2018 CLOC Compensation Survey: Summary of Results

April 2019 |
Corporate Legal Operations Consortium

Survey Background

To stay competitive in the industry, access to detailed compensation data is absolutely essential. In 2018, CLOC conducted a compensation survey with its members. The information gathered is based on 2017 data.

The information presented below is based on responses from 181 CLOC members in 30 industries across 13 countries. Of those surveyed, 67% identified as female, 31% identified as male and 2% identified as non-binary or other.

Due to the distribution of responses, we cannot provide an accurate geographical or industry breakdown of compensation data. We are sharing this data in the aggregate with several key caveats:

  1. This survey represents 2017 compensation data.
  2. Each industry is unique, as is each geography. These data may not be representative of your unique circumstances so please do not read more into the data than a high level snapshot. We provide these data as important benchmarks that are frequently requested by our members, but we encourage readers not to take these figures too literally.
  3. All data below were collected as individual questions/responses and thus the aggregate amount (i.e. average base salary + average bonus + average stock) is not used to calculate the average total compensation.
    1. A separate question asked each respondent to provide their “Actual Total Compensation.” For the purposes of this survey, we rely on the respondent’s indication of their “Actual Total Compensation” unless otherwise noted.
  4. All data are self-reported. CLOC cannot verify the validity of individual entries.

Survey Summary

2017 compensation data suggests that legal ops professionals, on average across all levels, make a total of more than $163,000 (including base salary, bonus, and stock compensation).

Quick Stats:

  • Bonus – 80% of respondents received a bonus in 2017 and the average bonus was 13% of base salary.
  • Raise – 82% of respondents received a raise in 2017. The average raise was $7,700.
  • Stock Compensation – 33% of respondents received stock compensation in 2017.

2017 Compensation Summary Table

  Base Salary Bonus Stock Comp Total Comp Raise in 2017
Average $132,044 $25,517 $55,633 $163,108 $7,685
Median $120,000 $17,500 $33,000 $134,000 $5,000

Note: Not every respondent provided bonus or stock compensation data so these figures reflect the average of the respondents who provided data for each specific question. For this reason, base salary + bonus + stock compensation do not = total compensation in the chart above. Each figure is an average of data reported for that specific data point.

Survey Demographics

Industry Representation

Company Size Representation (Based on Annual Revenue)

Slightly more than half of our survey respondents represent companies with less than $5B (USD) in annual revenue.

Density Map of Responses (U.S. Only)

Note: The darker the color, the more responses from that state. (California had the most responses with 40+). States that are the lightest color (e.g. MT, ND, SD, etc.) did not receive any respondent data. This information is provided to give you a general sense of where our survey respondents work and live because geography is a factor in compensation.

Gender Compensation Breakdown

As noted, two-thirds of our survey respondents identified as female and one-third, male. Overall, pay for female legal ops professionals lags behind their male counterparts at all job levels except Director and Senior Director. Please note: These data are based on a relatively small sample size (most notably for Senior Director and VP/Managing Director). Numbers represent total 2017 compensation.

Female vs. Male Total Compensation Comparison by Job Level

Job Level Breakdown

Job level is highly indicative of compensation. We’ve broken down the average 2017 compensation across three categories – base salary, bonus, and stock compensation – for eight distinct job levels.

Note: Each of these figures (Base, Bonus, Stock) were surveyed as separate data points. The numbers below are an average of each data point for the responses received. Not every respondent replied to each question.

Survey respondents who lead their organization’s legal operations function make $176,000 in total compensation on average. Survey respondents who do not lead their legal operations function make $139,000 on average. It should be noted that professionals who lead their legal operations function span a variety of titles and levels depending on organization size and corporate structure.

Average Base Salary, Bonus, and Stock Compensation by Job Level

Legal Ops Experience

Unsurprisingly, the more legal ops experience one has, the higher the pay. See the breakdown based on four bands of experience below.

Average Total Compensation Based on Legal Operations Experience

Note: All data are an average of total 2017 compensation.


Level of education is highly correlated with compensation. Legal ops professionals with a JD degree make an average of 59% more than legal ops professionals whose highest level of education is a Bachelor’s degree. Similarly, professionals with an MBA make 29% more than those with only a Bachelor’s degree. Please note: Job level is also highly correlated with one’s level of education which also explains the pay differentiation.

Highest Level of Education and Average Total Compensation

Company Size and Compensation

Total compensation is moderately correlated with organization size. Legal ops professionals who work at organizations with more than $5B in annual revenue on average make $190,000 per year. Legal ops professionals at organizations with less than $5B per year make $138,000 on average. All figures are total compensation.

Average Total Compensation by Company Revenue

Want to learn more about corporate legal industry trends? Attend CLOC’s 4th annual Institute, May 14-16, 2019 at Bellagio Las Vegas.

Questions? Email info@cloc.org.