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Career Center: 2011 In-House Salaries Are On The Upswing

While practically every attorney is familiar with the market rate for Biglaw salaries, not as much is known about salaries for in-house lawyers. Unlike Biglaw’s lockstep salaries, in-house salaries vary widely depending on a broad range of factors such as industry, size of legal department, years of experience, etc. Additionally, since in-house salaries are often negotiable, in-house attorneys tend to avoid discussing their individualized pay with one another.

ALM Legal Intelligence has helped to demystify in-house salaries through its 2011 Law Department Compensation Benchmarking Survey. This comprehensive survey analyzed compensation data from 4,951 lawyers employed at 225 corporate law departments. The 2011 median salaries for various management and non-management law department positions are reported in the tables after the jump, along with their changes from 2010….

Almost all positions saw a salary increase from last year. Bonuses were also up, increasing by as little as 0.44% ($180,800) for the Chief Legal Officer/General Counsel position and as much as 58% ($23,700) for the Attorney position. If you’d like more information about in-house salaries or about obtaining an in-house position, feel free to contact Diana Rubin, Lateral Link’s Director of In-House Practice.


Position 2011 Median Salary (% change from 2010)
Chief Legal Officer/General Counsel $329,400 (- 3.5%)
Deputy Chief Legal Officer $229,500 (- 4.9%)
Division General Counsel $233,500 (+ 3.1%)
Managing Attorney $200,000 (+ 5.0%)


Position 2011 Median Salary (% change from 2010)
High Level Specialist (12 or more years of experience) $180,000 (+ 5.9%)
Senior Attorney (8 or more years of experience) $148,200 (+ 0.8%)
Attorney (4 or more years of experience) $115,800 (+ 4.1%)
Staff Attorney (entry level attorney with at least one year of experience) $78,700 (- 1.6%)
Recent Law School Graduate (graduated from law school within past year) $65,600 (+ 2.3%)