Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

(Discuss Advantages vs Disadvantages, Making the Switch From Private Practice to In-House, Compensation & Hours, Work-Life balance, In-House Reviews & Experiences)
1styearlateral

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby 1styearlateral » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work in a specialty area in-house tech west coast. Lateraled from another tech company in 2018 and came in at senior counsel (9 years out of law school). I make $515K with 10% options annually. Company essentially gives you one number for comp and you can elect how much of that you want in cash v. options, with the caveat that depending on seniority, you get a certain % of your comp in options on top of that one number. I chose all cash (and based on my seniority, get the 10% on top of that).

For those negotiating their first in-house gig, do not discount the value of equity (depending on the company). I left biglaw after 1.5 years to go in-house. The comp structure was (1) base, (2) bonus) and (3) equity. I took a pretty big cut on base/bonus coming from biglaw - I think my starting base was like $100K with %15 bonus. The company was not willing to budge on those numbers, but they were willing to give me more RSUs. I essentially wanted to match what I would have made at biglaw had I stayed, so I calculated out the salary scale for years 3-7 of biglaw, then assumed 5% bumps in base and bonus, and then tried my best to negotiate the differential into my vesting schedule. Turned out to be something like $300K-ish over 4 years at the 2012 stock price. In the 6 years that I was at the company, the stock split twice (meaning that I got 4x the RSU's from my original vesting) and now trades at about 6x the 2012 price. This is obviously an outlier example, but not crazy for tech.

So, while my current comp is probably less than my contemporaries at biglaw who are young partners, I'm guessing that my net worth well exceeds most of them because I was willing to take more risk earlier on in my career.

I'm not in tech, but I did receive some equity in the company when I joined. We're very early stage (think Series B or C). While I will definitely take a bonus if offered, I think that, when it comes time for my one-year anniversary, I will ask for more equity as opposed to a salary bump. My thoughts being similar to yours: in the long run, the equity could be worth a lot more than cash in hand.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:32 pm

pleapeddler wrote:Not to totally derail thread, but on your question about how to find more business/ops focused roles: I think it's kind of a crap shoot and depends heavily on career progression (that's the disclaimer answer), but there are two things that stand out to me as to how to get those roles.

First, when you interview with companies, ask a lot of direct questions about how business-oriented the lawyers who work there are. Some in house groups are still treated as dial-a-lawyer and aren't very integrated into the core business. A good indicator of what you're looking for is if the company emphasizes being the type of team that doesn't tell the business "no" and instead focuses on looking for solutions or alternatives. Also ask about how much and what types of work gets pushed to outside counsel, and also who you would interact with most. If it's project leaders, product managers, sales, operation leader types, then those positions tend to be more business-oriented.

Second thing that comes to mind is just having a bit of aptitude. I think I've largely just been fortunate to move into both my current and the new position, but I do think one of my strengths is working with non-lawyers on all levels. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that lots of incredible attorneys are not cut out for working in house or are simply not business oriented. Even my current GC struggles with this, as (s)he is an excellent attorney but struggles to relate to her/his business counterparts, which ultimately leads to less cred.


This is really helpful - any chance you can think of additional specific questions to ask? I'll be interviewing for an in-house role soon and want to have a better idea of what I'd be getting into. Thanks!

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:56 am

Just want to provide some data points I know.

I went in house to one of the studios in LA at the beginning of my 5th year, and the salary was about $210k all in (and I had to really negotiate for it), and of course there’s no equity. I know someone at another studio with similar salary as mine but he went in house more junior as a third year. Also know a couple of people who went to entertainment (or related) companies, and their pay ranges between 150-165k base + about 15% bonus. I have also heard of salary lower than that range but not often. The jobs mentioned above are in the traditional studios/entertainment companies, but I think Netflix/Amazon Studio pays more.

A couple of my friends who went in house to tech companies that have already been sold or gone public are getting paid about $250k+ all in, including stocks (which presumably will appreciate over time). The start-ups I interviewed for (including late stage startups) all mentioned around $120-140k base + various sizes of bonus and/or stock options.

