Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:45 am

Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.


I was the west coast associate who left before 3rd year on page 1. I'll take your concerns in sequence:

- No one needs to stay 5 years to go in house. I've had friends in areas that aren't considered hot to go in house (real estate, litigation, etc.) make the transition by year 3, not to mention a bunch of corporate associates. I don't get why any mid level would claim that you would need to stay until years 7 or 8. If anything, it is harder to make the jump then since many companies would consider you too senior. Yes it is harder to transition at a junior but there are definitely opportunities available. Like lateraling to another firm, years 4-6 is probably a sweet spot for going in house.

- Hard to say. Try to get more diversified corporate experience (especially any commercial agreement or tech trans work) if possible.

- Prestige helps to a certain extent, but you are V30 so you're fine. Your ability to impress at an interview and a written assessment (which I had to do) is way more important. Most junior associates I think overemphasis the importance of prestige. If anything it only gives you a minimal initial bump when someone looks at your CV. Nothing more. Firm connections have helped one of my friends go in house, i.e., partner recommended her to a client. General connections always help, as with anything.

- If you went through a rotation, that's great. Being exposed to more areas of the law definitely helps in house.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.


I'm the anon poster from the last page who went in-house after a year and a half in big law. I got my gig through straight cold applying on websites. I checked goinhouse.com, Zip Recruiter, and LinkedIn every day for about six months. I got interviews at a dozen or so companies.

As far as your first concern goes: I also was concerned I didn't "know enough" to go in-house. That said, I wasn't confident I'd be ready after, say, another 2 years at the firm. In my new gig, the other attorneys here have been incredibly helpful to help train me, and I can honestly say I've learned more about negotiating contracts, data privacy laws, and other areas relevant to being an in-house counsel in two months than I would have learned in 3 more years of big law.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:28 pm

Wow, thank you for the advice, everybody. This thread is the happiest place in TLS so far!

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here -- offer did end up coming through (hallelujah!), so thought it'd be helpful to include this as an additional data point since this position is not in CA/NYC.

$150k base
$37.5k bonus (variable; pegged to performance of the company)
$30k in RSUs and options
$20k sign-on bonus
6% 401k match


Congrats OP! Will you take it? When I made the jump (I'm the West Coast anon from 1st page who moved in house before 3rd year), it was a pretty easy decision due to QOL reasons but that may not rank as high for some...

Thanks, and yes, planning on accepting. Initially was planning on jumping off after 3rd/4th year, but the combination of the overall comp package/equity upside and improved QOL made this worth the BigLaw salary/bonus I'll miss out on. Also happy to PM others about my experience.

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

Postby omar.comin » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here -- offer did end up coming through (hallelujah!), so thought it'd be helpful to include this as an additional data point since this position is not in CA/NYC.

$150k base
$37.5k bonus (variable; pegged to performance of the company)
$30k in RSUs and options
$20k sign-on bonus
6% 401k match


Congrats OP! Will you take it? When I made the jump (I'm the West Coast anon from 1st page who moved in house before 3rd year), it was a pretty easy decision due to QOL reasons but that may not rank as high for some...

Thanks, and yes, planning on accepting. Initially was planning on jumping off after 3rd/4th year, but the combination of the overall comp package/equity upside and improved QOL made this worth the BigLaw salary/bonus I'll miss out on. Also happy to PM others about my experience.


Yes, congrats!! Would you mind PM'ing me? I'll be a junior corp associate this fall. I'd love to be able to position myself to get to your position

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.


I'm the anon poster from the last page who went in-house after a year and a half in big law. I got my gig through straight cold applying on websites. I checked goinhouse.com, Zip Recruiter, and LinkedIn every day for about six months. I got interviews at a dozen or so companies.

As far as your first concern goes: I also was concerned I didn't "know enough" to go in-house. That said, I wasn't confident I'd be ready after, say, another 2 years at the firm. In my new gig, the other attorneys here have been incredibly helpful to help train me, and I can honestly say I've learned more about negotiating contracts, data privacy laws, and other areas relevant to being an in-house counsel in two months than I would have learned in 3 more years of big law.


