If you look back at a corporate lawyer’s baby pictures or scrapbook, you’re likely to find somewhere her just having written “Money = :)” With a prefix like “corporate,” you’d expect corporate lawyers to be the picture of filthy rich, and with good reason: Fortune 500 companies may be your clients and millions of dollars pass through the documents you handle.
You would think with all that money flying around the corporate lawyer would be skimming a little off the top to afford a Swiss chalet and a rocket limousine. It turns out that those are the exceptions. Client companies pay just like any other client, leaving the average corporate lawyer from anywhere between $55k and the mid $160s, depending on experience and the company. If you work as in-house counsel, you’ll receive company benefits, like health care, pension plans, and paid vacations. But many corporate lawyers also take a pay cut when they make the move from working several years in a law firm to in-house counsel. Still, it’s not exactly the life of eating pasta fazul and having to forage through discarded pizza boxes for cheese.