Average Lawyers Salary in South Africa 2023

Average Lawyers Salary

Lawyers are among South Africa’s highest-paid professionals. The average lawyers salary ranges from R400,000.00 to R3.5 million, including benefits. The type of lawyer that one is will heavily influence the lawyer’s salary. Furthermore, the industry and type of practice also influence the salary of a lawyer. 

Lawyers also earn bonuses and commissions and each employer has its own mandate of commissions and bonuses. Bonuses for a lawyer in South Africa can be as high as R880,000.00 per year and as low as R4,000.00 per year. On the other hand, commissions can be up to R250,000.00 per year. 

A lawyer’s salary typically increases significantly as a result of bonuses and commissions. Benefits, such as contributions from employers to retirement programs and health insurance, may also be included in the compensation package. Up to 50% of the premiums due for such a plan could be paid for by the employer.

 Other benefits that a lawyer can get are allowances. However, the activities a lawyer engages in while conducting business have a significant impact on allowances. A lawyer working in South Africa can be afforded perks that include a travel stipend, accommodation, and more.

Although lawyers earn commissions, bonuses, allowances, and other remuneration for their work, their basic salary cannot be linked to their allowances. We analyze various lawyers and their minimum and maximum salaries in 2023 to gain a better grasp of how much lawyers earn in South Africa.

Here are the salaries of different lawyers in South Africa below. 

General Counsel salary in South Africa 2023

In South Africa, a general counsel earns an average salary of R1,185,677.00 yearly. The highest-paid lawyers in South Africa, according to the Robert Walters salary benchmark, are general counsels in the financial services, commercial, and industrial sectors.

A general counsel in the finance industry earns a minimum salary of R2.3 million per year.  The highest salary for a General Counsel in the financial services sector is R3.5 million. In business and industry, the starting salary for a general counsel is R1,000,000.00 annually. General Counsel in business and industry earns up to R3.5 million per year, which is equal to the maximum income for General Counsel in financial services.

Salaries for general counsels have increased every year, particularly for those in the financial services industry. In the financial services industry, the starting salary for general counsel climbed by 53%. On the other hand, from R1.5 million in 2021 to R1 million in 2023, the minimum general counsel salary in industry and commerce fell by 33%. (Robert Walters).

Senior Legal Counsels earn R1,028,000.00 yearly on average (Payscale). Senior Counsel can receive bonuses worth up to R138,000.00 annually in addition to their base pay. Furthermore, an employer may contribute up to 50% of the cost of a Senior Legal Counsel’s health coverage.

If a Senior Legal Counsel has more than 10 years of experience, their annual income can rise dramatically. A Senior Legal Counsel can earn up to R1.4 million yearly. The lowest yearly salary for a Senior Legal Counsel in South Africa as of 2023 is R1 million (Robert Walters).

Senior Legal Counsel’s minimum salary for in-house work in the financial services industry dropped from R1 million in 2021 to R900,000.00 in 2023. However, the minimum salary for Senior Legal Counsel working in-house in business and industry increased from R900,000.00 to R1,000,000.00.

For Senior Legal Counsel employed in-house in the financial services business as well as in commerce & industry, nothing changed. 

Junior Counsel Salary in South Africa 2023 

In South Africa, a junior counsel earns an average yearly salary of R525,000.00. The annual salary limit for junior counsel in South Africa is set at R400,000.00. Those employed in-house in the industry and commerce sector earn a minimum salary of R500,000.00 per year, while those employed in-house in the financial services sector earn a minimum salary of R400,000.00 per year.

In-house Junior Counsel in the industry and commerce sectors saw a 25% gain in their average salary in 2023. However, in-house Junior Counsel in the financial services sector did not see a rise in salaries. In South Africa, a junior counsel can earn up to R700,000.00 per year as their annual salary (Robert Walters).

The highest salary a Junior Counsel can receive while working in-house in industry and commerce increased. The rise from R550,000.00 a year represented a 27% increase. The maximum salary that junior counsel in the financial services industry can earn in 2023 only increased by 8.3%.

