Inhouse Counsel Salaries – 2019 Guide

Inhouse Counsel Salaries – Introduction

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 job or General Counsel 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 2019 Inhouse Counsel Salaries Guide

Robert Half Legal has released its latest report which contains data on projected inhouse counsel salaries for 2019. The report uses percentage tiers this year as a way to present in-house counsel salary data.  For example, a number in the 25th percentile might be for a candidate who is “new to the role”, “still developing their skills” and whose role may be in an “industry with low competition for talent or in a smaller, less complex organization”.  In contrast, a number in the 95th percentile might be for a candidate who has “significant, high-level or relevant experience”, a role that is “very complex”, or “in a market where the competition for talent is high”.

Using these percentage tiers, Robert Half Legal’s guide shows an inhouse counsel salaries range of $132,500 to $306,500 for a General Counsel from the 25th percentile to the 95th percentile, $115,000 to $257,000 for an in-house counsel with 10+ years experience from the 25th percentile to the 95th percentile, $77,250 to $193,000 for an in-house counsel for an in-house counsel with 4-9 years experience from the 25th percentile to the 95th percentile, and $65,000 to $171,750 for an in-house counsel with 0-3 years experience from the 25th percentile to the 95th 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 – it’s available as a free download.

Barker & Gilmore’s 2018 In-House Counsel Compensation Report

While we have not yet seen Barker & Gilmore’s In-House Counsel Compensation Report, their report for 2018 is available. Barker & Gilmore found that:

“The median annual salary increase rate for all positions across industries dipped to 3.8%, down 0.5% from the previous year, with the life sciences sector experiencing the highest median increase rate of 5.2% from 2016 to 2017. Financial, Energy, and Industrial & Manufacturing industries experienced base increases in line with the previous year, while Consumer, Healthcare, Technology and Professional services saw smaller increases overall.”

Barker & Gilmore also tracked the types of in-house counsel who were on the hunt for a new in-house counsel job:

“41% of respondents indicate that they would consider a new position within the next year due to compensation issues. Those in the consumer industry report the greatest likelihood of a job search in the next year, while those in the energy industry are the least likely to engage in a job search. This trend is particularly interesting, because last years’ report showed energy industry counsel as the most likely to engage in a job search. ”

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.

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 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.

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.