Total median compensation of a group of general counsel was five times salary

Data in a paper by Prof. Michele Beardslee, presented at the Georgetown Conference on the Future of Law Firms at 19, reports on the salaries of 46 general counsel and the total compensation of 39 general counsel. The paper cites Execucomp as the source of its data.

In 2006, the median salary of those general counsel was $420,000. Dwarfing that figure was their median total compensation of $2,208,000. It is questionable to calculate with medians, let alone when the populations are somewhat different, but roughly speaking it appears that total comp was five times larger than salary. At the 75th percentile the comparable difference was $517,000 to $3,099,000, which is somewhat more than five to one and at the 25th percentile the comparable difference was $356,000 to $1,287,000, or a tad less than four to one.).

From this back of the envelope glimpse, beyond their not-too-shabby salaries, these general counsel must have received handsome cash bonuses and Midas-level grants of options, restricted stock and other financial perquisites. For every dollar of salary, their incentive packages added about four dollars.

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