Inhouse Counsel Salaries Guide – 2024

Inhouse Counsel Salaries

Inhouse counsel salary data is not easy to find or consistently reported, but we’ve collected resources to help you in your search. There are many ways to compare your inhouse counsel salary or law firm salary with those of your peers, and to help you determine if you are being compensated fairly. You may want to review some of the guides we have listed, speak to recruiters or test the waters yourself by applying for an in-house counsel law job, General Counsel job, Chief Legal Officer job, Deputy General Counsel job, Chief Compliance Officer job or better yet these days, a remote legal job!

Let us know if you find other resources as we are always looking to keep this in-house counsel salaries guide as informative as possible.

Robert Half’s 2024 Inhouse Counsel Salaries Guide

Robert Half Legal has released its latest report which contains data on inhouse counsel salaries for 2024. The report uses percentage tiers this year as a way to present in-house counsel salary data. The percentage tiers apply across the range of in-house counsel positions by years of experience, with General Counsel at the top and in-house counsel with 3 or less years of experience at the bottom. Robert Half is a market leader in what they do and they are used as a reference point by many in the employment, recruiting and staffing place. Keep up with them, as they continue to put out great content useful for lawyers and always have a ton of in-house job listings.

Using these percentage tiers, Robert Half Legal’s guide shows a salary range of $170,750 to $248,000 for a General Counsel from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile, $151,750 to $208,250 for an in-house counsel with 10+ years experience from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile, $100,500 to $166,750 for an in-house counsel for an in-house counsel with 4-9 years experience from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile, and $84,000 to $130,500 for an in-house counsel with 0-3 years experience from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile.

The Robert Half Salary Guide gives guidance on inhouse counsel salaries for positions in demand, as well as methods for adjusting the inhouse counsel salaries based on where the in-house attorney will be working.  The Robert Half Legal Guide is a great resource and worth a close review by all inhouse counsel – to get access to more granular data, head over to Robert Half Legal.

Robert Half’s Legal Salary Calculator

In addition to their in-house counsel salary guide, Robert Half provides a salary calculator on their website that can help you calculate an in-house counsel salary range and midpoint salary by different levels of in-house positions and geographic location. This can help you see what potential in-house counsel compensation might be in different parts of the country.

LHH’s 2024 Legal Compensation Guide

LHH breaks down companies into small, medium and large buckets, with small companies having $50 million or less in revenue, medium-sized companies having between $51 million and $500 million in revenue and large companies having $501 million or more in revenue. From small to large companies, “counsel” roles for 2024 are projected to range from $85,505 to $197,432. For general counsel or chief legal counsel roles, LHH predicts a compensation range of $214,635 at small companies to $464,419 at large companies. LHH also provides data for senior counsel and Associate/Assistant GC positions. As noted in the guide, location matters, and certain locations for positions have “multiplier” figures which are used to localize the jobs for larger metro areas.

LHH’s guide also indicates that the legal sector may be one of the first to be impacted by the advent of AI technology and tools that will change the delivery of legal services:

“Researchers at Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University concluded that legal services is the industry most exposed to AI*, and a study by Goldman Sachs revealed that 44% of legal work can be automated…Law departments and firms will invest in tech skills enhancement—according to a Wolters Kluwer report, the biggest reason for resistance to new technology in legal departments was a “lack of technology knowledge, understanding or skills” (49%), and 63% of lawyers expect their overall technology investment to increase over the next three years…”

Read more at LHH’s 2024 Legal Compensation Guide.

Taylor Root’s 2023-2024 In-House Legal Market Report And Salary Guide

Taylor Root provides in-depth salary data and insights across the various territories that Taylor Root operates in from our 16 global offices. Taylor Root notes that the global in-house legal market is a complex and dynamic environment and is facing a myriad of challenges and opportunities. Their report addresses several factors affecting the market including macro-economic issues, the growing focus on ESG and regulatory compliance, the increasing importance of DE&I in the legal professional and the adoption of generative AI. Taylor Root also shares their comprehensive salary analysis and poll results from across the globe, allowing detailed insights into the in-house legal space, with the ability to benchmark your salary against the industry.

