Bloomberg Law
April 10, 2020, 11:26 PM

Facebook’s First-Year General Counsel Earns $19 Million

Brian Baxter
Brian Baxter

Facebook Inc. general counsel Jennifer Newstead earned nearly $19.14 million in total compensation in her first year with the social media giant, according to a 2019 proxy statement filed by the company April 10.

Newstead did not immediately respond to a request for comment about her pay package, which was comprised of a $353,077 base salary, $2.29 million in bonuses, and $16.31 million in stock awards for 2019.

Facebook’s proxy said it agreed to give a $4 million sign-on bonus to Newstead after hiring her in May of last year to succeed Colin Stretch as general counsel. Newstead received $2 million of that bonus within 30 days of joining the company and was paid another $1 million by Jan. 31. She will get the remaining $1 million if she remains with Facebook for 30 days after the one-year anniversary of her start date.

Newstead’s full-year base salary at Facebook is $680,000 and she currently owns roughly $308,000 in company stock, according to Bloomberg data. Facebook’s proxy states that the company also paid $183,182 in relocation expenses for Newstead last year to move across the country from Washington close to its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Newstead served as the State Department’s top lawyer from January 2018 to April 2019, when Facebook announced it had hired her to replace Stretch, who said in July 2018 that he would leave the company to return to Washington. Bloomberg data shows that Stretch still owns Facebook stock valued at $18.17 million.

Prior to joining the State Department in 2017, Newstead served as a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, where she earned a $1.5 million partnership share during her last year at the law firm, according to federal financial disclosures.

Newstead, a Yale Law School graduate, began her legal career as a law clerk for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman. She went on to work in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, where in 2001 she helped craft the Patriot Act, as well as the White House and Office of Management and Budget.

At Facebook, Newstead heads a legal group that has recently brought on several new in-house lawyers, including associate general counsel for privacy Xiaoyan Zhang and Jeanne Sheahan. Zhang joined the company full-time last month, having previously been on secondment from Reed Smith, where she worked as a privacy and cybersecurity counsel in San Francisco. Sheahan, who was hired earlier this year, previously served as a vice president and head of privacy compliance at First Republic Bank in the Bay Area.

Both lawyers were hired by Facebook after the company agreed to a record $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission last year to resolve an investigation into consumer privacy violations.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at