Top-paid general counsel

July 20, 2011
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A list released by Corporate Counsel,  an ALM National publication, ranks the compensation of general counsel around the U.S. and there are some highly paid attorneys out there. The top-paid in-house attorney is Denise Keane of Altria Group Inc., the parent company of Phillip Morris USA and other companies. For the first time in the history of this list, a woman was the top-paid general counsel. She was listed as having more than $6.4 million in compensation.

It’s interesting to see that Keane went from being ranked 34th in 2010 to first this year. Donald de Brier with Occidental Petroleum Corp. went from 63rd last year to second this year.

Robert Armitage, the general counsel at Eli Lilly and Co., ranked No. 33, with more than $1.78 million in total compensation. He was ranked at No. 24 last year. Armitage’s salary is listed at just under $848,000. John Cannon II, general counsel at WellPoint Inc., came in at No. 63. He didn’t even make last year’s list. His salary is listed at around $550,000, but he took home more than $1.3 million.

The list breaks down compensation to show salary, bonus/nonequity incentive compensation, total cash, option exercises and stock value realized, total cash plus stock value realized, stock awards, and option awards. The rankings are based on the total cash the general counsel received.

The publication noted that this survey shows more of an “undoing of damage of the previous year than any great leap in compensation levels.” It writes that the worst seems to be over regarding the economy, and corporations are rewarding executives for getting them through the tough days of the recession.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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