Legal Counsel Salary

Average pay for Legal Counsels in the United States is more than reasonable, with annual salaries pushing past the six-figure mark ($99K). In the world of Legal Counsels, overall cash allowance can occasionally include more than $32K from bonuses and, in some exceptional cases, $30K from profit sharing, causing incomes to vary widely between $62K and $182K. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 51 percent. Most Legal Counsels like their work and job satisfaction is high. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$60,582 - $161,705
(Median)
$61K
$99K
$160K
MEDIAN: $99,041
10%
50%
90%

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$21.93 - $126.71
(Median)
$22
$33
$130
MEDIAN: $33.00
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$70K$140K$210K
Salary
$60,582 - $161,705  
   
Bonus
$494.05 - $32,468  
Profit Sharing
$884 - $30,000  
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).
)
$61,819 - $182,242  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 965
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
$21.93 - $126.71  
   
Overtime
$-0.50 - $76.52  
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
$494.05 - $32,468  
   
Profit Sharing
$884 - $30,000  
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).
)
$61,819 - $182,242  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 30
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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 who move on to become Senior Counsels may enjoy significant pay raises, as Senior Counsels get paid an average of $170K per year. Given that the median pay is $81K, it may be surprising to find that an Attorney is the most common role for Legal Counsels to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into a Corporate Counsel role — which pays $118K — is also typical for Legal Counsels, though less common by comparison.

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 drafting, Contract Negotiation, and Regulatory Compliance are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Legal Research, Real Estate, and Legal Document Review. Those who learned Legal Compliance also tend to know Regulatory Compliance and Legal Research. The majority of those who know Contract Negotiation also know 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.


Folks with fewer than five years of experience earn around $82K on average, but respondents who have racked up five to 10 years benefit from a six-figure median of $119K. For Legal Counsels, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $147K. Respondents who boast more than two decades on the job don't boast commensurate pay, unfortunately; these veterans see average earnings of only $134K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $102,199

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

Legal Counsels will find that Los Angeles offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 41 percent. Legal Counsels can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Hartford (+35 percent), Boston (+19 percent), Atlanta (+18 percent), and Philadelphia (+15 percent). With compensation 17 percent below the national average, Columbus is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Chicago (11 percent less) and Austin (10 percent less).

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Experience Affects Legal Counsel Salaries




National Average
$102,000


Skills That Affect Legal Counsel Salaries


Contract Negotiation
up arrow 2%

contract drafting
up arrow 2%

Regulatory Compliance
0%

National Average
$102,000

Litigation Case Management
up arrow 1%

Legal Compliance
up arrow 4%

Contract Management
up arrow 9%


Real Estate
up arrow 14%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 135 votes.

Gender

Female
51 %
Male
49 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
31%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
6%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 79%
medical benefits
Vision: 64%
dental benefits
None: 9%
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