Taylor Root’s North America data is presented with breakdowns for four major sectors: (a) technology, media and communications, (b) asset management, (c) real estate and (d) life sciences, medical technology and healthcare. Like other studies, their data presents a range based on levels of experience from 3 years “PQE” (or post-qualification experience) all the way up to the General Counsel role. Their data contains not only base salary detail at each level, but also bonus ranges, which many will helpful in diving what total compensation packages will look like. The bonus ranges vary significantly but illustrate that just like positions in Biglaw firms, bonuses can actually drive and contain huge amounts of an in-house counsel compensation package. For example, while Taylor Root’s lowest base salary range for 3 years of experience is $175,000 to $225,000, the lowest bonus ranges start at 15% and in many cases are far higher, even reaching 100%-200% of base salary and for General Counsel at asset management firms can range from 100% to a whopping 15 times base salary.

Get more data from Taylor Root’s guide – it’s a new addition this year and well worth a look.

The Larson Maddox 2024 USA Regulatory & Legal Salary Guide

Larson Maddox sees the US legal market as a bustling arena, housing the headquarters of global legal giants spanning diverse industries. In this fiercely competitive domain, Larson Maddox finds the drive for excellence is intensifying as the costs of living and conducting business soar. According to Larson Maddox, clients, regulators, and stakeholders are pressing for more, urging regulatory & legal entities to elevate performance, efficiency, and quality while adopting proactive, strategic legal approaches. With this constant change and economic flux, Larson Maddox sees the art of delivering heightened value while navigating industry shifts as having become even more critical. And at the heart of this success, Larson Maddox indicates, lies talent. Larson Maddox has witnessed a surge in inquiries surrounding the crucial question of competitive salary packages essential to attract and retain these pivotal experts.

Larson Maddox’s guide is another great addition to the legal salary guide space as it uniquely presents data by a larger sub-set of industries AND also differentiates between higher cost and lower cost of living areas. They also show wide experience bands and, at each level, break down their compensation figures by low end, median and high end.

Get more data from Larson Maddox – it’s another new addition to our macro guide this year and well worth a detailed look.

The ACC 2023 Law Department Compensation Survey

The Association of Corporate Counsel partners with Empsight to offer compensation data for in-house legal professionals. Their annual data collection is conducted in the spring and is published in late September. They offer benchmarking data for individuals (based on self-reported data) and benchmarking data for legal departments (based on company/HR-sourced data). The ACC present base salaries, short-term incentive amounts, long-term incentive targets, and total cash compensation across key legal job titles. In addition, they present common company benefits, remote work norms, employment trends, and key skills needed to succeed in-house. There was wide variation in responses including individuals from small and large public, private, and non-profit companies across dozens of industries, practice area specializations, and across 24 different job titles.

The ACC report breaks out base salary and short-term incentive data at the median and 90th percentile by job title, and also has a separate dataset just focusing on long term incentives. Also helpful is their data on company revenue, legal specialities, law school attended and law school graduation years. Finally, the ACC report also shines in its reporting on remote work policies, hours worked per week and total rewards and perquisites.

The level of detail in the ACC report can help both job-seekers and law departments see things from a holistic perspective, and this can help drive change to improve efficiencies and work-life balance for all in-house counsel. If you’re an in-house counsel and not a member of the ACC, you owe it to yourself to join. Not only is it cost-effective, your membership will provide you with access to resources, networking opportunities and a host of other benefits that will pay dividends in years to come.

