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Cisco Discloses $13 Million Pay Package for Top Lawyer Stahlkopf

Oct. 20, 2022, 3:54 PM

Cisco Systems Inc. disclosed Wednesday that its legal chief Deborah “Dev” Stahlkopf earned nearly $13.3 million in total compensation during fiscal 2022.

Stahlkopf received $675,000 salary, almost $876,700 in non-equity incentive plan compensation, a $2.2 million cash bonus, and roughly $9.5 million in stock awards that will mostly vest over four years, Cisco said in its annual proxy statement. Next week her base salary increases to $715,000.

The bonus and some of the stock was for pay and benefits Stahlkopf forfeited when she left Microsoft Corp. last year, the company said. Cisco can recoup the bonus if Stahlkopf leaves or is fired within two years of her start date.

Stahlkopf replaced Mark Chandler, who retired after serving as Cisco’s general counsel since 2001. A former Cooley and Perkins Coie associate, Stahlkopf has been building her team since joining Cisco.

Michael Hemes, a former technology transactions and privacy associate at Perkins Coie, joined the company’s information technology subsidiary Cisco Meraki as a principal corporate counsel in August.

Cisco earlier this year hired former Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partner Eric Hwang as its global head of mergers and acquisitions and investments legal.

Sarita Venkat, a former head of global intellectual property transactions at Apple Inc., joined Cisco in May. Venkat, a founder and co-host of the “Heels of Justice” podcast, which highlights stories about women in the legal profession, is now a deputy general counsel for global litigation at Cisco.

Cisco also hired former Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman executive compensation and employee benefits partner Jeremy Erickson as a senior director in March.

Microsoft Role

Stahlkopf spent more than 14 years in-house at Microsoft, where she was general counsel and corporate secretary at the Redmond, Wash.-based company. She helped advance diversity efforts that involved Microsoft’s outside counsel.

Microsoft, which restructured its in-house legal team last year, had promoted Stahlkopf to its general counsel role in 2018. The position reported to Bradford Smith, a former Covington & Burling partner-turned-chief legal officer at Microsoft who the company elevated last year to vice chairman.

Chandler, Stahlkopf’s predecessor at Cisco and a veteran technology industry lawyer, received nearly $5.8 million in total compensation during his final year at the San Jose, Calif.-based company in 2021.

This month Chandler joined the board of Paladin PBC, a New York-based pro bono legal technology company.

He also remains a fellow at Stanford Law School’s Deborah L. Rhode Center for the Legal Profession and now co-leads his alma mater’s Filing Fairness Project, an access to justice initiative designed to serve pro bono clients and pro se litigants.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at; John Hughes at