When you were cold applying and getting interviews, what experience levels were the companies asking for? Did you have any success getting interviews for jobs asking for more years of experience than you had?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
When you were cold applying and getting interviews, what experience levels were the companies asking for? Did you have any success getting interviews for jobs asking for more years of experience than you had?

OP here - I only applied to positions where I was within one year of the desired years of experience (e.g., if it required 4+ years, I'd only recommend applying if you were a third-year associate). Only exceptions to this rule were if I knew someone at the company or someone I work/have worked with recommended me to someone at the company. I used my firm's alumni portal and LinkedIn to identify companies that had previously hired people that I was connected with through school or work or through close mutual connections.

I will caveat this by saying that at some firms associates can make up ground in experience (I billed several hundred hours over my firm's billable pace as a junior and was on track for similar pace this year, and that led to me having a robust deal sheet, a wide variety of experience, and plenty of deals to reference/discuss in interviews). It was certainly mentioned several times how I was more junior than other candidates they were considering for the position, but the one upside of working a shit ton on all those deals for the past couple years was the company valued that over my competitor's numerical level of years of experience.

Most positions I saw were for 4-6 years minimum experience, but there were a handful of positions that required less, so those are the ones I focused on. I started this process of applying in Q1 and didn't hear back from several companies for 1-3 months after applying as they just aggregated resumes during that time. I've heard anecdotally and personally that resumes can total well into the hundreds for some positions, so it helps to be at a more well-renowned firm or firms that do business with the company or are in the same market, just to help make it through the initial sorting.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.


I'm the anon poster from the last page who went in-house after a year and a half in big law. I got my gig through straight cold applying on websites. I checked goinhouse.com, Zip Recruiter, and LinkedIn every day for about six months. I got interviews at a dozen or so companies.

As far as your first concern goes: I also was concerned I didn't "know enough" to go in-house. That said, I wasn't confident I'd be ready after, say, another 2 years at the firm. In my new gig, the other attorneys here have been incredibly helpful to help train me, and I can honestly say I've learned more about negotiating contracts, data privacy laws, and other areas relevant to being an in-house counsel in two months than I would have learned in 3 more years of big law.


When you were cold applying and getting interviews, what experience levels were the companies asking for? Did you have any success getting interviews for jobs asking for more years of experience than you had?


Most of the postings I saw explicitly asked for 4 or more years of experience. A minority asked for 1-2 years, and I applied to all of those. I didn't apply for anything that asked for five or more years, but I did apply to a good number of postings that asked for 4 years, and I had a handful of interviews for those positions. What I often found was that an alumnus of my firm worked there and wanted to interview me, and other times, HR or the attorneys wanted to interview me because of my firm despite me not having four years of experience.

Long story short, if you have the time, apply to anything that asks for 4 or fewer years of experience.

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

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:10 am

Curious to hear how negotiations went. Presumably just through the HR contact?

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

Postby worklifewhat » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:30 pm

lolwat wrote:this thread makes me wish i went into corp and not lit


SAME!! :(

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:37 pm

Went in-house as a third year to a financial services company in west coast:

150k base
25% target bonus
10k sign-on bonus
6% 401k match

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

Postby worklifewhat » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Went in-house as a third year to a financial services company in west coast:

150k base
25% target bonus
10k sign-on bonus
6% 401k match

Does this mean an annual amount worth $196.5k (ignoring sign on bonus)? If so, that’s pretty awesome!!

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:28 pm

In house as 4th year in a general corporate role, secondary market with low COL.

$150k base
$15k bonus, contingent (but historically paid)
6% 401k match
Miscellaneous other benefits (pay for monthly transit pass, gym, etc.).

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:07 pm

I started at my company not even 1 year out of law school in Jan. 2016, from a boutique law firm in SF. Real estate development company.

Started at $110K base w/ 10% bonus. Today I'm at $140K base w/ 10% bonus, plus, as of January 2018, I am officially an equity partner on all deals going forward. General counsel is retiring in less than 3 years and I will be taking over his role. Generally 9-6, but of course we have those busy days. Maybe one or twice a year I've had to work a weekend at home. PTO/sick days combined are only 11 days per year. No 401K match.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In house as 4th year in a general corporate role, secondary market with low COL.

