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Fox Top Lawyer Gets Pay Boost After Taking Pandemic-Related Cut

Sept. 21, 2021, 9:30 AM

Fox Corp. legal chief Viet Dinh’s total compensation increased within the last year as some brethren in the media and entertainment space saw their paychecks shrink.

Dinh earned more than $12.4 million in total compensation during fiscal 2021, up from nearly $12.1 million the prior year, New York-based Fox disclosed in its annual proxy statement Sept. 17.

Dinh, the chief legal and policy officer for the company owned by media mogul and billionaire Rupert Murdoch, got the raise after taking a temporary pay cut in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Dinh is faring better than some of his contemporaries. Walt Disney Co. general counsel and corporate secretary Alan Braverman, who is preparing to retire from the company, saw his pay package drop 34% last year. Dinh’s pay also topped that of his peers at Comcast Corp., Netflix Inc., and ViacomCBS Inc.

Dinh oversees a legal group at Fox that has undergone some changes in recent months. The parent company of Fox News hired former Big Law partner Bernard Gugar in April to replace Lily Fu Claffee, who left her top legal role at the company’s cable news operation to become chief legal officer for OneMain Holdings Inc.

In March, Fox promoted Jeffrey Taylor from chief litigation counsel to general counsel and hired former federal prosecutor Nicholas Trutanich to be its chief ethics and compliance officer.

Earlier this month, Fox announced that Trutanich will assume management of litigation matters as of Sept. 15 and report to Taylor. In that same statement, Fox also disclosed the departure of corporate general counsel and Fox Sports legal chief Claudia Teran, who has been replaced by associate general counsel Elizabeth Casey.

Casey will succeed Teran as general counsel of Fox Sports and take on the role of deputy general counsel for Fox itself. Teran, her predecessor, reported to Dinh, as does Taylor. Teran is poised to become deputy general counsel and global head of commercial for Snapchat parent Snap Inc., where she will report to the social media company’s general counsel Michael O’Sullivan, according to Variety.

Bloomberg Law reported in February on O’Sullivan’s total compensation dipping 15% within the past year.

Fox’s most recent proxy notes that it also gave almost $81,900 in total compensation—about $4,000 of that sum in cash—in 2021 to William Burck, a high-profile litigator who was elected to the company’s board in July. Burck, a co-managing partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s Washington office, is now a member of Fox’s nominating and corporate governance committee.

Fox said in its proxy that it “pays certain legal fees” to Quinn Emanuel, primarily “pursuant to an indemnification agreement that preceded the company’s separation” from 21st Century Fox Inc., whose entertainment assets were sold to Disney.

Those fees are “insignificant” to Quinn Emanuel and Fox, according to the company’s proxy, which notes that Burck has requested that Quinn Emanuel “exclude from his remuneration any fees paid” by Fox.

In recent months Dinh, a former Vietnamese refugee whose came to the U.S. more than four decades ago, has been profiled for his growing influence at Fox. The longtime Republican lawyer and former Kirkland & Ellis partner—the law firm in 2016 absorbed Bancroft, a Dinh-founded, litigation-focused, and Washington-based boutique—has been called the most powerful lawyer in America by several outlets.

Dinh, in an interview earlier this year with Above the Law founder David Lat’s Original Jurisdiction, resisted that moniker, claiming that his powers of persuasion have been overinflated by others.

“To ascribe any role to me other than my day job, which is overseeing legal, regulatory, and government affairs, is not only false, it would mean I have far more time than I actually do,” the Los Angeles-based Dinh told Lat.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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