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General Counsel Salary

Compensation for General Counsels in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($149K). Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing — peaking near $68K and $39K, respectively — total cash payment to General Counsels can bottom out near $79K or peak near $283K depending on individual performance. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. The majority of General Counsels claim high levels of job satisfaction. Men account for the majority of General Counsels who responded to the questionnaire — 64 percent to be exact. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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$77,685 - $235,447
(Median)
$78K
$150K
$240K
MEDIAN: $149,040
10%
50%
90%

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$24.24 - $102.13
(Median)
$24
$58
$100
MEDIAN: $57.00
10%
50%
90%

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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
$77,685 - $235,447  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $67,560  
Profit Sharing
$484.79 - $39,156  
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).
)
$79,312 - $282,524  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,535
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 - $67,560  
   
Profit Sharing
$484.79 - $39,156  
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).
)
$79,312 - $282,524  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 16

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United States (change)


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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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Though some General Counsels move into positions like Senior Vice President & General Counsel (where the average salary is $206K), this progression is not the norm. General Counsels most often move into Corporate Attorney or Legal Executive roles. However, the former pays $43K less on average, and the latter pays $57K less.

General Counsel Job Listings

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Popular Skills for General Counsel


General Counsels seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, facility with Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate, and Intellectual Property (IP) are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 43 percent, 18 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. Those listing Legal Research as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Most people who know Contract Negotiation also 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.


In general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher incomes. Although employees with less than five years' experience earn around $89K on average, the five-to-10 year group has a much higher, six-figure median of $124K. General Counsels claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $182K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $204K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location


New York is home to an above-average pay rate for General Counsels, 32 percent higher than the national average. General Counsels can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+30 percent), Washington (+19 percent), Houston (+14 percent), and Tampa (+13 percent). Place of residence plays a huge part in a General Counsel's salary, with Austin General Counsels earning salaries that are 22 percent less than the national average. Atlanta and Salt Lake City are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 13 percent lower and 11 percent lower, respectively.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects General Counsel Salaries



National Average
$157,000



Skills That Affect General Counsel Salaries

Mergers and Acquisitions
up arrow 43%

Corporate
up arrow 18%






Litigation Case Management
up arrow 4%

Legal Compliance
up arrow 1%

Contract Management
0%

Real Estate
0%

National Average
$157,000


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 247 votes.

Gender

Female
36 %
Male
64 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
11%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
37%
20 years or more
30%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 75%
vision benefits Vision: 59% employee benefits None: 10%
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