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Attorney Erika Rottenberg took a chance on a small company called LinkedIn 3 years ago by becoming their General Counsel. Well, that "chance" has paid off in millions.
Rottenberg graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law, formerly known as Boalt Hall. She started her career at Cooley Godward, and went on to serve as General Counsel for SumTotal Systems and at Creative Labs before joining LinkedIn.
During LinkedIn's recent IPO, Rottenberg sold 30,000 of her shares at the opening price of $45, earning herself around $1.35 million, according to the ABA Journal. She still retains shares in LinkedIn that are worth around $27 million a week ago. Not bad for 3 years of work.
Of course, Rottenberg's career as a general counsel in several other tech companies probably gave her somewhat of an edge when landing the LinkedIn job.
Though, news of a general counsel worth $20 million makes working for startups suddenly seems a whole lot more interesting, doesn't it? Of course, it's also a gamble. If the LinkedIn IPO did not take off, Rottenberg's shares in the company would have been worth relatively little.
Luckily for her, the share price did take off - and has even doubled recently.
For in-house counsels across the board, negotiating for a share of the company they are working for seems to be a good idea, especially for those pre-IPO companies that can eventually have skyrocketing values.
Employee stock options can be high-risk, high-reward, especially if an attorney decides to take a job offer at a reduced salary in return for a higher share of the company. Fortunately for Erika Rottenberg, she is now benefiting just the same as most of LinkedIn's management team.