I also know people who went to non-tech & non-entertainment companies getting paid anywhere between $145k - 180k base + 15-20% bonus + maybe stocks on top of that, but I don’t know how much they got in stocks.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just want to provide some data points I know.

I went in house to one of the studios in LA at the beginning of my 5th year, and the salary was about $210k all in (and I had to really negotiate for it), and of course there’s no equity. I know someone at another studio with similar salary as mine but he went in house more junior as a third year. Also know a couple of people who went to entertainment (or related) companies, and their pay ranges between 150-165k base + about 15% bonus. I have also heard of salary lower than that range but not often. The jobs mentioned above are in the traditional studios/entertainment companies, but I think Netflix/Amazon Studio pays more.

A couple of my friends who went in house to tech companies that have already been sold or gone public are getting paid about $250k+ all in, including stocks (which presumably will appreciate over time). The start-ups I interviewed for (including late stage startups) all mentioned around $120-140k base + various sizes of bonus and/or stock options.

I also know people who went to non-tech & non-entertainment companies getting paid anywhere between $145k - 180k base + 15-20% bonus + maybe stocks on top of that, but I don’t know how much they got in stocks.


Thanks for these! How did you know the extent to which your salary was negotiable (and if the Company was willing to move on the base or bonus)? Are you enjoying your move? How did your salary/bonus change over time (if at all)?

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just want to provide some data points I know.

I went in house to one of the studios in LA at the beginning of my 5th year, and the salary was about $210k all in (and I had to really negotiate for it), and of course there’s no equity. I know someone at another studio with similar salary as mine but he went in house more junior as a third year. Also know a couple of people who went to entertainment (or related) companies, and their pay ranges between 150-165k base + about 15% bonus. I have also heard of salary lower than that range but not often. The jobs mentioned above are in the traditional studios/entertainment companies, but I think Netflix/Amazon Studio pays more.

A couple of my friends who went in house to tech companies that have already been sold or gone public are getting paid about $250k+ all in, including stocks (which presumably will appreciate over time). The start-ups I interviewed for (including late stage startups) all mentioned around $120-140k base + various sizes of bonus and/or stock options.

I also know people who went to non-tech & non-entertainment companies getting paid anywhere between $145k - 180k base + 15-20% bonus + maybe stocks on top of that, but I don’t know how much they got in stocks.


Thanks for this. I went in house to a traditional studio/entertainment company myself within the last year or two after leaving biglaw as a midlevel (and a bit saddened to hear that I probably should have negotiated more!). Do you have an industry-wide sense of how much comp. increases over time via promotion or otherwise? My suspicion is that SVP is a nice bump but other than that comp. increases at traditional entertainment companies are fairly small. TYIA!

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smokeylarue

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby smokeylarue » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just want to provide some data points I know.

I went in house to one of the studios in LA at the beginning of my 5th year, and the salary was about $210k all in (and I had to really negotiate for it), and of course there’s no equity. I know someone at another studio with similar salary as mine but he went in house more junior as a third year. Also know a couple of people who went to entertainment (or related) companies, and their pay ranges between 150-165k base + about 15% bonus. I have also heard of salary lower than that range but not often. The jobs mentioned above are in the traditional studios/entertainment companies, but I think Netflix/Amazon Studio pays more.

A couple of my friends who went in house to tech companies that have already been sold or gone public are getting paid about $250k+ all in, including stocks (which presumably will appreciate over time). The start-ups I interviewed for (including late stage startups) all mentioned around $120-140k base + various sizes of bonus and/or stock options.

I also know people who went to non-tech & non-entertainment companies getting paid anywhere between $145k - 180k base + 15-20% bonus + maybe stocks on top of that, but I don’t know how much they got in stocks.


This seems right to me for someone leaving Biglaw after 3-5 years in the LA area (high 100's to low to mid 200's).

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:59 pm

I just got an offer and I'm wondering how well I did.

Currently: 1st year tax associate from non-NYC V5 office.

