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ORTUNE 500 companies ARE FINALLY PUTTING THEIR money where their mouths are. In 2002, the economy tanked, the stock market dipped, and corporate scandals dominated the headlines. But the nation’s 100 best-paid chief legal officers forged ahead. Way ahead. They got fatter raises — an average of 9 percent, with a combined salary and bonus sailing past the $1 million mark. And those in the back of our pack (the “bottom” 25) did even better — receiving 17 percent more cash, to be exact. Okay, so they had to pay a slight price. The carrot that used to be dangled in front of law firm lawyers to come in-house — stock options — has shriveled. And with Sarbanes-Oxley’s new obligations, and other burdens, there’s more work to do. But at least the top GCs are being generously rewarded for their efforts.

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