General Counsel, In-House Counsel, Money, Rankings

The Highest-Paid General Counsel (Kind of)

Russell Deyo has a big Johnson & Johnson salary

Corporate Counsel has released its annual list of the highest-paid general counsel in the land. The trend this year is a leveling-off, says Corporate Counsel, thanks to the recession and the belt-tightening that results from a greater transparency for executive compensation. The party slows down when the lights come on.

These GCs still managed to do well for themselves. At the top of the list is Russell Deyo, of Johnson & Johnson. The Georgetown ’75 grad has been with the company for 25 years, having joined in 1985 as a regular old staff attorney. His salary is a mere $831K, but he rakes in millions in bonus money.

Who topped the list, and how much are they making?

Here are the top ten highest paid corporate consiglieri, from Corporate Counsel:

Full list of the top 100 legal eagle money-makers is here.

You may be thinking, “Weird. Healthcare made the list, but big banks didn’t?” Goldman Sachs GC Greg Palm is not on the list, for example, and we know he makes mad bank. What’s the deal?

Corporate Counsel has an article explaining its methodology in compiling the list:

But while we do our best to find out what GCs make, it’s important to note that our compensation survey is not exhaustive. Some well-paid top lawyers did not make our list simply because there were other executives who made more at their company; if the GC wasn’t among the top five, we don’t have his or her compensation data.

Here at ATL headquarters, Elie quipped: “It sounds like the highest-paid general counsel except for the ones who make real money.”

But the numbers on the list don’t reflect all that these chief lawyers made last year. Donald de Brier of Occidental Petroleum, for example, ranked #65 on the list with a salary of $496K and a bonus of $600K. Not counted in his compensation was his share selling:

While just eight GCs earned $2 million or more in cash bonuses, 14 made as much — and some a whole lot more — by cashing out. Donald de Brier of Occidental Petroleum Corp. realized $13.4 million; Charles Tanabe, GC at Liberty Media Corporation, $10.7 million. In all, 79 of the 100 GCs supplemented their take-home via securities transactions.

That sounds real.

Check out the full list here.

The 2010 GC Compensation Survey: Staying Afloat [Corporate Counsel]
Pause. Stop? [Corporate Counsel]
How It’s Done [Corporate Counsel]
The Great Hangover [Corporate Counsel]

Earlier: Goldman General Counsel Greg Palm Is Still Richer Than You

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