Top in-house lawyers in the job market are ratcheting down their appetite for risk, favoring stable, less flashy companies as economic headwinds buffet the tech industry and venture-backed startups.

Recruiters say candidates also are seeking more of their compensation in cash instead of stock options. Options can soar if a company hits it big. But many recent grants have slid underwater, amid falling tech stock prices and declining valuations at startups.

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