General Counsel Salary

Wages for General Counsels in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($161K) per year. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing — peaking near $77K and $35K, respectively — total cash payment to General Counsels can bottom out near $89K or peak near $303K depending on individual performance. Residence and tenure 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 a majority. Male General Counsels are more prevalent than women among those who took the survey — 63 percent of professionals. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
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$87,242 - $253,256
$87K
$160K
$250K
MEDIAN: $161,213
10%
50%
90%

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$12.88 - $193.92
$13
$73
$190
MEDIAN: $73.28
10%
50%
90%

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$0$305K
Salary $87,242 - $253,256
Bonus $1,932 - $78,403
Profit Sharing $0.00 - $45,913
Commission $16,000
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).
)
$88,655 - $305,850
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 15 Oct 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 1,289
Hourly Data $0$193
Hourly Rate $12.88 - $193.92
Annual Data $0$305K
Bonus $1,932 - $78,403
Commission $16,000
Profit Sharing $0.00 - $45,913
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).
)
$88,655 - $305,850
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 15 Oct 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 13

Job Description for General Counsel

General counselors work in the business world as the main legal advisers for their respective companies. If a company specializes in a particular type of industry, such as manufacturing, their general counsel will likely be a specialist or have prior experience in the types of law that may be especially applicable to that company. For instance, an insurance company may want to hire a general counsel who is already experienced with insurance fraud law.

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General Counsel Tasks

  • Provide legal advice on legal and regulatory issues and federal and state laws and regulations.
  • Represent client or corporation in negotiations with accounts and regulators.
  • Draft, review and negotiate contracts.
  • Assist with possible mergers, acquisitions and formation of business entities.

Common Career Paths for General Counsel


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General Counsels who take on a higher-level position such as General Counsel & Secretary may get paid a little bit less in that new role, as General Counsel & Secretarys on average bring home $149K. A lot of General Counsels advance their careers by becoming Legal Executives and Corporate Attorneys. However, those positions offer $70K less and $60K less per year on average.

General Counsel Job Listings

Popular Skills for General Counsel


General Counsels seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate, and Intellectual Property (IP) are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 27 percent, 15 percent, and 9 percent, respectively. Those listing Legal Research as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Legal Document Review and Contract Management also typically command lower compensation. Those proficient in Contract Negotiation are, more often than not, also skilled in Contract Management and Litigation Case Management.

Pay by Experience Level for General Counsel

Pay by Experience for a General Counsel has a positive trend. An entry-level General Counsel with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $98,000 based on 204 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A General Counsel with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $140,000 based on 320 salaries. An experienced General Counsel which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $192,000 based on 571 salaries. A General Counsel with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $208,000 based on 388 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $173,583

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

Home to some of the best pay for General Counsels, San Francisco offers exceptional salaries, 36 percent above the national average. General Counsels will also find cushy salaries in New York (+27 percent), Boston (+19 percent), Washington (+19 percent), and Atlanta (+15 percent). General Counsels in Austin earn salaries far below the national average by 33 percent, proving that geography overwhelmingly affects the pay scale for those in this field. Employers also pay below the national average in Denver (21 percent lower) and Detroit (19 percent lower).

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for General Counsel

Gender

Female
37 %
Male
63 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 209 votes.
Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
11%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
36%
20 years or more
33%

Experience Affects General Counsel Salaries

▲20%

▲11%

National Average
$174,000

▼19%

▼44%

Skills That Affect General Counsel Salaries

Mergers and Acquisitions
▲26%

Corporate
▲14%




Real Estate
▲3%


National Average
$174,000



Risk Management / Risk Control
▼6%






Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 209 votes.

Gender

Female
37 %
Male
63 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
11%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
36%
20 years or more
33%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 89%
dental benefits
Dental: 76%
vision benefits
Vision: 65%
no benefits
None: 10%