will also continue to win in this highly competitive landscape.

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