Corporate Counsel

Job Description

Attorneys who serve as Corporate Counsel work for a single business or corporation, advising the company on legal matters and providing legal protection. A Corporate Counsel works in and out of the courtroom on a wide range of legal matters. This includes drafting and negotiating employee contracts, filing government reports, drafting and reviewing legal documents, and reviewing and creating employee handbooks. Corporate attorneys also review partnerships between their company and vendors, subcontractors, and partners.

It’s important for a Corporate Counsel to not only have an in-depth knowledge of business law, but also a background in the industry in which their company operates.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Negotiate employee contracts
  • Prepare and file government reports
  • Draft legal documents
  • Review new business relationships with vendors and subcontractors
  • Guide managers on regulatory and compliance matters
  • Administer training workshops
  • Formulate employee handbooks
  • Analyze legal issues relating to proposed products
  • Represent the corporation before administrative boards and court trials
  • Provide supervision to outside lawyers hired to assist the corporation with their specialized legal services
  • Structure joint enterprises with other organizations

Education and Background

This position requires a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where the candidate will work.

A background in business and the industry in which the company does business are preferred.

Skills and Competencies

  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of federal and state business laws and regulations
  • Administrative skills
  • Research skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Negotiation skills
  • Managerial skills


According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Corporate Counsel with

1 Year of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $52,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $50,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $50,000
  • Miami, Florida: $60,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $70,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $64,000
  • Houston, Texas: $70,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $72,000
  • New York City, New York: $86,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $70,000
  • Overall: $63,000

5 Years of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $63,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $60,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $69,000
  • Miami, Florida: $70,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $78,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $88,000
  • Houston, Texas: $83,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $110,000
  • New York City, New York: $112,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $110,000
  • Overall: $84,000

Similar Job Titles

  • In-House Counsel
  • Staff Attorney
  • Deputy General Counsel
  • General Counsel
  • Chief Legal Officer

Career Path

A Corporate Counsel is required to have a Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited law school and a license to practice law in the state where they work. A bachelor’s degree is necessary to pursue a J.D. degree. College coursework in corporate law, contracts, business administration, taxation, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust law, and corporate finance is also recommended for students who know they want to become a Corporate Counsel. Internships with corporate law firms while in school are also encouraged.

Many companies prefer to hire seasoned attorneys as Corporate Counsel, so most attorneys start out in law firms as associates. The next step is to progress along either a partner or non-partner track, leading to positions as partners or senior attorneys. After a few years with a firm, some attorneys transition from private practice to being a Corporate Counsel.

Position Trends

According to the industry website In-House Tech, data security is an issue many in-house attorneys say exposes their clients to the biggest risk. The trend toward moving in-house data storage to more secure, cloud-based storage options is expected to continue.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is also becoming increasingly common in the legal field. Legal teams are using AI to automate things like document creation and internal workflows. It is also being used in legal research to determine how relevant a particular precedent or piece of data is to a case.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for attorneys is expected to grow by six percent between 2018 and 2028, which is as fast as average.

Typical Hours

The typical work hours in an office setting for a Corporate Counsel are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many attorneys work more than 40 hours a week, especially when preparing for trials or nearing deadlines.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 
  • Law Jobs

Are You Interested in Becoming a Corporate Counsel?

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