Industry: Large international pharmaceutical company in SF bay area
Position: Tax Senior Manager.
Comp: Base $160k per year, 20% target bonus, 6% 401k match (but with 5 year vesting schedule), great health insurance (0 premium), no equity, unfortunately.

I would report directly to the VP of tax, but sit outside the legal org. Work life balance seems great, other than predictable crunch times that are tied to compliance deadlines. The job is mostly compliance and financial reporting, which I did before law school. I'm currently negotiating for a tax counsel title, but legal work would be less than 10% of my total work. I'm honestly not a fan of being a lawyer, so this is fine. I would just like to have the title because I spent a lot of time and money on the law degree.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:30 am

Just adding a data point:

200K base, discretionary bonus, no equity. Senior Counsel, mid-level biglaw experience, at small entertainment company.

LA Market comp for 4-6 years in traditional entertainment or related cos seems to be around 150-175K + 15% bonus, but I do know of some people who have negotiated a lot higher + signing bonus + equity. Netflix/Amazon pay higher based on seniority but work a LOT I hear.

Another globally recognized entertainment company in LA that recently filled a senior corporate role was offering 210K + approx. 15% bonus. The larger non traditional entertainment companies seem to trend that way but I don't have enough data.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:36 am

Some data points for financial services:
I went in house super early as a first year/stub, and my all-in was around 160k (110 + 20 cash + 30 stock w/vest).

I have a friend going in-house in bum-fuck no where as a 3rd year in a investment fund and he's getting around 145 + 15 cash + fund performance bonus.

Significantly better vacation/bonus policies at both.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:Some data points for financial services:
I went in house super early as a first year/stub, and my all-in was around 160k (110 + 20 cash + 30 stock w/vest).

I have a friend going in-house in bum-fuck no where as a 3rd year in a investment fund and he's getting around 145 + 15 cash + fund performance bonus.

Significantly better vacation/bonus policies at both.


Could you expand re: financial services? Like compliance related work or legal work in banking/capital markets at a bank? Seems unusual to hire first year big law associates if the latter.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby trebekismyhero » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just got an offer and I'm wondering how well I did.

Currently: 1st year tax associate from non-NYC V5 office.

Industry: Large international pharmaceutical company in SF bay area
Position: Tax Senior Manager.
Comp: Base $160k per year, 20% target bonus, 6% 401k match (but with 5 year vesting schedule), great health insurance (0 premium), no equity, unfortunately.

I would report directly to the VP of tax, but sit outside the legal org. Work life balance seems great, other than predictable crunch times that are tied to compliance deadlines. The job is mostly compliance and financial reporting, which I did before law school. I'm currently negotiating for a tax counsel title, but legal work would be less than 10% of my total work. I'm honestly not a fan of being a lawyer, so this is fine. I would just like to have the title because I spent a lot of time and money on the law degree.


Being a first year, this seems like a solid offer, especially if you really don't want to be a lawyer. No equity kind of sucks, but can you get it in the next year or so?

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby hangtime813 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:09 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just got an offer and I'm wondering how well I did.

Currently: 1st year tax associate from non-NYC V5 office.

Industry: Large international pharmaceutical company in SF bay area
Position: Tax Senior Manager.
Comp: Base $160k per year, 20% target bonus, 6% 401k match (but with 5 year vesting schedule), great health insurance (0 premium), no equity, unfortunately.

I would report directly to the VP of tax, but sit outside the legal org. Work life balance seems great, other than predictable crunch times that are tied to compliance deadlines. The job is mostly compliance and financial reporting, which I did before law school. I'm currently negotiating for a tax counsel title, but legal work would be less than 10% of my total work. I'm honestly not a fan of being a lawyer, so this is fine. I would just like to have the title because I spent a lot of time and money on the law degree.


Being a first year, this seems like a solid offer, especially if you really don't want to be a lawyer. No equity kind of sucks, but can you get it in the next year or so?


This is a very solid offer. I am not sure if you can get the counsel title unless you roll under their legal department (not to mention only 10% legal work). Otherwise its a great title and pay

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:11 pm

Company doesn't have an equity plan (and has no plans to change that anytime soon), so equity is not in the cards for me at this company.

edit: I think i'm going to keep my fingers crossed for the counsel position. If it doesn't pan out, would it be reasonable to see if they can give me a signing bonus or something?

