Average pay for General Counsels in the United States is more than reasonable, with annual salaries pushing past the six-figure mark ($158K). Cash earnings for General Counsels — which occasionally include more than $77K from bonuses and more than $31K from profit sharing — stretch from around $88K to approximately $306K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Men make up the majority of General Counsels (65 percent) survey respondents. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. For the most part, General Counsels enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$86,028 - $250,263
$86K
$160K
$250K
MEDIAN: $158,081
10%
50%
90%

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$12.88 - $193.92
$13
$74
$190
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$110K$220K$330K
Salary
$86,028 - $250,263  
   
Bonus
$1,508 - $77,090  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $30,837  
Commission
$14,250  
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).
)
$88,062 - $305,614  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,239
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$70$140$210
Hourly Rate
$12.88 - $193.92  
   
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$140K$280K$420K
Bonus
$1,508 - $77,090  
   
Commission
$14,250  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $30,837  
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).
)
$88,062 - $305,614  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 13

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

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

  • 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.

General Counsel Job Listings

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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

National Average: $169,762

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

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for General Counsel

Gender

Female
35 %
Male
65 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 163 votes.
Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
12%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
38%
20 years or more
32%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects General Counsel Salaries



National Average
$170,000



Skills That Affect General Counsel Salaries

Mergers and Acquisitions
up arrow 32%

Corporate
up arrow 17%




Real Estate
up arrow 6%

Risk Management / Risk Control
up arrow 6%


Legal Compliance
up arrow 2%

Human Resources
0%

National Average
$170,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 2%

Legal Document Review
up arrow 3%

Contract Management
up arrow 4%

Regulatory Compliance
up arrow 4%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 163 votes.

Gender

Female
35 %
Male
65 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
12%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
38%
20 years or more
32%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 89%
dental benefits
Dental: 76%
vision benefits
Vision: 65%
dental benefits
None: 9%
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