BarkerGilmore’s 2023 In-House Counsel Compensation Report

BarkerGilmore’s In-House Counsel Compensation Report for 2023 is available online. BarkerGilmore’s report is the most recent data released on in-house counsel compensation, and has significant data for those tracking in-house salary trends. This report includes information on General Counsel compensation, broken out as a specific section of their report, which will be of interest to current and aspiring General Counsel. Some of the high-level trends in the report are summarized in their report. It is clear from the latter that the legal hiring marketplace is rapidly evolving along with the changes to the global economy, while also noting that layoffs and hiring freezes have cooled the market a bit in 2023:

“As the world reopened in 2021, the legal industry witnessed unprecedented growth in hiring and compensation. In 2022, the demand for exceptional talent did not stop. Nearly a quarter of the in-house workforce participating in our compensation survey changed organizations over the last two years. The competition to retain top talent alongside a strong economy led total compensation to rise 21% in 2021. This sizable increase was predominantly due to annual short and long-term incentive bonuses paying out well above target. Lofty EBITDA and equity targets for 2022 which were out of reach put an end to this trend causing year-over-year total compensation to be down slightly (-3%). Overall, both the job market and compensation remained strong for in-house counsel in 2022 putting exceptional talent in the driver’s seat. Lawyers with pristine track records and high emotional intelligence could achieve multiple offers and be highly selective about the compensation and benefits that suited them.”

Major, Lindsey & Africa’s 2022 Global In-House Counsel Compensation Survey

The 2022 Global In-House Counsel Compensation Survey was developed in partnership with Western Management Group and reviewed the responses from 3,300 respondents in 46 countries to gain an understanding of how in-house legal professionals are being compensated globally.

“In this report, we review the detailed compensation data we collected for a broad range of in-house lawyer roles, including CLO/GC, regional GC (RGC)/country GC (CGC), deputy GC (DGC)/ associate GC (AGC), senior counsel (SC)/ assistant GC (ASTGC), and counsel.”

Within the United States, the report surveyed “Total Annual Actual Cash” from the General Counsel/Chief Legal Officer level to the Counsel level, with a range from $578,446 to $180,414, respectively. There is also a tremendous amount of data presented as to bonuses, target bonuses, and even breakdowns by gender, company revenue and industry. The study is worth a read, and can be downloaded here. Interestingly, “counsel was the only role to see a decrease in average TAC compensation, with a 10% decline between 2020 and 2022”.

Recruiters Know Inhouse Counsel Salaries

Don’t rely solely on guides, work with legal recruiters in your area as they are often able to use their experience to estimate in-house counsel salaries for different types of positions and their general geographic region. They can also give you their thoughts on how in-house counsel salaries really compare “on the ground” based on the cost of living in different areas. If you are lucky enough to be comparing offers, it is good to know what your purchasing power will look like.

Want To Find Inhouse Counsel Salaries for Specific Jobs?

If you are looking to find in-house counsel salaries for specific jobs, you should consider testing the market yourself. There are thousands of in-house counsel jobs and even many General Counsel jobs and remote legal jobs waiting to be filled, and by getting yourself in the job hunt you’ll get yourself closer to seeing what your skills and experience are worth. You may be surprise to find that you can command a better in-house counsel compensation package at another company, especially when the market is hot. A good idea is to check keep track of the latest legal jobs in the cities and practice areas that interest you. These legal job postings may contain salary information that will help you get a sense of what the range may be for positions you are interested in.

Get Our Newsletter To Stay Up To Date On Inhouse Counsel Salaries

Don’t forget to sign up to our free weekly newsletter to get updates on inhouse counsel salaries! We often feature articles relating to inhouse counsel salaries and in-house counsel job listings that may list their salary range in the job posting.

In addition, our newsletter features announcements of recent general counsel appointments and, with a little sleuthing and use of online tools, you may be able to find out what kinds of general counsel salaries these heavy-hitters might be taking home.

This is part of our How to Get an In-House Counsel Job series, which contains other articles that may interest you.

Check out our Inhouse Counsel Guides page for other articles and resources of interest.