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Legal Counsel Salary

Salaries for Legal Counsels in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($99K) per year. Total cash compensation to Legal Counsels approaches anywhere from $60K on the lower end to $181K on the higher end; in exceptional cases, this can include more than $35K from bonuses and upwards of $25K from profit sharing. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to the greater part. Work is enjoyable for Legal Counsels, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Women make up a slight majority of Legal Counsels (53 percent) survey respondents. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$59,367 - $160,639
(Median)
$59K
$99K
$160K
MEDIAN: $98,879
10%
50%
90%

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$19.34 - $101.37
(Median)
$19
$33
$100
MEDIAN: $32.00
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$70K$140K$210K
Salary
$59,367 - $160,639  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $34,817  
Profit Sharing
$200.00 - $25,025  
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).
)
$60,343 - $181,301  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 808
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
$19.34 - $101.37  
   
Overtime
$22.00 - $48.50  
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 - $34,817  
   
Profit Sharing
$200.00 - $25,025  
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).
)
$60,343 - $181,301  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 30

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United States (change)


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Job Description for Legal Counsel

Legal counsels, also called general counsels, are the chief lawyers of large corporations or government agencies. They advise departments on legal ramifications, ensure that the business is working in accordance with the law, and may represent the company or government agency in the case that a law suit is filed.

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Legal Counsel Tasks

  • Manage disputes and litigations.
  • Prepare and review legal documents including contracts, licenses, leases, sales and purchases, and real estate, etc.
  • Advise business in legal affairs of the company including government regulations, taxes, and legal and human rights.
  • Apply for registration and copyrights for the products, processes, and trademarks of the organization.

Common Career Paths for Legal Counsel


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Legal Counsels often transition into Senior Counsel positions, for which compensation tends to be much higher. On average, Senior Counsels earn $173K per year. Becoming a Corporate Counsel is, more often than not, the most common role that Legal Counsels move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. The average salary for the position is $117K. Another frequent advance is for Legal Counsels to assume an Attorney role; in this role, workers often earn $81K.

Corporate Counsel Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Legal Counsel


Survey results suggest that Legal Counsels put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in Intellectual Property, Contract Negotiation, contract drafting, and Regulatory Compliance are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Contract Management as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Legal Research and Legal Document Review also typically command lower compensation. Most people familiar with Contract Negotiation also know Legal Research and Regulatory Compliance. It is often found that people who know Legal Compliance are also skilled in Regulatory Compliance and Legal Research.

Pay by Experience Level for Legal Counsel

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Inexperienced workers earn around $80K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years pull down a much higher average of $121K. For Legal Counsels, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $148K. Legal Counsels who claim more than two decades of experience actually make somewhat smaller average paychecks of $124K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Legal Counsels, working in the bustling city of Los Angeles has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Legal Counsels can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Houston (+27 percent), Atlanta (+19 percent), Boston (+19 percent), and Raleigh (+16 percent). Location is a huge contributor to overall pay, with Legal Counsels in Miami earning a whopping 27 percent below the national average. Workers in Columbus and Austin earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (27 percent less and 17 percent less, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Legal Counsel Salaries




National Average
$102,000


Skills That Affect Legal Counsel Salaries



contract drafting
up arrow 2%

National Average
$102,000

Regulatory Compliance
up arrow 1%




Real Estate
up arrow 14%


Contract Management
up arrow 30%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 142 votes.

Gender

Female
53 %
Male
47 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
29%
10-19 years
22%
20 years or more
5%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 76%
vision benefits Vision: 61% employee benefits None: 11%
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