There's no software to download or meeting links for you to manage. Here's how it works.

Step 1

Post your job

Reach the world's largest pool of job seekers when you post on Indeed. As candidates apply, you can connect with them on the platform.

Step 2

Schedule a conversation

Our virtual interview experience is the default when you schedule time with your candidate.

Step 3

Connect with your candidate

When the candidate accepts your interview invite, you'll both get an email with a link to your video conference. Open the link to test your connection, and get started. It's that easy.

Get started

General Counsel Interview Questions

Post a Job

  1. What management style do you use when handling a staff of attorneys? See answer
  2. Describe an example of when you had to deliver bad news to senior executives. See answer
  3. How do you handle it when you have to say no to a proposed course of action that management wants to take? See answer
  4. How much of the work do you attempt to keep in house versus giving to outside counsel? See answer
  5. What do you see as the greatest coming legal challenges that will affect this company? See answer
  6. Tell me about the most challenging legal situation you’ve dealt with at work. How did you manage the situation?
  7. What training and experience prepared you for our position?
  8. What do you hope to achieve in the first 90 days of working for our company?
  9. What factors will you consider before seeking outside counsel?
  10. Tell me about a time when your leadership helped the legal team to exceed management’s expectations.
  11. What are the biggest legal challenges that might face our company in the near future?
  12. How will you handle attorneys that fail to perform even though you consider them nice people?
  13. How will you describe the culture of your current company? Do you think you will be a good fit for our organization considering the differences in our culture?
  14. Have you being involved in a merger and acquisition? What do you think are the most important factors to consider before merging with another company?
Show more questions Show fewer questions

6 General Counsel Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What management style do you use when handling a staff of attorneys?

A:

The general counsel for your department or agency will interact with various attorneys, colleagues and occasionally the general public and is usually responsible for supervising a team of attorneys. Often, it is not the general counsel who is performing critical tasks but someone on their staff, so your general counsel’s leadership style will set the tone for the legal department and will affect the organization as a whole. While their legal skills may be indisputably top notch, you’ll also want to know how they approach their responsibilities to manage, supervise, lead and inspire attorneys working under their direction. What to look for in an answer:

  • Concrete management philosophies
  • Experience leading organizations and managing a team of attorneys
  • Leadership abilities in addition to legal skills
Example:

“I take a proactive approach to managing attorneys. I stay informed about what they do and provide leadership and guidance while also allowing them to shine.”

Q:

Describe an example of when you had to deliver bad news to senior executives.

A:

A general counsel is the legal officer who is responsible for interfacing with the senior leadership of the company. Sometimes, this involves the task of informing the senior management that there is a problem or that unwelcome changes must be made. This is a difficult task that requires sensitivity, delicacy and excellent communication skills. Your candidate should have a strong ethical foundation and the ability to provide guidance when making difficult decisions and in times of conflict and challenges. This question reveals your candidate’s approach to challenging situations and is sufficiently open-ended to elicit a revealing response. What to look for in an answer:

  • Diplomacy and tact in dealing with difficult situations
  • Sensitivity to what may upset people and the ability to communicate effectively
  • Ability to stand firm under pressure
Example:

“Giving bad news is an unfortunate job duty. I try to soften the blow while knowing that it is bad news for a reason and try to provide options to prevent the situation from arising again.”

Q:

How do you handle it when you have to say no to a proposed course of action that management wants to take?

A:

General counsels have duties beyond that of normal lawyers. A general counsel cannot always conclude that a plan of action is legally permissible, and this involves having to say no to higher-ups, which is something that management may not want to hear. How a general counsel says no is every bit as important as their legal expertise and the quality of their advice. Management may want a general counsel who can help them get to a favorable answer by suggesting an alternative for them. Your candidate should have the integrity to maintain their expert stance without sacrificing professional working relationships, a high-level of industry-specific expertise and experience and the ability to communicate effectively and with tact. What to look for in an answer:

  • The ability to balance corporate needs with the law
  • Integrity to remain true to the law
  • Ability to withstand pressure while maintaining collegial working relationships
Example:

“I know that sometimes I have to say no, but I do not reject anything requested of me without first trying multiple avenues to find a way to get to yes.”

Q:

How much of the work do you attempt to keep in house versus giving to outside counsel?

A:

Lawyers acting as general counsel have different philosophies about whether to keep work in-house or hire outside counsel. Sometimes, it is necessary to bring in an outside law firm to help, but it can also increase the budget costs since external counsel is usually expensive. This question will help you understand how your applicant decides when to have their own staff attorneys do the work versus hiring outside help and what criteria they use in selecting outside law firms to hire. Ensure that your candidate understands budgetary restrictions and has the adaptability to problem-solve within financial constraints. What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of and relationships with law firms in the area
  • Experience working with outside counsel
  • Sensitivity to legal budgets and limitations
Example:

“I know that there are some places where a dedicated expertise can help, but I recognize that it costs money and should be managed.”

Q:

What do you see as the greatest coming legal challenges that will affect this company?

A:

A good general counsel is one who is ahead of the curve and plans for future challenges. This way, a company is not caught off-guard when there is an unexpected legal development. The candidate’s answer to this question will show whether or not they are proactive in thinking about future legal challenges that can impact your company. The depth of your candidate’s answer will reveal both their critical thinking skills and their familiarity with your industry-specific needs. What to look for in an answer:

  • Well-informed about legal and regulatory developments
  • Knowledge of how changes can impact business
  • Forward thinking to handle challenges before they arise
Example:

“Much of the general counsel’s role involves high-level strategic planning. If my management gets caught flat-footed, it is my failure as general counsel.”

Q:

Tell me about the most challenging legal situation you've dealt with at work. How did you manage the situation?

A:

The job of a general counsel is to help the company solve its legal challenges. This question can help interviewers assess candidates' problem-solving ability, level of experience and their industry-specific legal expertise. An experienced general counsel candidate should be able to resolve any legal matter facing their company. The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Professional competence
  • Strategic thinking
  • Problem-solving skills
Example:

“The most complex legal issue I faced in my last role was a noncompliance matter over a late permit that could have disrupted our operations. The department that was supposed to renew the permit complete forgot about the deadline and only remembered after the regulator sent a letter. I took up the matter with the legal team of the industry regulator and collaborated with other departments to resolve the matter quickly. We renewed our permit and escaped paying fines.”

Post a Job
Ready to get started? Post a Job

Explore Interview Questions by Title

No search results found