Nothing in memory has ever caused as many GCs to lose their jobs as quickly as stock options backdating. In little more than a year, 12 general counsel have stepped down amid options problems at their companies. These legal chiefs constitute about a quarter of the 40-plus executives who have lost their jobs in the steadily expanding options controversy. Indeed, backdating has forced out as many GCs as CEOs.

By all indications, the casualty list will only grow. “I expect that we will see more general counsel lose their jobs,” says Erik Lie, the University of Iowa business professor whose research into backdating kindled the current firestorm.

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