Lawyer Pay

General Counsel Compensation Falls in 2011; Average Base Pay and Bonus Is $1.7M

Fortune 500 general counsel saw an average loss of 1.8 percent in base pay last year and much bigger drops in equity compensation.

The average base pay was $611,411, Corporate Counsel reports. The average base pay combined with nonequity bonus was $1.7 million, down 5.7 percent.

The losses in equity compensation were greater. The survey found a 10.8 percent drop in average stock awards and an 18.7 percent in average stock option awards (given to only 70 lawyers). The average stock award was $1.4 million and the average option value was $732,453.

“It was a year of declines—some in the double digits—for every component of GC pay that we measure,” the story says. “A number of reasons are to blame—the economy, poor share performance, and last but decidedly not least, shareholder scrutiny. Say-on-pay resolutions are taking their toll on executive pay, and GCs aren’t immune.”

The losses come after double digit gains in most categories last year. The article quotes Aaron Boyd, head of research at executive compensation analysts Equilar Inc., who calls the results “a return to normalcy.”

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