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General Counsel Pay Trends

Featuring commentary from 

General Counsel Pay Trends, an Equilar publication, examines the compensation of General Counsel (GC) disclosed in SEC filings by public companies for the fiscal years 2016 and 2015. In addition, industry sector breakdowns are included for the Equilar 500, an index which tracks the 500 largest, by reported revenue, U.S.-headquartered companies trading on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges (NYSE, Nasdaq or NYSE MKT(formerly AMEX)), adjusted to approximate the industry sector mix of similar large-cap indices. BarkerGilmore offers commentary to provide color and context to how companies recruit and compensate their GCs.

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Key Findings:

  • Median total direct compensation (TDC) for GCs increased moderately from 2015 to 2016, except at companies above $15 billion in revenue, which fell slightly
  • The median ratio of CEO-to-GC compensation was greatest at companies with revenues between $1 billion and $15 billion, at about 3.7-to-1, and smallest for companies under $1 billion in revenue where the median ratio was less than 3-to-1
  • Median GC base salary ranged from about $325,000 among the smallest companies to $650,000 at the largest—meanwhile, median stock grants at the largest companies were more than seven times those awarded at the smallest
  • Stock grants represented the largest pay component at the median for GCs across all Equilar 500 sectors—basic materials companies granted the highest median value of compensation in stock, at about $1.2 million, almost twice the value of stock granted within the industrial goods sector, which offered the least amount