Legal Counsel Salary

Legal Counsels in the United States can expect to earn a very generous salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $109K) surpassing six figures annually. Total incomes of Legal Counsels incorporate potential for, in a few cases, more than $31K from bonuses and close to $44K from profit sharing; these performance components cause packages to range between $66K and $197K. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Most Legal Counsels report high levels of job satisfaction. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority 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. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

$65,784 - $177,129
$66K
$110K
$180K
MEDIAN: $108,655
10%
50%
90%

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$21.33 - $103.04
$21
$45
$100
MEDIAN: $45.00
10%
50%
90%

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$0$196K
Salary $65,784 - $177,129
Bonus $1,982 - $31,088
Profit Sharing $0.00 - $43,631
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).
)
$66,407 - $196,566
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 25 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 665
Hourly Data $0$103
Hourly Rate $21.33 - $103.04
Overtime $50.00
Annual Data $0$196K
Bonus $1,982 - $31,088
Profit Sharing $0.00 - $43,631
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).
)
$66,407 - $196,566
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 25 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 15

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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

  • 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


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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 $168K per year. Becoming an Attorney 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. A median salary for an Attorney is $81K. Another frequent advance is for Legal Counsels to assume a Corporate Counsel role; in this role, workers often take home $118K.

Legal Counsel Job Listings

Popular Skills for Legal Counsel


Legal Counsels seem to exploit 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

National Average: $112,899

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

Palo Alto offers some of the highest pay in the country for Legal Counsels, 40 percent above the national average. Legal Counsels can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Hartford (+23 percent), Atlanta (+19 percent), Boston (+16 percent), and San Francisco (+14 percent). Legal Counsels in Milwaukee take home the lowest salaries, earning a whopping 23 percent less than the national average. Washington and Seattle are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 16 percent lower and 13 percent lower, respectively.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Legal Counsel

Gender

Female
53 %
Male
47 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 99 votes.
Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
35%
5-9 years
34%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
8%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Legal Counsel Salaries

▲32%

▲25%

▲11%

National Average
$113,000

▼19%

Skills That Affect Legal Counsel Salaries







National Average
$113,000

Complex Litigation Case Management
▼2%


contract drafting
▼8%



Real Estate
▼22%

Policy Analysis
▼28%

Legislative Policy
▼47%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 99 votes.

Gender

Female
53 %
Male
47 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
35%
5-9 years
34%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 80%
vision benefits
Vision: 69%
no benefits
None: 9%
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