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General Counsel Salary

Average pay for a General Counsel in the United States is considerable, rounding six figures at $148K per year. With some bonuses approaching $68K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $39K, overall incomes of General Counsels spread between $79K and $282K depending on individual performance. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A large number enjoy medical while a fair number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. More than half of General Counsels (65 percent) survey respondents are men. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
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$77,347 - $235,400
(Median)
$77K
$150K
$240K
MEDIAN: $148,382
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
$77,347 - $235,400  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $68,073  
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).
)
$78,883 - $282,476  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,526
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 - $68,073  
   
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).
)
$78,883 - $282,476  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 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 not the most common occurrence, General Counsels sometimes become Senior Vice President & General Counsels, where the average income is $206K per year. General Counsels most frequently advance into Corporate Attorney and Legal Executive roles even though the median salaries are $42K lower and $57K lower, respectively.

General Counsel Job Listings

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Popular Skills for General Counsel


Survey takers working as General Counsels report using a large range of professional skills. 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 44 percent, 19 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. Legal Research, on the other hand, is typically associated with much lower pay. Most people familiar with 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.


General Counsels with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. Professionals with less than five years' experience earn a median of $88K annually, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts report a weighty six-figure median of $124K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $180K. General Counsels with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $203K.

Pay Difference by Location


For General Counsels, busy New York offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 32 percent above the national average. General Counsels will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+29 percent), Washington (+15 percent), Tampa (+14 percent), and Houston (+13 percent). The lowest-paying market is Atlanta, which sits 19 percent below the national average. Employers in Salt Lake City and Denver also lean toward paying below-median salaries (10 percent lower and 2 percent lower, respectively).

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United States (change)

Experience Affects General Counsel Salaries



National Average
$156,000



Skills That Affect General Counsel Salaries

Mergers and Acquisitions
up arrow 44%

Corporate
up arrow 19%






Litigation Case Management
up arrow 3%

Legal Compliance
up arrow 1%

Contract Management
up arrow 1%

Real Estate
0%

National Average
$156,000


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 250 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
37%
20 years or more
30%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 88% dental benefits Dental: 75%
vision benefits Vision: 59% employee benefits None: 10%
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