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The Professional Development Consortium (PDC) has released its inaugural Compensation Survey, a customized benchmarking tool for professional development positions in law firms. The goal of the survey was to provide the most accurate and current salary and bonus information for professional development teams to rely on as they make decisions regarding budgets and compensation structures that will help fortify their teams in today’s aggressive hiring market.

As the PDC’s research partner, we analyzed the raw data contributed by close to 250 survey participants to present the most definitive and valuable results. Along the way, we also noted certain data points that paralleled recent conversations we have been having with many of our clients.

In a time where demand for law firm legal services remains flat, we are talking more and more with our clients to help them transform their people-related functions to better serve the needs of their firms today and into the future. PD teams in law firms are impacted by this demand, as a greater number take on responsibilities for the training and development of professionals other than lawyers (23%) and work increasingly hand-in-hand with Legal Recruiting, HR and Business Development teams.

As a reflection of that, the 2016 PDC Compensation Survey reveals that while 37% of PD teams are part of stand-alone departments, others are allocated within expanded departments as follows:

27% work within Legal Talent (Attorney Recruiting, Diversity & PD)
25% are part of organizational HR
6% are allocated as “Other” (most common categories: Corporate, Litigation, KM)
5% are part of Administration

We are seeing more and more firms look for innovative ways to attract and retain the best talent to fuel their firms for the future. As Calibrate Legal CEO Jennifer Johnson noted: “Talent is growth, in a business in which growth is people.”

We believe there will continue to be a shift in how firms engage with their talent in this evolving landscape, and our mission is to connect people, ideas and information to position our law firm clients at the forefront of the next era of legal. For more information about this data and human capital trends in our industry, contact Carol Crawford at

*the survey is available to the PDC’s 500+ members across the U.S. and Canada

This article was authored by Calibrate Legal alumna Carol Crawford, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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