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 length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and a fair number earn dental coverage. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Women make up a slight majority of Legal Counsels (51 percent) survey respondents. 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. As Legal Counsels progress in their field, many go on to become Attorneys. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and median pay for the role is $81K. Another common career choice for Legal Counsels is to move into a Corporate Counsel role — this promotion usually pays $118K.

Corporate Counsel Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Legal Counsel


Legal Counsels report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Intellectual Property, contract drafting, Contract Negotiation, and Regulatory Compliance are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Legal Research, Real Estate, and Legal Document Review. Most people familiar with Contract Negotiation also know Legal Research and Regulatory Compliance. Most people who know Legal Compliance also know 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.


Whereas the median salary for inexperienced employees is approximately $82K, incomes in the five-to-10 year group are significantly higher, averaging to the comfortable six-figure sum of $119K. Legal Counsels bring in $147K after working for 10 to 20 years. Respondents who boast more than 20 years of experience can't seem to boast paychecks reflecting that extensive experience, though; veteran Legal Counsels report making only $134K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $102,199

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

Surpassing the national average by 41 percent, Legal Counsels in Los Angeles receive some of the highest pay in the country. Legal Counsels will also find cushy salaries in Hartford (+35 percent), Boston (+19 percent), Atlanta (+18 percent), and Philadelphia (+15 percent). Columbus is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 17 percent. Employers also pay below the national average in Chicago (11 percent lower) and Austin (10 percent lower).

Related Job Salaries

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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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