In 2023, a Legal Counsel receives an average salary of R602,379.00 per year (Payscale). The minimum annual salary for an in-house legal counsel working in industry and commerce is R750,000.00, according to Robert Walters. From 2021 the minimum salary has increased by 25%.

Legal Counsels employed in-house in industry and commerce can earn up to R950,000.00 yearly. From the maximum salary of 2021 to the salaries of 2023, this implies an increase of 11.7%. The maximum yearly salary for Legal Counsel employed in the financial services industry remained at R950,000.00 in 2023.

In-house legal counsel in the financial services industry earns a minimum salary of R650,000.00 per year in 2023. The salary remains at the same level as the minimum remuneration for in-house Legal Counsel employed in the financial services industry.

Legal counsel gets bonuses in both commerce & industry and financial services sectors. A legal counsel’s annual bonuses could range from R21,000 and R210,000. Only 43% of the time, according to Robert Walters, will Legal Counsel receive a bonus in 2023.

Associate Salary in South Africa 2023 

In 2023, an Associate receives an average yearly salary of R369,827.00 (Indeed). Depending on where one works, an associate’s salary may be higher than the national average. Johannesburg has the highest average salary for an associate, with an average salary of R869,901.00 annually. The second-highest paying city for associates is Cape Town, where associates earn an average salary of R504,807 per year.

In addition to their base pay, associates can potentially receive commissions and performance bonuses. The annual commission for an Associate can be anything from R50,000 to R397,000. Commissions are substantially higher than bonuses, which vary from R7,000 to R61,000 instead (Payscale).

Since 2021, the Associate’s salary has not changed. Associates were paid a minimum salary of R650,000.00 annually in 2021, and this number has not changed for 2023, according to Robert Walters’ individual salary benchmark. Additionally, the maximum Associate salary for the year 2023 remained at R850,000.00.

Given their annual salaries, Associates have the potential to make over R1 million if they perform well and receive significant commissions and bonuses. However, an Associate’s salary in a firm is also influenced by the number of years of experience. Experienced workers are more likely to receive higher salaries and bonuses.

Senior Associate Salary in South Africa 2023 

The senior associate’s base salary is R982,529.00 per year (Payscale). The lowest-paid senior associate receives an average salary of R621,000.00 annually, placing them in the 10th percentile. The top-paid senior associates have over five years of experience in their field and are in the 90th percentile. Senior associates earning R1 million per year on average fall inside the 90th percentile.

Due to potential bonuses, a Senior Associate’s salary may increase significantly. Senior associates in South Africa are eligible for performance bonuses that can range from R91,000 to R789,000 yearly. Senior associates’ salaries might increase via bonuses to over R2 million annually. Bonuses for senior associates vary depending on the employer.

According to Robert Walters, the minimum yearly salary for senior associates in South Africa is R850 000, which is more than the median yearly wage for those who fall within the 10th percentile according to Payscale. The minimum pay for Senior associates in private practice, according to Robert Walters, hasn’t changed for 2023 and hasn’t changed since 2021 either.

Senior associates’ maximum basic salary increased from R1.2 million in 2021 to R1.4 million in 2023. The senior associates’ top salary has increased by 16.6% as a result.

Partner salary in South Africa 2023 

In South Africa, a partner earns an average salary of R904,732.00 (Payscale). A law company can also award bonuses to partners. A partner’s annual performance bonuses can range from R40,000 to R1 million. Since each law firm has a different bonus program, bonuses are typically negotiated after becoming a partner. A law firm partner could also be eligible for health benefits under which the employer will contribute up to 50% of the value of the premiums.

The partners who fall within the 90th percentile earn the most money. The 90th percentile partners earn an average income of R2 million. With the average salary of those in the 90th percentile at R2 million, a partner that falls into the 90th percentile can easily earn R3 million when adding bonuses and profit sharing as part of income. 


South African lawyers make more money than the average citizen does, and they are among South Africa’s highest-paid professionals. The number of years a lawyer has been practicing is a significant factor that determines both their benefits and their income. If someone desires a high salary as a lawyer, earning an LLB degree might not be the end of the road. A postgraduate degree in the field can quickly boost one’s earnings to be above the average with only a few years of experience.

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