Which general counsel were paid the most in 2022?
According to the 2023 General Counsel Compensation Report, the five most highly paid legal chiefs received more than $20 million in compensation. The top 10 all collected more than $15 million. Image from Shutterstock.
Six of the top 10 highest-paid general counsel work in the tech industry, according to a new report published by Corporate Counsel and ALM Intelligence on Monday.
According to the 2023 General Counsel Compensation Report, which is based on U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pay disclosures of the Fortune 1000 for fiscal year 2022, the five most highly paid legal chiefs received more than $20 million in compensation. The top 10 all collected more than $15 million.
As a result, Corporate Counsel reports that their total $213.4 million in compensation represents a 17% increase from the $182.3 million general counsel received in compensation the prior year.
Aparna Bawa, interim chief legal officer and chief operating officer of Zoom Video Communications, took the top spot, receiving a total of $28 million in compensation. Kate Adams, general counsel of Apple, and Dana Wagner, chief legal officer of Twilio, took the next two spots, earning about $27 million and $26 million, respectively.
Rounding out the top five highest paid general counsel in Corporate Counsel and ALM Intelligence’s report were Kent Walker, chief legal officer of Alphabet, who received about $24 million in compensation; and John G. Finley, chief legal officer of Blackstone, who received about $22 million in compensation.
“General counsel is a big bucks job these days,” Jason Winmill, managing partner at legal department consulting firm Argopoint, told Corporate Counsel. “The overall numbers are massive and sometimes staggering.”
Winmill added that the trend to extend general counsel’s participation in business operations and the C-suite has helped increase their compensation in the past two decades.
“It reflects the increased role and influence that general counsel has taken on and the respect to which they are held by the corporations,” he said.
The top 10 general counsel listed in the 2023 General Counsel Compensation Report also included chief legal officers of KKR, Amazon.com, the Goldman Sachs Group, DoorDash and Walt Disney.
Corporate Counsel noted that under SEC rules, companies generally only disclose the compensation of their five most highly paid executives. As a result, hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies do not report the pay of their general counsel.