Legal counsels, also called general counsels, are the chief lawyers of large corporations or government agencies. They advise departments on legal ramifications, ensure that the business is working in accordance with the law, and may represent the company or government agency in the case that a law suit is filed.
Legal counsels are usually included early in any company's decision making process. This helps ensure that there will be no room for error when it comes to working within the law. This may sometimes cause tension, since it is their responsibility to provide professional and sound judgments if they see any actions that aren’t in compliance with the law. Legal counsels also often attend important board and committee meetings. In order for legal counsels to be an effective and important part of the company, they need to have a close relationship with the board and stay up to date with what is happening.
Legal counsels are typically skilled in multiple areas of the law, including securities, compliance, labor and employment, compensation, risk and dispute management, litigation, class action suits and corporate governance. Depending on the company in which they work, other areas of expertise will be expected.
Legal counsels have law degrees and are typically targeted from outside corporations. They may already be working as attorneys at law firms and they may be approached by a company. Regardless of how they are hired, they are expected to be great communicators, hard working, and show leadership, firm and fair judgment, and a great deal of integrity.
Legal Counsel Tasks
- Manage disputes and litigations.
- Prepare and review legal documents including contracts, licenses, leases, sales and purchases, and real estate, etc.
- Advise business in legal affairs of the company including government regulations, taxes, and legal and human rights.
- Apply for registration and copyrights for the products, processes, and trademarks of the organization.