Hedgies looking for lawyers

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Forget traders, the new stars of the hedge fund world may well be members of the legal profession.

Chris Hickey, managing director of the legal and compliance team at Robert Walters, says 'business-minded lawyers' can attract base salaries of 160k to 200k in hedge funds, plus a bonus of 100%, plus equity.

Base salaries at investment banks are typically lower than this. But Peter Elliott, director at Emerson Chase City, says it's equity rather than higher salaries that acts to lure lawyers to hedge funds.

This is fortunate, given hedge funds are stocking up on lawyers for both compliance functions and general counsel. Rather than using external lawyers, Hickey says having lawyers in-house is increasingly seen as both a cost saving and an insurance policy.

It may be even more than that. The role played by lawyers in hedge funds was highlighted in the Telegraph a few weeks ago. The paper reported that London hedge fund RAB Capital employs six lawyers out of a total staff of 15, and said RAB was using this legal muscle to draw up contracts seeking 'money back guarantees' from the mining companies it invested in.

Instead of being a cost, hedge fund lawyers may be becoming revenue generators in their own right. Pay is liable to become more impressive as a result.