Corporate Counsel Salary: Job Requirements and Career


Corporate Counsel Salary




In the United States, the average corporate counsel compensation is $142,400 per year, or $73.03 per hour. Entry-level jobs start at $120,000 per year, with the highest-paid individuals earning up to $174,800 per year. A corporation, with all of the moving elements involved in commercial operations, requires a dependable analyst who can sift through laws, limits, and other compliance standards to verify that the organization is legally on the right track. A business lawyer is brought in to help. 

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A corporate counsel’s tasks are all directly related to the needs of the business or firm that hires him or her. A lawyer typically works for a range of clients, but in the case of corporate counsel, they will devote all of their time and energy to a single client. A corporate counsel’s job entails providing legal advice and protection to both individual employees and the corporation as a whole. 

Document preparation and evaluation for the company 

A corporation counsel has received extensive training in analyzing documents to establish their legalities and meanings. Employee contracts, proposals, and other legal documents such as bylaws and non-disclosure agreements are examples of these documents. 


Management, tax experts, accountants, and other employees or advisors will all have access to a corporate counsel. The emphasis that businesses have on GRC can be seen in every choice they make, from hiring to marketing to sales. Having a corporation lawyer on staff clarifies any ambiguities or doubts a company may have about functioning legally. 

Contract drafting 

Corporate counsel is also responsible for drafting and negotiating commercial agreements such as real estate, property, and equipment leasing. When negotiating any form of lease that affects a company’s capacity to operate, it’s natural for them to want to get the best deal possible. Having a corporate counsel analyse and interpret any and all types of leases is essential for many organizations to obtain fair lease agreements. 

Planning of Company policies. 

Corporate counsels help companies set policies on industry-specific challenges, corporate governance, and legislation. When it comes to keeping your company’s profitability and efficiency in harmony with legal safety, corporate compliance has a lot of moving pieces and can be challenging at times. Corporate counsels assist in the negotiation of these often conflicting aspects of running a firm. 


To begin, anyone interested in working as a corporate lawyer must receive a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and pass a state bar test. To attend law school and get a Juris Doctor, you must first have a Bachelor’s degree. It can be especially beneficial to a future corporation counsel to have studied or specialized in corporate law as an undergraduate or in law school. 

You must be licensed and admitted to the American Bar Association in order to work in corporate law. Each state has its own written exam, as well as an ethical examination and a federal law examination. 

According to Payscale, a position as a corporate counsel can pay roughly $115,260 on average. Salaries for this position range from $74,000 to $175,000 on average. 

Lawyer employment is predicted to expand 8% between 2016 and 2026, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consider all of the new startup companies entering the tech realm, just to name one industry. These enterprises require legal advice and representation, and the expansion of more and more corporations into developing industries is leading to an increase in the number of corporate counsel employed.

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How do you go about becoming a business lawyer? 

To become a corporate lawyer, you’ll need to go to school for about seven years and pass a number of tests. Here are some ways to becoming a business lawyer in more detail: 

A bachelor’s degree can be obtained in a variety of ways. 

The first step toward becoming a corporate lawyer is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. You do not have to choose a certain major. You might, however, get a bachelor’s degree in a law-related field, such as legal studies, or in business. A bachelor’s degree in business administration may help you get insight into your legal expertise. 

Submit an application to law school and pass the LSAT. 

It’s critical to start thinking about law school applications in the fall semester of your senior year of college. Early on, do some research on law schools and choose about five to apply to. Consider writing your personal statement ahead of time to help you with the application process. 

The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is required for admission to law school. It’s a standardized test that assesses reading comprehension and verbal reasoning abilities. Your exam score has an impact on your chances of getting into law school. 

Because the LSAT is normally offered four times a year, it’s critical that you choose a test date that coincides with your undergraduate courses. Because many people study for the LSAT for over a year, it’s critical that you give yourself plenty of time to study. Consider joining a study group, engaging a private instructor, or creating and sticking to a regular study program to help you prepare. 

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While you are studying, gain experience. 

Use part-time work and internships during your undergraduate school to get valuable experience. Working at a local law firm can help you develop basic legal skills and gain real-world experience. Consider participating in student activities such as debate or student government. 

It’s also critical to network during your undergraduate and law school degrees. Make positive connections with your classmates, professors, and other professionals you meet. This could come in later in your career if you need help finding a job or seeking career advice. 

Enroll in law school 

The next stage in becoming a business lawyer is to go to law school and acquire your Juris Doctor. Law school is typically three years long, and many schools offer a curriculum that emphasizes reviewing previous cases rather than memorizing lists of statutes. Students gain a better knowledge of how the court interprets specific statutes using this methodology, known as the case-method. 

Take the bar exam and pass. 

To receive your license and practice law after graduating from law school with a J.D., you must pass the bar exam. The prerequisites for the bar test differ by state, however the Multistate Bar Examination is accepted in many. Regardless of your intended speciality, the exam is a 200-question standardized test with multiple choice and essay questions covering a wide range of legal topics. 

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Consider taking a specialty course. 

