In-house counsel salaries surge in 2024: report

Growth noted across various in-house counsel roles

In-house counsel salaries surge in 2024: report

BarkerGilmore has released its 2024 In-House Counsel Compensation Report, revealing increases in base salaries and cash bonuses across various levels of in-house counsel, with significant compensation for those at private equity portfolio companies.

General Counsel at private equity portfolio companies earned compensation comparable to peers at public companies and 55 percent more than those at private companies. Public companies generally offer higher salaries and bonuses, but long-term incentives at portfolio companies outperformed those of public and private firms last year.

The gender pay gap for general counsel has also narrowed from 4.9 percent in 2023 to 4.3 percent in 2024. Motivation to seek new employment due to compensation concerns has decreased by 22 percent. However, in-house counsel with 25-29 years of experience remains the least satisfied with compensation (42 percent) and most likely to look for new positions.

The report indicates a decline in sign-on bonuses for managing counsel and senior counsel, with only 25 percent receiving bonuses this year compared to 45 percent last year. Overall job changes among in-house counsel have decreased to 9 percent as the market stabilizes, down from 12 percent in 2021.

General counsel with additional responsibilities such as government affairs or chief compliance officer roles typically earn more. Responsibilities in these areas can increase total compensation by 35 percent, 25 percent, 24 percent, 17 percent, and 15 percent respectively.

In-house counsel specializing in banking and finance earned the most, with median total compensation for managing and senior counsel in this field at $410,000. This was followed by energy at $390,000) and litigation at $381,000.

Last but definitely not least, general counsel with experience at AM 50 law firms earned 58 percent more than those from small or boutique firms. Law firm experience has a more significant impact on compensation than attending a top 50 law school.

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