The General Counsel is a senior professional of the in-house legal department within a company or commercial business and typically reports to the CEO. As a General Counsel, you must boast extensive legal knowledge and experience, and manage a team of individuals responsible for providing legal advice and counsel for specific areas of business.
The primary role of a General Counsel is to ensure that the company is operating legally at all times. As a General Counsel, you will be involved with mapping out and implementing business strategies from a legal perspective.
In addition to providing legal advice personally and through staff or outside legal experts, a General Counsel is also expected to understand the business implications of any legal action or inaction. As a General Counsel, you will need to be aware of all company transactions from the onset in order to minimise legal risk, identifying issues that could cause damage to the company from a legal perspective.
General Counsel Jobs - Skills and experience you need
A General Counsel must be able to lead a legal function and manage people and processes. An understanding of how businesses operate combined with the ability to cooperate with different personalities is essential to the teamwork approach required to work in General Counsel jobs.
A General Counsel must also have sound judgment and experience to instil confidence in their advice and counsel among senior stakeholders across the business. Most importantly, a General Counsel must have the highest integrity and must be trustworthy.
Given the possibility of business conflicts with senior managers, a strong personality and the ability to be persuasive and relentless in advocating the best interests of the company will be vital to your role as a General Counsel.
A career as a General Counsel
A career as a General Counsel is both varied and exciting, opening the door to expand your portfolio and diversify your areas of expertise.
A General Counsel is usually seen as a business partner and often has additional job responsibilities in overseeing functions within the company, including insurance and risk management, ethics and business compliance, real estate, human resources, intellectual property and various other functions requiring legal management based upon the company structure.