After passing the bar, you might want to pursue more education or a specialty course. Consider pursuing a Masters of Law (LLM) degree, which is a postgraduate degree that permits you to specialize in a certain area of law. LLM programs are typically full-time and last for one year. Coursework in subjects such as contracts and commercial law, as well as corporate and securities law, may be included in a corporate lawyer LLM program. 

Complete all of your continuing education requirements 

To keep your bar membership and practice law in many states, you must complete continuing education courses. Each state’s standards will be different. Each state has its own standards for the number of hours and frequency with which you must do continuing education courses, as well as rules for the specific courses you must finish, such as an ethics course.

Universities offering Corporate Law 

Stanford University is a prestigious university in California. 

Executive education programs in law, dispute resolution, policy, and business are available at Stanford University. Stanford University is a private university that is tied for sixth place on U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of national universities for 2020. An LL.M. in Corporate Governance and Practice is offered at Stanford Law School. The program is for international lawyers who are interested in bankruptcy, securities, or finance. Corporate finance, corporate acquisitions, and income taxation are among the topics covered in the courses. 


New York University is a public university in New York City. 

The School of Law at New York University offers nine full-time LL.M. programs. New York University (NYU) is a private, research-based university that was ranked tied for 29th among national institutions by U.S. News & World Report in 2020. The New York University School of Law provides a corporate law LL.M. program. The curriculum is aimed towards foreign lawyers who are interested in American legal and business regulations. Students investigate US corporate law after being admitted and take extra courses on corporate bonds, venture capital, entertainment law, and financial development. 

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San Diego State University 

The law school of the University of San Diego offers study abroad opportunities in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The University of San Diego (USD) is a private university that was ranked 91st among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2020. The University of San Diego School of Law offers a J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree with a focus on business and corporate law. The study of corporations, corporate taxation, and securities regulation are all required courses. Antitrust issues, bankruptcy, corporate finance, and international commercial transactions are among the topics covered in other courses. Students are also taught how to plan a business. 

The LL.M. in Business and Corporate Law program, which also includes training on securities rules, offers similar courses. At least two research papers or a thesis on corporate law and business are required for the degree. 

Columbia University is a private university in New York City 

A three-year J.D./MBA program is available at Columbia University. Students can personalize their studies in the LL.M. program at Columbia Law to their academic interests and career ambitions. Those interested in corporate law can study corporate securities law and transactions, commercial law and transactions, and taxation, among other topics. They can also take part in workshops that teach students how to successfully negotiate commercial deals. U.S. News and World Report has Columbia tied for third place among all national colleges for 2020.

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Why should you choose corporate law? 

New enterprises are flooding the market. 

According to the Economic Survey 2019-20, the number of new enterprises established in India increased by 80% from 70,000 in 2014 to 1,24,000 in 2018, placing India third in the world. 

4.35 million applications to start a new business were submitted in the United States, and 1,13,000 new enterprises were established in the United Kingdom alone in 2020. 

A qualified corporate lawyer is required for every new company that enters the market. 

Because of the legal assistance necessary throughout the business’s lifecycle, corporate lawyers are viewed virtually as partners. Lawyers are involved in every major business decision, thus they will soon have a seat at the table. 

Lawyers not only cure business problems, but also prevent them, so their reliance on them is considerable, and they are always on the lookout for expertise in this regard. 

 A wide range of job options 

If you are well-versed in corporate law, you will be sought after by both law firms and corporations. 

You can start as an associate at a legal firm and work your way up to become a partner at one of the country’s top law firms. Large corporations are also interested in hiring you as an in-house lawyer. 

You can become a consultant and advise two or more businesses at the same time if you don’t enjoy being on payroll. 

In this industry, freelancers have a lot of opportunities because they can receive commercial tasks from worldwide clients searching for specialists in cross-border transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and so on. 

For those interested in working before the courts, commercial litigation is one of the most profitable areas of practice. The NCLT, which was established in 2016, does not deal with cases involving Indian firms. Young lawyers have a lot of opportunities to gain recognition in commercial litigation because it is a relatively new court without the prejudices that exist in traditional courts. 

Opportunity to work in a variety of industries 

To function effectively, a corporate lawyer’s job is diverse, requiring knowledge in numerous fields such as tax, mergers, criminal law, and risk. 

You can work in any industry, including insurance, marketing, cuisine, luxury, telecommunications, retail, hospitality, and even government. 

You don’t just study from books; you also learn about all of these other markets and organizations. They also provide you with future entrepreneurial prospects. 

 The path of leadership 

As a business lawyer, you will learn a lot. Working with management and business on a regular basis instills many of the attributes that a business demands, allowing you to establish a solid foundation for being a leader in your company, law firm, or own practice. 

When you work for a corporation, you learn team building, team management, leadership, people management, time management, and many other skills. 

Not only that, but representing a customer or organization enhances your personality and communication skills. 

A corporate lawyer’s entire process allows you to bring out the most in yourself, assisting you in achieving higher leadership roles with comprehensive capabilities and a visionary strategist.


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