Legal Industry News
July 19, 2012
General Counsel Compensation Drops in Every Category in 2011, Based on ALM Report
After a strong rebound in 2010, general counsel compensation suffered across-the-board declines last year, according to a survey report in the August issue of ALM’s Corporate Counsel, the nation’s leading publication for general counsel and in-house attorneys. Highlights of the annual GC Compensation Survey are posted at http://www.corpcounsel.com/gccomp.
The sharpest set-backs came in the equity awards categories. Average stock awards to general counsel fell 10.9 percent to $1,426,325 in 2011, while the average value of options, awarded to only 70 lawyers, plummeted 18.7 percent from 2010 to $732,453. Salaries meanwhile ticked down just 1.8 percent to $611,411.
The remaining category of traditional bonuses plus nonequity incentive pay dropped 7.7 percent to an average $1,125,458, quite a reversal from 2010’s 28.7 percent jump. All data was gleaned from the proxy statements of the Fortune 500.
“The ups and downs of the various forms of general counsel compensation give us a good idea of executive compensation trends in general,” saidCorporate Counsel Editor in Chief Anthony Paonita. “Anyone with more than a passing interest in business will want to know how leaders are being rewarded.”
The report cites the economy, poor share performance, increased shareholder scrutiny and possibly the increase in lawyer supply from law firm woes as main drivers of last year’s decline.
Among other survey findings:
• The highest general counsel salary was Philip Morris International Inc.’s David Bernick’s $1.6 million. In fact, though he resigned his post in February after just two years, Bernick stands to collect an additional $1.6 million next February, if he satisfies his noncompete agreement.
• The leader in bonus and nonequity incentive compensation was CBS Corporation’s Louis Briskman with $5.2 million.
• In the equity awards category, Google Inc.’s David Drummond stood out with $8.4 million stock grants and an option award valued at $6.2 million.
Full GC Compensation Survey data are available for purchase in searchable, sortable Excel format from the ALM Legal Intelligence website, almlegalintel.com.
ALM, an integrated media company, is a leading provider of specialized business news, research and information, focused primarily on the legal and commercial real estate sectors. ALM’s market-leading brands include The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, GlobeSt.com, Insight Conferences, Law.com, Law Journal Press, LegalTech, The National Law Journal and Real Estate Forum. Headquartered in New York City, ALM was formed in 1997.
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