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby trebekismyhero » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Company doesn't have an equity plan (and has no plans to change that anytime soon), so equity is not in the cards for me at this company.

edit: I think i'm going to keep my fingers crossed for the counsel position. If it doesn't pan out, would it be reasonable to see if they can give me a signing bonus or something?


I think it is fine to ask, especially since you are not getting equity, but if you don't want to be a lawyer, I wouldn't get too hung up on the counsel title or even the signing bonus

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Some data points for financial services:
I went in house super early as a first year/stub, and my all-in was around 160k (110 + 20 cash + 30 stock w/vest).

I have a friend going in-house in bum-fuck no where as a 3rd year in a investment fund and he's getting around 145 + 15 cash + fund performance bonus.

Significantly better vacation/bonus policies at both.


Could you expand re: financial services? Like compliance related work or legal work in banking/capital markets at a bank? Seems unusual to hire first year big law associates if the latter.


I went to a large private equity fund (15b+ AuM) doing primarily investor relations + fund launch/investor negotiation work. This was mainly due to the fact that I spent a year during law school at a family office doing the LP version of the same work which was very hard to find experience at the comp they were offering.

I have since moved into an investment role at the same shop, but that was due to a very abnormal circumstance (needed bodies ASAP for new team I helped launch).

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:37 pm

hangtime813 wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just got an offer and I'm wondering how well I did.

Currently: 1st year tax associate from non-NYC V5 office.

Industry: Large international pharmaceutical company in SF bay area
Position: Tax Senior Manager.
Comp: Base $160k per year, 20% target bonus, 6% 401k match (but with 5 year vesting schedule), great health insurance (0 premium), no equity, unfortunately.

I would report directly to the VP of tax, but sit outside the legal org. Work life balance seems great, other than predictable crunch times that are tied to compliance deadlines. The job is mostly compliance and financial reporting, which I did before law school. I'm currently negotiating for a tax counsel title, but legal work would be less than 10% of my total work. I'm honestly not a fan of being a lawyer, so this is fine. I would just like to have the title because I spent a lot of time and money on the law degree.


Being a first year, this seems like a solid offer, especially if you really don't want to be a lawyer. No equity kind of sucks, but can you get it in the next year or so?


This is a very solid offer. I am not sure if you can get the counsel title unless you roll under their legal department (not to mention only 10% legal work). Otherwise its a great title and pay


Every company is different on title issues, but I have an attorney title within the tax department. The offer seems about in line, although I'd push to do as much legal/planning work as you can. The things you disliked about being a lawyer in private practice may not exist to the same extent in house.

At least in my industry, signing bonuses are pretty much standard for non-entry level roles. You don't even have to ask. But I know different areas/industries have different standard practices.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:09 pm

nealric wrote:
hangtime813 wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just got an offer and I'm wondering how well I did.

Currently: 1st year tax associate from non-NYC V5 office.

Industry: Large international pharmaceutical company in SF bay area
Position: Tax Senior Manager.
Comp: Base $160k per year, 20% target bonus, 6% 401k match (but with 5 year vesting schedule), great health insurance (0 premium), no equity, unfortunately.

I would report directly to the VP of tax, but sit outside the legal org. Work life balance seems great, other than predictable crunch times that are tied to compliance deadlines. The job is mostly compliance and financial reporting, which I did before law school. I'm currently negotiating for a tax counsel title, but legal work would be less than 10% of my total work. I'm honestly not a fan of being a lawyer, so this is fine. I would just like to have the title because I spent a lot of time and money on the law degree.


Being a first year, this seems like a solid offer, especially if you really don't want to be a lawyer. No equity kind of sucks, but can you get it in the next year or so?


This is a very solid offer. I am not sure if you can get the counsel title unless you roll under their legal department (not to mention only 10% legal work). Otherwise its a great title and pay


Every company is different on title issues, but I have an attorney title within the tax department. The offer seems about in line, although I'd push to do as much legal/planning work as you can. The things you disliked about being a lawyer in private practice may not exist to the same extent in house.

