Login to MyACC
ACC Members

Not a Member?

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

Join ACC

2021 Law Department Compensation Survey, a comprehensive, hybrid data collection process, provides a wealth of information for in-house counsel and legal operations professionals, including wage gap data by gender and race and much more.

Washington – The Association of Corporate Counsel and Empsight today released the “2021 Law Department Compensation Survey,” which uses a hybrid data collection process to record a large amount and variety of data from companies of all sizes. The Large and Mid-Market Edition collects data for in-house legal professionals exclusively at the department level. With over 18,000 entries, it is the most comprehensive law department compensation data set for leaders to very accurately benchmark their practices against their peers. The Small Law Department Compensation Survey is a hybrid departmental / self-reported survey, which in addition to compensation, covers additional categories, including incentives, bonus, vacation, and retirement plan data, based on job title and company size. This year, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) helped collect additional data to increase the available insights among legal operations-specific positions.

Based on data collected in the Small Law Department Edition, the survey found significantly higher base salary, incentives, and total cash compensation levels in 2021 vs. 2020. It also found that male CLOs earn $19,857 more than women CLOs on average, while women deputy GCs earn $4,457 more than their male counterparts on average. Self-identified non-minority CLOs earn $42,135 more than their minority counterparts on average, while self-identified minority respondents earn more on average across the remaining positions listed.

“ACC’s partnership with Empsight has again resulted in the most comprehensive compensation survey for all positions in a law department available on the market today,” said Blake Garcia, Ph.D., ACC’s director of research. “With the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, and in the midst of a tremendous amount of employee transition, this survey is a valuable asset to help department leaders ensure that their compensation, retirement, and paid time off remain competitive to retain and attract top-level talent. I want to thank CLOC for their assistance as well in sharing the survey with their members to help provide a clearer picture for both in-house counsel and legal operations professionals.”

“The hybrid data collection approach allows us to collect a significant amount of company sourced data from larger organizations, while also digging deeper into overall compensation packages for smaller companies as well,” said Jeremy Feinstein, managing director and co-founder, Empsight International. “With data covering every job title in a legal department, these survey results offer valuable insights to everyone in the in-house community. We thank ACC for their continued partnership on this project, and appreciate CLOC’s efforts to broaden the scope even further for legal operations professionals.”

“Legal Operations has become indispensable to companies and as shown in the CLOC State of the Industry report and other recent studies, continues to be on the rise. The function is evolving rapidly from tactical to a strategic leadership role in legal departments across the industry. This report reinforces that,” said Mike Haven, CLOC President. “Though we still have work to do, it is encouraging to see competitive salaries and benefits in our space. These findings will empower legal operations professionals and recruiters to make more informed decisions in the hiring process.”

Additional highlights from the self-reported survey include:

  • CLOs in multi-lawyer departments at companies between $1-2 Billion in revenue make 31% more in base salaries than in companies with $100 Million and below.  Senior Attorneys at $1-2 Billion companies have base salaries similar to those in lower revenue categories (<1% different).
  • 50% or more of the newly included positions within the legal operations job family are eligible for Short-Term Bonus Incentives, which may reflect an increase in the perceived value and importance of these positions to the success of the management and stability of the corporate legal function.
  • ‘Compensation competitiveness’ was the top-ranked issue of concern, followed by ‘work flexibility’ and ‘employee benefits.’

In the Small Law Department Edition, the in-house counsel results are based on 781 individuals derived from both self-reported and company-reported survey submissions. The majority of responses are based on positions within organizations under $2 billion in revenue.

The legal operations focused results are based on 205 individuals derived from both self-reported and company-reported survey submissions. The vast majority of responses are based on positions within organizations over $1 billion in revenue.

Additional survey highlights for in-house counsel and legal operations professionals are attached. For further information or to answer any questions, please contact Dan Weber at and visit the compensation benchmarking survey website.


About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other organizations through informationeducationnetworking, and advocacy. With more than 45,000 members in 85 countries employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit and follow ACC on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.  

Empsight International, LLC is a human resource consulting firm which helps employers make better decisions about their investment in people. Empsight’s compensation surveys enable Fortune 500 and large multinational corporations to benchmark their critical functional areas against other relevant peers. Our surveys are seen as definitive data reference sources in markets where such information is critical to maintaining competitiveness. The surveys cover key corporate functional areas, with an emphasis on new and emerging roles. Our survey participation tools are streamlined and designed for ease of use. We rely on input and feedback from our Survey Advisory Group comprised of industry leaders to keep our surveys competitive and on-point. Our Principals and staff have significant experience in consulting on compensation, organizational and human resource issues across multiple industry sectors.


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work properly; others help us improve the user experience.

By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. For more information, read our cookies policy and our privacy policy.