Legal Counsel Salary

Legal Counsels in the United States can expect to earn a very generous salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $99K) surpassing six figures annually. With some bonuses approaching $32K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $26K, overall incomes of Legal Counsels spread between $61K and $181K depending on individual performance. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A large number enjoy medical while a fair number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. Women make up a slight majority of Legal Counsels (53 percent) survey respondents. For the most part, Legal Counsels enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$59,561 - $160,939

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$19.21 - $122.83

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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$70K$140K$210K
Salary
$59,561 - $160,939  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $31,676  
Profit Sharing
$970 - $25,760  
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).
)
$60,604 - $180,765  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 841
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
$19.21 - $122.83  
   
Overtime
$18.31 - $45.38  
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 - $31,676  
   
Profit Sharing
$970 - $25,760  
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).
)
$60,604 - $180,765  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 29
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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 $171K per year. An Attorney role is the most prevalent career advancement for Legal Counsels. Paychecks for that role are $81K on average. The Corporate Counsel position is another common transition for Legal Counsels; in this role, salaries are typically at the $117K mark.

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Popular Skills for Legal Counsel


Legal Counsels seem to require a number of specific skills. Most notably, skills in Contract Negotiation, Intellectual Property, 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 Real Estate also typically command lower compensation. Those familiar with Legal Compliance tend to be well versed in Regulatory Compliance and Legal Research. Most people skilled in Contract Negotiation are similarly competent in Legal Research and Regulatory Compliance.

Pay by Experience Level for Legal Counsel

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


Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $81K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $122K. Legal Counsels who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $148K. Survey respondents who have worked for more than 20 years actually report somewhat lower incomes of $128K.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, Legal Counsels in Houston enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 28 percent above the national average. Legal Counsels will also find cushy salaries in Los Angeles (+26 percent), Boston (+20 percent), Raleigh (+15 percent), and Philadelphia (+14 percent). Legal Counsels in Miami make 30 percent less than the national average, proving that location is a major factor in pay. Columbus and Austin are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 27 percent lower and 17 percent lower, respectively.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Legal Counsel Salaries




National Average
$103,000


Skills That Affect Legal Counsel Salaries


Intellectual Property (IP)
up arrow 4%

contract drafting
up arrow 1%

Regulatory Compliance
0%

National Average
$103,000




Real Estate
up arrow 15%


Contract Management
up arrow 27%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 131 votes.

Gender

Female
53 %
Male
47 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
41%
5-9 years
30%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
5%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 89% dental benefits Dental: 77%
vision benefits Vision: 62% employee benefits None: 10%
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