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It’s payday for chief legal officers. After Sarbanes-Oxley and the fallout from the corporate scandals of the past two years, general counsel are finally being rewarded for shouldering extra risks and responsibilities. Top lawyers at Fortune 500 companies earned more money last year than ever before: Our 2003 GC Compensation Survey found a 9 percent increase in cash compensation for the 100 best-paid GCs. General Electric’s Ben Heineman is still the “Shaq” of the in-house lawyer arena, crowning our list for the second year in a row with a combined salary and bonus of $3,930,000 (plus $13,884,923 worth of exercisable options). But it wasn’t just the industry giants who saw their paychecks swell. The GCs at the bottom of this year’s chart, numbers 76 — 100, posted a whopping 17 percent increase in cash compensation. In fact, the cutoff to make our top 100 roster this year was a combined salary and bonus of $665,475. But, as staff reporter Eriq Gardner points out (“Bottoms Up,” page 78), GCs at both ends of our list are working harder than ever before. But like others in the executive suite, corporate counsel’s days of hefty option grants are over. There were some exceptions, however. Honeywell awarded GC Peter Kreindler $3,692,000 in restricted stock last year, and Anheuser-Busch GC Stephen Lambright cashed in $9 million worth of options (while sitting on an additional $11 million in exercisable options at the end of 2002). What about all those hard-working attorneys who didn’t make our list? We also want to hear from you. Our Quality Of Life survey looks at how in-house lawyers like their work, compensation, benefits, opportunities for promotion, relationship with outside counsel, and more. To ensure that we get a representative pool of respondents, please take our electronic questionnaire (use the URL below). The survey is anonymous, and it will be online through September 30, 2003. Results will be published in our December issue. Tell us what you really should be earning in 2003, and whether we can plan on seeing you on our top earners list anytime soon. http://corpcounsel.com/qolsurvey/

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