June 3, 2019

In-House Counsel Compensation: Recent Trends

Check out the latest report from BarkerGilmore – a boutique executive search firm – about in-house counsel compensation trends. Among the findings:

– The average annual salary increase rate for all positions across industries increased to 4.4%, up 0.6% from the previous year.

– 41% of all respondents believe their compensation is below or significantly below that of their peers in other organizations, with labor & employment lawyers and insurance reporting the greatest dissatisfaction.

– 38% of respondents indicate that they would consider a new position within the next year due to compensation issues, 3% less than the previous year.

– Public company lawyers make more than private company lawyers, and public company GCs make a lot more – 41% more to be precise.

– On average, female in-house counsel earn 85% of what male in-house counsel earn. The disparity is largest at the General Counsel level, with a 17% gap, 5% smaller than the previous year.

On a completely unrelated note, when I saw BarkerGilmore’s press release on the study, I noticed that they were headquartered in Fairport, NY. This charming canal town is the hometown of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who once described it as being “like Kansas, if Kansas was in New York.” Why do I know so much about this little upstate New York burg? Well, Mr. Hoffman isn’t the only one who grew up there. (Hi Mom!)

“Finders”: Lawsuit Pushes Back Against SEC on Broker Registration

The SEC has historically taken a very limited view of the role that “finders” who are not registered broker-dealers can play in financings. But this recent blog from Andrew Abramowitz notes that one company has filed a lawsuit that pushes back against the SEC’s position. Here’s an excerpt:

A company proposing to do business as an unregistered finder, Platform Real Estate Inc., has now filed suit in the Southern District of New York against the SEC, seeking a declaratory judgment to the effect that broker-dealer registration is not required for the plaintiff and similar companies acting as a finder on behalf of private companies.

The essence of Platform Real Estate’s argument is that the Exchange Act generally, and Section 15(a) (the section requiring registration of those acting as broker-dealers) in particular, are intended to protect investors in the secondary market, like those purchasing shares traded on an exchange. The transactions that Platform Real Estate would be involved in, in contrast, are primary transactions, where a company issues and sells new shares to accredited investors who represent as to their intent to hold the shares potentially indefinitely.

In discussing the case, Andrew makes a point that I think a lot of lawyers representing small companies would agree with – most registered broker-dealers don’t want to deal with this segment of the market. There’s just not enough money to be made in these financings to justify their commitment of resources. That means there’s a real market need that is being filled by finders, and makes it critical to get some clear rules governing what they can and can’t do.

Our June Eminders is Posted!

We have posted the June issue of our complimentary monthly email newsletter. Sign up today to receive it by simply inputting your email address!

John Jenkins