Top Apple lawyer earns 10 TIMES more than magic circle partners

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By Aishah Hussain on

Kate Adams took home nearly £20 million in total compensation last year

Apple’s top lawyer earned ten times more than the average magic circle partner last year, taking home nearly $27 million (£20 million) in total compensation.

Kate Adams, 57, who currently serves as Apple’s general counsel and senior vice president of legal and global security, earned a whopping $26.97 million (£19.82 million) in 2021, according to the bigtech giant’s annual proxy statement filed this month with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Partners at magic circle law firms made a fraction of what Adams was awarded last year; profit per equity partner (PEP) at Freshfields stands at £1.91 million, according to our 2022 Firms Most List, while Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance partners pulled in £1.9 million and £1.85 million, respectively.

PEP at only a handful of US firms surpasses the £3 million mark, which is still nowhere near the eye-popping sum Adams is reported to have earned.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The bulk of Adams’ earnings came from stock awards valued at nearly $22 million (£16.17 million). She also earned $5 million (£3.67 million) in cash last year, including a base salary of $1 million (£735k).

Adams reports to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who himself made $98.7 million (£72.5 million) last year, according to the filing.

In her role, Adams oversees all legal matters, including corporate governance, intellectual property, litigation and securities compliance, global security and privacy.

She joined Apple from tech and manufacturing company Honeywell in 2017, where she worked for 14 years, most recently as general counsel and senior vice president. She spent a decade working at Sidley Austin in New York where she was an associate and then a partner.

Adams holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Brown University and a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Legal Cheek reported last year that Google’s chief legal officer Kent Walker, 60, raked in $51 million (£37.5 million) in 2020.

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