Average salaries for newly qualified in-house lawyers in the north-west of England fell from £40,000 to £37,000 last year, a new survey by Manchester recruitment consultancy BCL Legal has revealed.

More experienced in-house lawyers, however, saw their pay remain unchanged at £43,000-£60,000 for one to five years’ post-qualification experience (PQE), rising to £65,000-£100,000 for six to 10 years’ PQE.

Almost three-quarters of the lawyers surveyed received a bonus in 2009. Bonuses were calculated as less than one-tenth of salary for the least experienced, to one-fifth of salary for practitioners with 11 or more years’ PQE, giving an average bonus payout of £13,000.

More than half of the respondents received a car allowance worth an average £7,800 and more than eight out of 10 received a pension contribution of, on average, one-tenth of salary. Almost all enjoyed 25 days holiday in 2009 and three-quarters received private medical insurance.

BCL Legal director and head of in-house Mark Levine said: ‘Although the last couple of years have been tough, it is positive to see that talented professionals are still being rewarded. I’m sure starting salaries for newly qualified lawyers will rise over the next couple of years as the recovery continues to take hold.’