Summary: In-house attorneys, whether in a general counsel position or not, can expect a healthy salary that is fairly comparable to most attorney positions with law firms.
Read the full article for more about in-house salaries: What Do In-House Attorney Positions Pay?
An in-house counsel position can be quite different from a position with a law firm. There are changes in future career mobility, lifestyle, and especially salary. Compensation will always depend on the type of in-house position, city, industry, and size of company as well as possible stock options but generally speaking, it will be similar to most attorney positions at law firms.
The exceptions to this are for the general counsel at big name companies such as Walt Disney, General Electric, CBS, Viacom Inc., Time Warner, The Blackstone Group, Boeing, Bank of America, and Twenty-First Century Fox. The general counsels at these companies are the highest paid with salaries clearly in the millions. For example, Alan Braverman at Walt Disney makes $1.374 million plus a bonus of $5.325 million and stock options making his total compensation at $12.188 million.
The entertainment industry sees the highest salaries for general counsels with Braverman a testament of that. It has been estimated that the median compensation for the general counsel in the industry is at $550,500. The healthcare industry is second with a median of $502,500. The lower end of the spectrum is not-for-profit industry general counsels earning a median of $220,500 and health system industry at $235,000.
The highest paying cities are New York and San Francisco but this depends heavily on the size of the company. While the role of general counsel may prove to be a large salary, joining companies in any in-house position is generally a healthy salary, especially in the larger cities. Weigh the pros and cons for yourself before making a jump from law firm to in-house.
Photo: nyls.eduWhat to Expect as an In-House Attorney by Amanda Griffin