Pittsburgh Executive Contracts & Compensation Lawyer

As a top Pittsburgh employment law firm, we routinely help executives negotiate contract and compensation matters.


When you're an executive, you should be fairly compensated for your work and expertise. Whether negotiating an employment agreement or any other part of your employment relationship, it is imperative to ensure that your interests are protected. We have substantial experience working with executives in both large companies and start-ups and can help with many issues, including:

  1. Base salary: This is the fixed annual compensation an executive will receive. It's important to negotiate a competitive salary that reflects the executive's skills, experience, and the market rate for similar roles. In a start-up, the base salary might be lower than in a large company, but other forms of compensation can make up for it.
  2. Equity: Equity compensation is a way for start-ups to attract top talent by offering ownership stakes in the company. Negotiating an equity package allows the executive to share in the potential upside of the company's growth. This can be in the form of stock options, restricted stock units, or other equity grants. It's essential to discuss the percentage of ownership, vesting schedule, and any acceleration provisions.
  3. Bonus structure: Incentive-based bonuses tied to performance can supplement the base salary. Negotiate a clear and achievable bonus structure based on specific performance metrics, such as revenue growth, profitability, or other key performance indicators (KPIs).
  4. Benefits package: Start-ups might not offer the same level of benefits as larger companies, but it's essential to negotiate a comprehensive benefits package. This can include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other perks like flexible working hours or remote work options.
  5. Job title and responsibilities: Clearly define the executive's role, job title, and responsibilities to ensure alignment with the company's goals and vision. This helps to establish the executive's authority and decision-making power within the organization.
  6. Reporting structure: Establish who the executive will report to and who will report to the executive. This is important for clarity and organizational efficiency.
  7. Confidentiality, non-compete, and non-solicitation clauses: These clauses protect the start-up's intellectual property, prevent the executive from working for a direct competitor, and discourage poaching of employees or clients. Negotiate the scope, duration, and geographic limitations of these clauses to ensure they are reasonable and enforceable.
  8. Severance package: In the event of termination or resignation, it's important to negotiate a severance package that outlines the terms and conditions of the executive's departure. This can include severance pay, continuation of benefits, and any applicable vesting acceleration.
  9. Change of control provisions: If the start-up is acquired or undergoes a significant change in ownership, change of control provisions outline how the executive's employment and compensation will be affected. Negotiate these provisions to ensure fair treatment and compensation in such scenarios.
  10. Relocation assistance: If the executive needs to relocate for the new role, negotiate relocation assistance to cover expenses related to moving, temporary housing, and any other costs associated with the transition.

By carefully negotiating these terms in an employment agreement, the executive can protect their interests and ensure they are adequately compensated for their contributions to the start-up's success.

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