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BRIC lawyers earn 23 times GDP per capita

But receive just over half the total remuneration of UK lawyers  

19 August 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

The average remuneration of BRIC lawyers is 23 times that of local GDP per capita, but is around half that of UK lawyers.

That’s according to a global legal salary survey, which found that lawyers in Brazil, Russia, India and China earn £71,230 on average compared to UK lawyers’ mean annual remuneration of £134,504.

Among the BRIC countries, lawyers in Brazil earn the most on average, at £93,966, followed by £76,986 for China lawyers and £62,099 for those in Russia, with India lawyers coming in bottom at £51,868.

However, in terms of earnings compared to GDP per capital, Indian lawyers ranked highest with a ratio of 53.4 times, followed by 19.4 times for lawyers in China, 12.7 times in Brazil and 6.8 times in Russia. British lawyers, while earning the highest, scored the lowest ratio of remuneration to GDP per capita, at 5.4 times.

The findings are based on a survey of 3,700 senior lawyers from across the globe, 636 of whom are based in Brazil, Russia, India or China. The lawyers surveyed in the BRIC countries had an average 9.7 years PQE compared with 10.9 years for all survey respondents.

“The emergence of the BRIC country economies has had a big impact on the legal profession,” said Naveen Tuli, global managing director at Laurence Simons International, which conducted the research.

“The largest firms have established offices around the world, and the need for in-house lawyers at large companies has both created a domestic market for legal talent and also broadened the scope of the international market. These are dynamic markets with fast expansion and strong candidate movement.”

Optimism about the economic outlook of their countries is high among BRIC lawyers. Among the survey respondents, seventy per cent of lawyers in Brazil and India and a third of lawyers in China and Russia said they felt positive about the economy.

This optimism is partly based on job growth, as 93 per cent of legal departments in Russia and half of those in Brazil, India and China increased the size of their teams last year, the research found.

The growth pattern looks set to continue over the next twelve months, with 69 per cent of organisations in Brazil looking to expand, along with 61 per cent in India and 43 per cent in China. Hiring in Russia is set to be more muted following last year’s growth, with 22 per cent expecting new hires.

The research also found that the legal workforce in BRIC countries is more mobile than in the UK. Around three quarters of Brazilian and Indian lawyers and two thirds of Chinese and Russian lawyers said they would consider moving internationally for work, compared with just under half of British lawyers.

“For international lawyers, the opportunity of achieving a greater level of seniority earlier in their career, and the low cost of living relative to salary levels make these locations an attractive prospect,” said Tuli.

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