Legal Counsel Salary
Legal Counsels in the United States can expect to earn a very comfortable salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $108K) surpassing six figures annually. In the world of Legal Counsels, total cash compensation can vary between $66K and $192K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $30K and $41K, respectively. Geographic location and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. Women Legal Counsels who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. The majority of Legal Counsels claim high levels of job satisfaction. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
|Salary||$65,572 - $173,077|
|Bonus||$2,012 - $30,338|
|Profit Sharing||$0.00 - $41,217|
|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).)
|$66,259 - $192,341|
|Hourly Rate||$18.50 - $162.50|
|Bonus||$2,012 - $30,338|
|Profit Sharing||$0.00 - $41,217|
|Total Pay (||$66,259 - $192,341|
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.Read More...
Legal counsels are usually included early in any company's decision making process. This helps ensure that there will be no room for error when it comes to working within the law. This may sometimes cause tension, since it is their responsibility to provide professional and sound judgments if they see any actions that aren’t in compliance with the law. Legal counsels also often attend important board and committee meetings. In order for legal counsels to be an effective and important part of the company, they need to have a close relationship with the board and stay up to date with what is happening.
Legal counsels are typically skilled in multiple areas of the law, including securities, compliance, labor and employment, compensation, risk and dispute management, litigation, class action suits and corporate governance. Depending on the company in which they work, other areas of expertise will be expected.
Legal counsels have law degrees and are typically targeted from outside corporations. They may already be working as attorneys at law firms and they may be approached by a company. Regardless of how they are hired, they are expected to be great communicators, hard working, and show leadership, firm and fair judgment, and a great deal of integrity.
Legal Counsel Tasks
- 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.
- Manage disputes and litigations.
- Prepare and review legal documents including contracts, licenses, leases, sales and purchases, and real estate, etc.
Common Career Paths for Legal Counsel
Legal Counsels who move on to become Senior Counsels may enjoy significant pay raises, as Senior Counsels get paid an average of $168K 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 $118K mark.
Popular Skills for Legal Counsel
Legal Counsels report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Intellectual Property, Corporate Governance, Contract Management, and Litigation Case Management are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 8 percent and 13 percent. Those listing Legislative Policy as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Policy Analysis and Real Estate also typically command lower compensation. Those proficient in Contract Negotiation are, more often than not, also skilled in Legal Research and Regulatory Compliance. Those familiar with Legal Compliance tend to be well versed in Regulatory Compliance and Legal Research.
Pay by Experience Level for Legal Counsel
Pay by Experience for a Legal Counsel has a positive trend. An entry-level Legal Counsel with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $92,000 based on 366 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Legal Counsel with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $125,000 based on 281 salaries. An experienced Legal Counsel which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $142,000 based on 146 salaries. A Legal Counsel with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $149,000 based on 49 salaries.
Pay Difference by Location
For Legal Counsels, Palo Alto provides a pay rate that is 40 percent greater than the national average. Legal Counsels will also find cushy salaries in Hartford (+23 percent), Atlanta (+19 percent), Boston (+16 percent), and San Francisco (+14 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Legal Counsels is geography, with workers in Milwaukee earning a whopping 23 percent below the national average. Employers in Washington and Seattle also lean toward paying below-median salaries (16 percent lower and 13 percent lower, respectively).
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Key Stats for Legal Counsel
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 94 votes.