How much do corporate counsel earn? The 2022 report

Above the Law shared their annual report regarding the in-house compensation. In collaboration with Lake Whillans, they surveyed more than 1,600 in-house lawyers working in a broad range of industries and at companies of varying size across the country. They reported on their base pay, bonuses, raises, and stock.

Information provided

This year’s survey had record participation. Between March and October 2022, respondents were asked to provide the following information:

• year of law school graduation
• whether or not they work in a big city (which can affect
• geographic region
• company size (including six categories, from “small
private company” to “Fortune 250”)
• industry in which they work
• size of legal department
• type of work they engage in (corporate, employment,
litigation, etc.)
• base pay
• target bonus (as a percentage of base pay)
• actual bonus received for the last few years
• average raise received over the last few years
• what, if any, stock compensation they receive (as a
percentage of base pay)

Key findings

• Almost 90% of respondents earn a base salary of at least $150,000; the most common range is $200,000 to $249,000.
• Compensation varies significantly among small and medium-sized private companies, with both the high and low ends of the scale well represented, while in-house pay at Fortune 250/500/1000 companies tends to be more concentrated in the middle ranges.
• The majority of respondents receive some kind of bonus; the most substantial bonuses were reported in the finance and energy industries.
• For two-thirds of respondents, raises in recent years have averaged less than 5% of their pay, and 11% received no raise at all. Lawyers in departments with five or fewer attorneys are the most likely to have received raises of at least 5%.
• Just over half of respondents receive stock as part of their compensation package, for most of whom it represents less than 25% of their base pay. Among those whose stock is worth 25% or more, the largest group work in the tech sector.
• The industry with the most respondents earning $400,000 or more is media & entertainment; the insurance sector has the highest percentage of respondents who earn less than $150,000.
• High salaries and bonuses are more common among counsel who focus on corporate work than litigation.
• Men were more likely than women to report receiving the highest salaries, bonuses, and raises.

For insights into these areas and more, download your free report here