Legal | Cpl Salary Guide for Ireland
Legal Salary Guide


​In Line with 2022, 35% of People Received a Raise in 2023​

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In-House Need is Fuelling the Demand for Legal Professionals

The Irish legal sector is thriving, with growth observed in the in-house market and robust demand in sectors like pharmaceuticals, technology, and funds.

Dublin's larger legal practices are actively recruiting, and the company secretary market is on the rise, offering exciting opportunities for legal professionals to excel in this dynamic landscape.

In-House Need is Fuelling the Demand for Legal Professionals

Legal Industry Market Trends

The Irish legal industry is currently experiencing significant growth, with an increased demand for legal professionals. In 2022, recruitment and retention was an issue for the top 20 firms (86%) in the country and for 76% of Dublin-based firms. Recruitment challenges will continue through 2024, as the scarcity of qualified talent continues.

Over the past year, the in-house legal market has witnessed an upswing in activity, driven by factors such as regulatory changes, heightened corporate activity around compliance, and evolving legal requirements. This is a continuation of the 2022 trends, which saw 55% of firms reporting an increase in revenue.

Dublin is currently witnessing a surge in recruitment within its larger legal practices. This highlights the city's emergence as a global legal centre, with over twenty international law firms established in the city over the past five or six years.

Areas Experiencing Demand for Legal Services

The need for direct access to in-house legal counsel has seen increased demand for legal professionals outside of the traditional Legal Bar. For example:

  • The pharmaceutical sector is experiencing a surge in demand for legal services, due to the intricacies of regulatory compliance, intellectual property matters, and the development of new drugs. 

  • The technology industry is investing in areas like data privacy, cybersecurity, and intellectual property protection which all require keen legal minds. 

  • The funds sector is flourishing, with a growing need for legal expertise in fund formation, compliance, and investment management. 

This new demand for legal professionals is helping to offset the reduced need for barristers that has been influenced by new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the drafting of legal briefs.

​Most In-Demand Roles in the Legal Profession

The growth in demand for legal professionals has had a notable impact on several roles which is reflected in the compensation on offer. These roles include:

  • Legal Counsel with over five years of Post Qualification Experience (PQE) can command a substantial salary of €100,000, reflecting their expertise and the crucial role they play.

  • Company Secretaries with three or more years of experience are highly sought after, with salaries averaging around €70,000.

  • Group Company Secretary compensation averages €125,000, underlining the value of their strategic role. 

  • Newly Qualified (NQ) Solicitors, can expect a competitive starting salary of €65,000, recognising their potential and the demand for fresh legal talent.

  • Legal Secretaries with over five years of experience are typically compensated with an average salary of €45,000.​

Skills and Qualifications Needed for Legal Roles

For Legal Counsel positions, candidates naturally need to hold qualifications as either solicitors or barristers. The legal industry is also witnessing a rising trend where barristers are stepping outside of legal practices and into corporate legal counsel positions, further expanding the talent pool available for multi-national employers. 

When it comes to hiring Company Secretaries, employers are placing a growing emphasis on recognised qualifications. These qualifications typically include a Master's in Corporate Governance or certifications from the Chartered Governance Institute of the UK & Ireland. Candidates with these qualifications are looked upon more favourably, as they display a deep understanding of corporate governance and compliance. Some employers now consider these qualifications non-negotiable.

Top Benefits in the Legal Profession

​Most legal employees can expect some level of hybrid working. The number of remote days is usually dependent on the specific role. 

Additionally, Company Secretaries, Legal Counsels, and Solicitors benefit from healthcare coverage, annual bonuses, and company-matched pension plans. These benefits highlight organisations' commitment to providing a balanced and rewarding career experience for valued legal professionals.

Relocation packages are also becoming more common, as the Irish legal recruitment market adapts to accommodating candidates from abroad. The size of these packages may vary based on the candidate's seniority and individual circumstances. 

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