At least in my industry, signing bonuses are pretty much standard for non-entry level roles. You don't even have to ask. But I know different areas/industries have different standard practices.

How sensitive should I be if they drop the "senior manager" title and make me "tax legal counsel instead"? The title honestly sounds weird (I usually see tax counsel), but my instinct is to not care.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby nealric » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
hangtime813 wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just got an offer and I'm wondering how well I did.

Currently: 1st year tax associate from non-NYC V5 office.

Industry: Large international pharmaceutical company in SF bay area
Position: Tax Senior Manager.
Comp: Base $160k per year, 20% target bonus, 6% 401k match (but with 5 year vesting schedule), great health insurance (0 premium), no equity, unfortunately.

I would report directly to the VP of tax, but sit outside the legal org. Work life balance seems great, other than predictable crunch times that are tied to compliance deadlines. The job is mostly compliance and financial reporting, which I did before law school. I'm currently negotiating for a tax counsel title, but legal work would be less than 10% of my total work. I'm honestly not a fan of being a lawyer, so this is fine. I would just like to have the title because I spent a lot of time and money on the law degree.


Being a first year, this seems like a solid offer, especially if you really don't want to be a lawyer. No equity kind of sucks, but can you get it in the next year or so?


This is a very solid offer. I am not sure if you can get the counsel title unless you roll under their legal department (not to mention only 10% legal work). Otherwise its a great title and pay


Every company is different on title issues, but I have an attorney title within the tax department. The offer seems about in line, although I'd push to do as much legal/planning work as you can. The things you disliked about being a lawyer in private practice may not exist to the same extent in house.

At least in my industry, signing bonuses are pretty much standard for non-entry level roles. You don't even have to ask. But I know different areas/industries have different standard practices.

How sensitive should I be if they drop the "senior manager" title and make me "tax legal counsel instead"? The title honestly sounds weird (I usually see tax counsel), but my instinct is to not care.


Tax legal counsel does sound a bit stilted. It's redundant- if your title is counsel, it already implies that you advise on the law. But probably not worth going to the mat over if that's what they want to call you.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:31 pm

nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
hangtime813 wrote:
trebekismyhero wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just got an offer and I'm wondering how well I did.

Currently: 1st year tax associate from non-NYC V5 office.

Industry: Large international pharmaceutical company in SF bay area
Position: Tax Senior Manager.
Comp: Base $160k per year, 20% target bonus, 6% 401k match (but with 5 year vesting schedule), great health insurance (0 premium), no equity, unfortunately.

I would report directly to the VP of tax, but sit outside the legal org. Work life balance seems great, other than predictable crunch times that are tied to compliance deadlines. The job is mostly compliance and financial reporting, which I did before law school. I'm currently negotiating for a tax counsel title, but legal work would be less than 10% of my total work. I'm honestly not a fan of being a lawyer, so this is fine. I would just like to have the title because I spent a lot of time and money on the law degree.


Being a first year, this seems like a solid offer, especially if you really don't want to be a lawyer. No equity kind of sucks, but can you get it in the next year or so?


This is a very solid offer. I am not sure if you can get the counsel title unless you roll under their legal department (not to mention only 10% legal work). Otherwise its a great title and pay


Every company is different on title issues, but I have an attorney title within the tax department. The offer seems about in line, although I'd push to do as much legal/planning work as you can. The things you disliked about being a lawyer in private practice may not exist to the same extent in house.

At least in my industry, signing bonuses are pretty much standard for non-entry level roles. You don't even have to ask. But I know different areas/industries have different standard practices.

How sensitive should I be if they drop the "senior manager" title and make me "tax legal counsel instead"? The title honestly sounds weird (I usually see tax counsel), but my instinct is to not care.


Tax legal counsel does sound a bit stilted. It's redundant- if your title is counsel, it already implies that you advise on the law. But probably not worth going to the mat over if that's what they want to call you.

Thanks, neal! Super helpful as always.



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