General Counsel Salary

On average, General Counsels in the United States earn six-figure salaries ($150K) annually, making for a very well-paid profession. In the world of General Counsels, total cash compensation can vary between $80K and $284K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $68K and $37K, respectively. Experience level and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and a fair number earn dental coverage. Job satisfaction for General Counsels is high. Male General Counsels are more prevalent than women among those who took the survey — 64 percent of professionals. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$77,740 - $240,667
(Median)
$78K
$150K
$240K
MEDIAN: $150,410
10%
50%
90%

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$27.34 - $168.50
(Median)
$27
$74
$170
MEDIAN: $74.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Salary
$77,740 - $240,667  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $68,344  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $37,480  
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).
)
$79,736 - $284,230  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,775
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$60$120$180
Hourly Rate
$27.34 - $168.50  
   
Overtime
$100.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$120K$240K$360K
Bonus
$0.00 - $68,344  
   
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $37,480  
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).
)
$79,736 - $284,230  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 14
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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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General Counsels who become Vice President, General Counsel & Secretarys position may earn slightly higher salaries. The median income for that position is $178K per year. General Counsels most frequently become General Counsel & Secretarys and Corporate Attorneys even though median compensation is $17K lower and $47K lower, respectively.

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 38 percent, 24 percent, and 22 percent, respectively. Those listing Legal Research as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Legal Document Review and Contract Management 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 rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. Inexperienced workers earn around $92K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years pull down a much higher average of $125K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $181K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $206K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $160,607

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

San Francisco is home to an above-average pay rate for General Counsels, 31 percent higher than the national average. General Counsels will also find cushy salaries in New York (+31 percent), Houston (+25 percent), Washington (+14 percent), and Chicago (+10 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for General Counsels is geography, with workers in Austin earning a whopping 25 percent below the national average. Workers in Atlanta and Salt Lake City earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (13 percent less and 8 percent less, respectively).

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Experience Affects General Counsel Salaries



National Average
$161,000



Skills That Affect General Counsel Salaries

Mergers and Acquisitions
up arrow 38%

Corporate
up arrow 24%





Regulatory Compliance
up arrow 3%

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 2%

Legal Compliance
up arrow 1%

Real Estate
0%

National Average
$161,000

Corporate Governance
up arrow 1%

Contract Management
up arrow 4%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 8%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 252 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
38%
20 years or more
30%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 89%
dental benefits
Dental: 75%
medical benefits
Vision: 60%
dental benefits
None: 10%
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