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General Counsel Salary

General Counsels enjoy a hefty income, with average pay passing six figures ($155K) annually in the United States. Cash earnings for General Counsels — which occasionally include more than $67K from bonuses and more than $50K from profit sharing — stretch from around $78K to approximately $278K. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. There are more male General Counsels than female among those who completed the questionnaire, making up 65 percent. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to the larger part. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
$76,538 - $231,004
(Median)
77K
100K
150K
190K
230K
MEDIAN: $147,351
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

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$24.24 - $102.13
(Median)
24
62
93
100
MEDIAN: $62.00
10%
50%
75%
90%

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Show Annual Salary Show Hourly Rate

National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Salary
$76,538 - $231,004  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $67,303  
Profit Sharing
$1,340 - $50,167  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$78,010 - $277,612  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,436
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$24.24 - $102.13  
   
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$0.00 - $67,303  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,340 - $50,167  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$78,010 - $277,612  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 16
United States (change)

Job Description for General Counsel

General counselors work in the business world as the main legal advisers for their respective companies. If a company specializes in a particular type of industry, such as manufacturing, their general counsel will likely be a specialist or have prior experience in the types of law that may be especially applicable to that company. For instance, an insurance company may want to hire a general counsel who is already experienced with insurance fraud law.

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General Counsel Tasks

  • Draft, review and negotiate contracts.
  • Assist with possible mergers, acquisitions and formation of business entities.
  • Provide legal advice on legal and regulatory issues and federal and state laws and regulations.
  • Represent client or corporation in negotiations with accounts and regulators.

Common Career Paths for General Counsel


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It's not very common for General Counsels to move on to become Senior Vice President & General Counsels. Average pay for a Senior Vice President & General Counsel is $205K annually. As General Counsels progress in their field, many go on to become VP or General Counsels. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and pay for the position is usually $173K per year. Another common career choice for General Counsels is to move into a Corporate Attorney role. Typically, Corporate Attorneys get paid $114K.

General Counsel Job Listings

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Popular Skills for General Counsel


Survey results imply that General Counsels deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Mergers and Acquisitions, Intellectual Property (IP), and Corporate are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 40 percent, 21 percent, and 19 percent, respectively. Those listing Legal Research as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Those familiar with Contract Negotiation also tend to know Contract Management and Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for General Counsel

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of General Counsels. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $86K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $126K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $178K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $201K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, General Counsels in New York enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 35 percent above the national average. General Counsels can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Boston (+34 percent), San Francisco (+26 percent), Houston (+17 percent), and Washington (+14 percent). The lowest-paying market is Miami, which sits 13 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers salaries are below the median are Salt Lake City and Atlanta (8 percent lower).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects General Counsel Salaries



National Average
$155,000



Skills That Affect General Counsel Salaries

Mergers and Acquisitions
up arrow 40%


Corporate
up arrow 19%

Human Resources
up arrow 17%




Contract Negotiation
up arrow 4%

Legal Compliance
0%

National Average
$155,000

Contract Management
up arrow 1%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 292 votes.

Gender

Female
35 %
Male
65 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
11%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
38%
20 years or more
29%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 88% dental benefits Dental: 74%
vision benefits Vision: 58% employee benefits None: 10%