Take-home pay for chief legal officers is on the rise

It was good year to be a general counsel in 2013.

For the second year in a row, salaries went up for chief legal officers, according to an annual evaluation of publicly disclosed pay packages for the 100 best-compensated general counsel, released last week by Corporate Counsel.

In 2013, salaries climbed 6.8 percent to an average of $701,001 — following a 7.4 percent jump in 2012, according to the report. Discretionary bonuses rose 8.4 percent to an average of $1.2 million.

The survey ranked the 100 highest-paid chief legal officers based on the total cash they took home in 2013, which combines base salary plus bonus and nonequity compensation, but does not include stock awards or options.

Four of the 100 highest-paid lawyers were at Washington-area companies: Maryanne Lavan of Lockheed Martin, who took home $2.78 million; Bruce Campbell of Discovery Communications ($2.63 million), William Deckelman Jr. of Computer Sciences Corp. ($1.76 million) and Brian Miller of AES ($1.27 million).

The survey found that the banking and financial services industry paid its top in-house lawyers the most, followed by entertainment and insurance. The highest-paid general counsel in 2013 was Brackett Denniston III of General Electric, who had take-home pay of $5.8 million, the survey found.

Catherine Ho covers law and lobbying for the Capital Business section of The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.
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