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Americans love to come up with new names for shopworn concepts. Remember when the word “detail” became “granularity”? And “cooperation” became “unsiloing”? And so it is with general counsel pay this year. Our fourteenth annual GC Compensation Survey is slightly different from previous years, mainly because the Securities and Exchange Commission has changed the way that companies have to report executive remuneration. What’s changed: Supplementing the old-fashioned bonus is “nonequity incentive compensation,” which is tied to meeting company performance goals. And instead of just disclosing restricted stock grants, which became the rage when options turned radioactive, companies now have to report all stock awards. But one thing hasn’t changed: Compensation for the 100 best-paid general counsel only continues to rise. Last year the men and women on our list saw a 6 percent increase in cash compensation alone, bringing them to an average of $1.5 million. And let’s salute the new million-dollar men and women: The average stock grant breezed past that milestone. The quaint salary, on the other hand, has become a minor component of chief legal officer pay. Here’s just one example-in 2003 the average GC bonus exceeded the average salary by 17 percent; now it’s by 77 percent. What do these new trends mean? Fatter paychecks are a vote of confidence in an increasingly important corporate officer. But that appreciation is conditional. For the foreseeable future, top lawyers’ pay will be tied inextricably to how well the corporation performs. We just hope it lasts. Inside GC Compensation Survey

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