Lawyer Pay

Top GCs Earning $1.5 M on Average

Fueled by big bonuses, the average cash compensation for the 100 best-paid general counsel increased to $1.5 million last year.

Average salaries were about $560,000 while average bonuses were $1 million, according to Corporate Counsel magazine. Stock awards provided another big boost to compensation, with an average grant of $1.1 million to the 86 general counsel who received them.

Most often the bonuses and stock are part of incentive pay plans. The magazine found that 76 general counsel in the top 100 are paid based on incentives while 41 get discretionary bonuses.

Jon Walton, the general counsel of Allegheny Technologies Inc., which makes specialty metals, was No. 1 on the list for total pay, earning $5.2 million in cash compensation. His year-end bonus accounted for $4.7 million of the total.

The magazine looks at data filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to compile its report on the 100 best-paid general counsel. Companies report only the salaries of their five best-paid executives, so general counsel who are not in that group are not included in the results, a companion article says.

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