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Most general counsel in the Fortune 500 go for the gold when it comes to their compensation. White men, however, are going beyond the gold and grabbing the platinum. Do women and minority general counsel unwittingly settle for less? Data gleaned from Securities and Exchange Commission filings and conversations with experts who negotiate compensation for general counsel present a compelling case that the problem is commonplace.

Julie Goldberg, managing director of Korn/Ferry’s legal specialty practice, is highly familiar with this issue. “Some of the most competent, able women who are GCs just haven’t gone to the mat the way men do [over compensation],” says Goldberg, who has placed nearly 75 general counsel in her 10 years of legal recruiting. “You don’t see the level of analysis and intensity in women that you do in men.”

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