General Counsel Salary

Average pay for a General Counsel in the United States is considerable, rounding six figures at $149K per year. Overall cash earnings for General Counsels stretch from $78K on the lower end to $280K near the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $68K from bonuses and $33K from profit sharing. Experience level and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Men make up the majority of General Counsels (64 percent) survey respondents. A large number enjoy medical while a fair number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$77,252 - $233,931

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$24.24 - $102.13

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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
$77,252 - $233,931  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $67,545  
Profit Sharing
$198.66 - $33,221  
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).
)
$78,461 - $279,631  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,571
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$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$24.24 - $102.13  
   
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$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$0.00 - $67,545  
   
Profit Sharing
$198.66 - $33,221  
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).
)
$78,461 - $279,631  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 16
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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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For General Counsels, advancing into a VP, General Counsel & Secretary role, for which the median salary is $179K, is not common but it does happen. Many General Counsels go on to become Corporate Attorneys or Legal Executives despite the fact that median compensation in those roles is reportedly $43K lower and $58K lower, respectively.

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Popular Skills for General Counsel


General Counsels seem to wield many skills on the job. Lucky workers who know Mergers and Acquisitions can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 42 percent above average. Corporate and Intellectual Property (IP) are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 17 percent and 42 percent. Legal Research, on the other hand, is typically associated with much 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.


General Counsels with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. Inexperienced workers earn around $90K, 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 $182K. General Counsels with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $205K.

Pay Difference by Location


For General Counsels, New York provides a pay rate that is 32 percent greater than the national average. General Counsels will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+29 percent), Washington (+22 percent), Houston (+17 percent), and Tampa (+12 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 13 percent south of the national average, can be found in Atlanta. Employers in Salt Lake City and Denver also lean toward paying below-median salaries (10 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects General Counsel Salaries



National Average
$158,000



Skills That Affect General Counsel Salaries

Mergers and Acquisitions
up arrow 42%


Corporate
up arrow 17%





Litigation Case Management
up arrow 2%

Legal Compliance
0%

Real Estate
0%

National Average
$158,000

Contract Management
up arrow 1%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 231 votes.

Gender

Female
36 %
Male
64 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
12%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
37%
20 years or more
30%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 74%
vision benefits Vision: 59% employee benefits None: 10%
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