$150k base
$15k bonus, contingent (but historically paid)
6% 401k match
Miscellaneous other benefits (pay for monthly transit pass, gym, etc.).


How long have you been there? How’d you get the job?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:58 pm

I went in-house straight from law school.

$160k base
$5k signing bonus
Target bonus is around 3% ($5k this year). Different and more lucrative bonus structure after the first promotion.
$3k/year student loan repayment
5% discount on company stock
4% 401k match

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I went in-house straight from law school.

$160k base
$5k signing bonus
Target bonus is around 3% ($5k this year). Different and more lucrative bonus structure after the first promotion.
$3k/year student loan repayment
5% discount on company stock
4% 401k match


That's awesome. Mind sharing how you got the position straight out of law school? Did you have really good credentials, or any particular strategy?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
That's awesome. Mind sharing how you got the position straight out of law school? Did you have really good credentials, or any particular strategy?


2L OCI. I initially skipped over them because I figured they were just doing a diversity program or something, but no full-time position. Ended up grabbing one of their interview spots because I needed a practice interview between two other interviews. Ended up liking what they said, and they liked me.

We hire 2-3 summers across the entire country and across all legal disciplines. We usually do OCI at schools near our legal department office locations, along with a few national internship fairs. My law school credentials weren't amazing (graduated cum laude and had very few extracurriculars), but I had a few years of relevant industry work experience, 2 years of relevant legal work in a biglaw firm, and experience in a relevant legal clinic.

Frankly, once you make it past the credentials filter, it's all about fit with the company. We want hard working people who aren't workaholics, if that makes sense.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:33 am

Would be interested to hear more about the substance of the roles alongside the salary information if any of the previous posters would care to supplement their posts. I.e. I think it would be helpful to know what someone taking a corp generalist role is being offered as compared to someone specializing in bank products or labor/employment, etc.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:32 pm

I went in-house from being an 8th yr in litigation (NYC) to a large pharma company. Compensation is:

$210k base
$65k target bonus
$75k target RSUs

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

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I went in-house from being an 8th yr in litigation (NYC) to a large pharma company. Compensation is:

$210k base
$65k target bonus
$75k target RSUs


$350k all in is amazing. Are you still in NYC? Even if you are, this is winning, and in any other market this is massively winning. Congrats!

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:29 pm

I'm a legal intern at a F100 tech company. Was just speaking to a senior counsel today about compensation. She informed me that the company pays similar to the gov't (not sure if state or federal), so compensation based on schedule/level. Counsel=level 11 (~150k), senior counsel (she's there 6 years, and was previously at firms $?, and legal director is level 13 ($?). She told me I'm about a level 8 (paid on a prorated $90k scale $38/hr!).

We have a very large legal department. Although they usually look for individuals with at least 4-5 years of experience, a few new hires had only 2 years of biglaw experience. Another had 2 years biglaw and then 1.5 in-house at another F100. Another had 6 years in-house straight out of law school before coming over to the company I work for. Others came over via acquisitions, and they've typically been made director or senior counsel based on seniority at their other company. I asked an attorney what she thinks the salesman make. She told me she's afraid to ask lol. Recently a salesman made a very large deal valued near $750M. Another salesman told me he took home a $1M commission.

Hours: 9-5 M-Thu. Fri/one day work from home, if you'd like. My manager doesn't come in on Fridays. Lots of working from home. The company trusts that you do your work.

Culture: Collegial! I work with a small regional legal team (two attorneys in the office, the rest salesman) on the sales floor, so lots of video conferencing with other attorneys in other states, but no biggy! People are very happy here, which is why they stay here for a while. World Cup is playing on TVs all around the office. People joking around. Office doors open. Sales and legal can work hand-in-hand, but legal typically keeps to themselves. We just had a team dinner where people from my legal team came in from other states for a meeting, so it was nice to get to meet people in person.

I know they are interviewing for a few positions. Again, not exactly sure about compensation, but definitely based on gov't scale up to level/grade/schedule 13.
NOTE: I am a legal intern, not an attorney.



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