Market Overview

Barney & Barney Annual Survey Finds That General Counsel Compensation Rose by 4.7% In 2011 at California Companies


Annual compensation for General Counsels rose 4.7% in 2011 to $802,000 at publicly traded companies in California's major coastal markets, according to a survey by the Compensation Consulting Practice of Barney & Barney.

While total direct compensation increased, General Counsels earned, on median, less than the target allocation budgeted by California companies. Total direct compensation was, on median, 10%, or $89,000 less, than target total direct pay in 2011.

“Publicly traded firms in California contained compensation costs for General Counsels by limiting total pay increases to 4.7% in 2011,” said Matt Ward, National Practice Leader of Barney & Barney's Compensation Consulting Practice. “Total pay was 10% less than target pay for General Counsels, which may suggest that a recovery is underway in several, but not all sectors of the California economy.”

The annual State-of-Pay Reports by Barney & Barney focused on General Counsels primarily at mid-sized firms in San Diego, Orange County/Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Bay Area. Earlier in October, Barney & Barney released a report on compensation for Board Directors and Chief Financial Officers for publicly traded firms in San Diego, as well as Orange County/Los Angeles technology companies, and life sciences firms and technology firms in the San Francisco-Bay Area.

Other key findings:

  • 50% of General Counsels received a merit increase in 2011, which was, on median, 4.9%.
  • 82% of General Counsels received cash bonuses in 2011. A total of 49% received a mix of options and full-value shares.
  • 89% of General Counsels received a long-term incentive last year (excluding new hires).

To download the full report, visit or contact the compensation consulting practice at 858.875.6589.

About Barney & Barney

Founded over 100 years ago, Barney & Barney LLC is headquartered in San Diego, with offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and Orange County. For more information, visit, or call 800.321.4696. For information about the Barney & Barney Foundation, visit

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