‘No IMO-type situtation’ at Law Society, says report

The president of the Law Society has advised its 14,000 members there is no Irish Medical Organisation (IMO)-type situation at the society.

James McCourt reassured the society’s members over its finances following the publication of a high-level external review into pay levels to the director general Ken Murphy and senior executive staff.

The report by international consultants Towers Watson found “the current governance structure and processes for managing reward in the Law Society are working well”.

The report states: “There are good processes in place for determining basic salary increases for executives and for the director general and also for determining base salary levels for new entrants.”

The report was commissioned by the society’s finance committee before a controversy, relating to former chief executive of the IMO George McNeice and his €9.7m retirement package plunged the medical body into turmoil.

Mr McCourt said the Law Society’s council can advise its members “no IMO-type situation pertains in the society”.

The council made the declaration after confirming the society’s pension fund is 95% funded and verified by the society’s actuaries.

In 2011, the Law Society’s 122 staff shared €8m in salaries — or an average of €66,000 each that year — against revenues, that year, of €22.5m.

The Towers Watson senior management remuneration review at the Law Society was extremely cautious at not giving any hint to the salaries of Mr Murphy and his managerial colleagues.

In his report, Mr McCourt said that the society has never published details of remuneration of individual members of staff.

The report noted Mr Murphy’s entitlements, outside his salary, were market competitive.

The report stated there had been a pay freeze in the society since 2008.

“When compared against the market, the total pay levels paid to the senior staff in the society are slightly above the middle of the market. This is not unusual, given factors such as length of service, absence of bonus and the specific skill sets required. The specialist nature of some of the key posts in the society would generally attract a premium in the market.

“The benefits package for the director general is broadly in line with market. Apart from pension, the benefits provided to the senior management team and other executive roles reviewed are either behind the market or market competitive.”


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