Here’s how much money lawyers earn in South Africa

 ·28 Feb 2021

Specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters has published its annual salary survey for 2021.

Jason Grundy,  managing director of Robert Walters for the Middle East & Africa, said that the pandemic and global crisis naturally resulted in an immediate downturn in hiring, with a shift from functions promoting growth and expansion, towards functions supporting stability, cash flow, and essential services.

“Cost-saving measures, reallocation of current resources and critical hires, which promote the streamlining of business operations have been evident,” he said.

“We anticipate businesses to continue to be conservative when it comes to salary increases. Overall salaries are to remain static and in certain areas, reduced.”

Grundy added that professionals looking to increase their earnings most likely would need to seek new opportunities, however, new starters should still expect conservative salary increases when moving roles.

“In addition, we expect reduced bonuses in line with company performance and their need to maintain a strong cash position.

“We foresee organisations taking a flexible approach to benefits packages as a way of retaining top talent. These benefits would likely include measures to support the new operating model, such as work from home.”

Legal jobs in South Africa

The most in-demand jobs in South Africa’s legal sector include associates specialising in mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance and legal advisors.

Half of legal professionals said that they are confident about job opportunities in the sector, while  65% of respondents said that their businesses are giving pay rises in 2021.

Legal professionals are also proving to be highly mobile, with 19% surveyed being open to new job offers – mainly looking for a pay rise or career progression.

The average tenure for legal professionals in South Africa is sitting at just over two years.

The table below outline the salaries legal minds can expect to earn in South Africa, based on their job type.

These figures exclude bonuses, and regional variations may apply for Cape Town or Durban.

In-house – Commerce and Industry 2021 annual salary range
General Counsel R1 500 000  – R3 500 000
Junior Counsel R400 000 – R550 000
Legal Counsel R600 000 – R850 000
Senior Legal Counsel R900 000 – R1 400 000
In-house – Financial Services 2021 annual salary range
General Counsel R1 500 000  – R3 500 000
Junior Counsel R400,000 – R600,000
Legal Counsel R650,000 – R950,000
Senior Legal Counsel R1 000 000 – R1 400 000
Private Practice 2021 annual salary range
Associate R650 000 – R850 000
Newly Qualified R550 000 – R620 000
Partner R1 200 000 – R1 800 000
Senior Associate R850 000 – R1 200 000
Senior Partner R2 000 000 – R3 500 000

Read: New bill aims to make it easier to do business in South Africa

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