Inhouse Counsel Salaries – 2023 Guide

Inhouse Counsel Salaries

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 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 2023 Inhouse Counsel Salaries Guide

Robert Half Legal has released its latest report which contains data on projected inhouse counsel salaries for 2023. The report uses percentage tiers this year as a way to present in-house counsel salary data, but a little bit differently than prior years. 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 $168,750 to $245,000 for a General Counsel from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile, $145,750 to $200,000 for an in-house counsel with 10+ years experience from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile, $98,250 to $163,000 for an in-house counsel for an in-house counsel with 4-9 years experience from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile, and $84,500 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.

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”.

Major, Lindsey & Africa and Ironclad In-House Counsel Salary Reporting – 2021

Ironclad performed the Herculean task of aggregating and collecting data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Major, Lindsey & Africa to put out a report in 2021 that should prove helpful to many in-house counsel:

“Ironclad compiled the most recently available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) to review how in-house counsel salaries compare to lawyer earnings in every state. Data on average lawyer earnings includes a range of attorney titles from legal aid workers to partners at law firms. MLA’s data narrows in on in-house counsels in particular, providing compensation data for 29 states and Washington D.C.”

If you work in one of these States or Washington, D.C. (or want to), check out this in-house counsel salary data.

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.