General Counsel Salary
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.Read More...
General counselors may handle a variety of different legal matters including copyright management and infringement, claims against the company or providing advice on the legal recourse or ramifications from a particular course of action. A large amount of the time, a general counsel attorney will be spending their time with the board of directors or executives of a company because it is to these individuals with whom the general counsel directly works.
Since general counselors carry a great deal of legal burden, there are a large number of requirements to become a general counsel. First and foremost, a degree from a nationally certified law school is absolutely necessary. In addition, most companies ask/require that their general counsel have previous experience representing clients for a number of years based on the size and prestige of the organization. As with many legal positions, most general counselors work Monday through Friday, but they can have very long hours outside of the usual 9-5 time slot depending on their job requirements.
General Counsel Tasks
- 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.
- Draft, review and negotiate contracts.
- Assist with possible mergers, acquisitions and formation of business entities.
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Popular Skills for General Counsel
General Counsels report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate, and Complex Litigation Case Management are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 32 percent, 17 percent, and 12 percent, respectively. Those listing Legal Research as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Contract Management and Regulatory Compliance also typically command lower compensation. 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.
General Counsels with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $99K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $138K. After working for 10 to 20 years, General Counsels make a median salary of $189K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $211K.
Pay Difference by Location
San Francisco is home to an above-average pay rate for General Counsels, 40 percent higher than the national average. General Counsels can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Irvine (+32 percent), New York (+26 percent), Boston (+24 percent), and Chicago (+21 percent). General Counsels in Austin make 29 percent less than the national average, proving that location is a major factor in pay. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Cleveland (24 percent less) and Denver (17 percent less).
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Key Stats for General Counsel
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