What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

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Anonymous User
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What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 09, 2013 12:54 pm

What is the appropriate salary for an entry-level in-house corporate associate? This is for a major corporation. They have a small legal team. I come from one of the top couple schools, and have had previous biglaw summer experience. My responsibilities will be substantial (e.g., working second chair with big firms on M&A deals, working big-law type hours). I've seen things fluctuate a bunch from company to company.

What should I be paid? I may have some room to negotiate and want to base my figure on something.

desertlaw
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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby desertlaw » Thu May 09, 2013 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What is the appropriate salary for an entry-level in-house corporate associate? This is for a major corporation. They have a small legal team. I come from one of the top couple schools, and have had previous biglaw summer experience. My responsibilities will be substantial (e.g., working second chair with big firms on M&A deals, working big-law type hours). I've seen things fluctuate a bunch from company to company.

What should I be paid? I may have some room to negotiate and want to base my figure on something.


Might depend on the city/market you are in. I'm guessing something like $120-$160k + bonus. Hard to know because most figures I've seen (as a 3L, granted) are for in-house positions with 3-7 years of experience.

But you probably want them to throw out the first number. If they really want you and they know you chose them over BigLaw, $160k seems reasonable if that's what Biglaw market is, especially if you're actually doing big-law hours. If it was better work/life hours, I'd say $135-150, but why not ask for market+bonus if you're going to be working hours like that anyways.

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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 09, 2013 1:22 pm

A quick googling reveals this resource, though I have no idea of its accuracy: http://www.roberthalflegal.com/SalaryCenter.

If you look at page 12 it suggests a range of $65k - $100k for first year in-house counsel. Given you are going to a major corporation I would guess you should land in the top half of that. So, anywhere from $80-$90k sounds reasonable. I believe that number is total compensation, not base salary, so be sure to inclue any bonuses/equity/etc. when evaluating the offer.

treeey86
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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby treeey86 » Thu May 09, 2013 1:48 pm

As a practicing in-house attorney, I don't care if you have big law summer experience, etc or that you will be working biglaw hours. In-house salaries are going to be judged on the corporate scale and not a law firm scale, especially if the legal department is small. For big corporations you can expect a 75-100k range. Maybe stock options if a public company. If there are stock options you should focus the negotiations on those options. That is where you will make your money.

desertlaw
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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby desertlaw » Thu May 09, 2013 1:51 pm

I was so wrong.

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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 09, 2013 2:23 pm

Most I've seen for entry-level corporate counsel are around $80-90k with stock options/benefits. I do have a friend set to make around $115k though.

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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 09, 2013 3:34 pm

I started last year straight out of law school in-house for a fairly large corporation and make $60k. Not in a major city though so COL isn't high. I'm pretty sure there's no way you're going to approach big-law first year associate salary. Even coming in-house after 3-5 years you would be lucky to bring in more than 150k due to the better work-life balance. I would expect 70-100k depending on the location and size of company. Also, I obviously don't know about all in-house counsels but I have yet to meet corporate counsel that regularly works big-law hours. Not sure if they told you to expect those hours or you're just thinking your hours will be that crazy. The norm as I've observed it is 45-55 hr weeks.

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Blindmelon
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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby Blindmelon » Fri May 10, 2013 8:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:A quick googling reveals this resource, though I have no idea of its accuracy: http://www.roberthalflegal.com/SalaryCenter.

If you look at page 12 it suggests a range of $65k - $100k for first year in-house counsel. Given you are going to a major corporation I would guess you should land in the top half of that. So, anywhere from $80-$90k sounds reasonable. I believe that number is total compensation, not base salary, so be sure to inclue any bonuses/equity/etc. when evaluating the offer.


65k - 100k sounds about right but much more towards 65k.

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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 10, 2013 9:40 am

Working as a summer associate in-house for a very large financial corporation. Pay is based on $90k annual salary. They didn't specifically say that this is the first-year starting salary, but I assume the first year starting salary would be close.

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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 10, 2013 9:41 am

FWIW I graduated in 2012 and started in-house at a large software company, primarily supporting technology transactions. My base salary is around $70k and I am eligible for a performance-based bonus. That seems to be consistent with what other people are reporting.

shock259
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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby shock259 » Fri May 10, 2013 3:49 pm

How are the bonuses compared to big law?

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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby BigLawer » Fri May 10, 2013 7:22 pm

shock259 wrote:How are the bonuses compared to big law?


Wow... This is all much lower than I thought. I would hate to get a JD and the work 4 years and go back to making about 70k which is close to what I made pre law school.....

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Re: What is first year in-house corporate counsel salary?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 10, 2013 9:30 pm

BigLawer wrote:
shock259 wrote:How are the bonuses compared to big law?


Wow... This is all much lower than I thought. I would hate to get a JD and the work 4 years and go back to making about 70k which is close to what I made pre law school.....


I'm the anon above who makes $60k. I think you need to understand a few things: 1) we're talking about starting in-house straight out of law school (which is fairly uncommon). If you work in biglaw for several years and transition in-house you'll almost certainly make 100k+; 2) The work-life balance/overall mindset between starting out biglaw and starting out in-house are astronomical. I work 45-50 hours a week, am never stressed out or paranoid about losing my job, don't have to worry about outperforming co-workers, and have done meaningful, interesting work right off the bat. Sure, I wish the salary was higher, but I'm glad with my decision. It definitely differs depending on the person, though.




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