What does a General Counsel do?
A General Counsel acts as the chief Lawyer of a company and serves on the executive team as the organization’s legal representative. They provide educated legal advice to senior management, board members and other executives on various legal matters and instruct them on how to remain compliant with current corporate laws. They’re trusted with certain legal documents and private company information and must safely store and apply this information to help them make wise legal decisions for the company.
They’ll also handle certain statutory filings, like licensing forms, and must use their advanced knowledge and skill set to advise executives on how to handle these legal issues. General Counsels may also create new entities and are in charge of properly managing the company’s intellectual properties.
General Counsel skills and qualifications
Considering the level of responsibility that General Counsels have, extensive skills and qualifications are required. Here are the most important skills and qualifications you need to list in your job description to attract applicants who can handle that kind of responsibility:
- A General Counsel needs leadership to manage several legal experts and to direct them and executives at the company to achieve the best legal outcomes.
- Laws are constantly changing, and a General Counsel needs to remain informed of all the latest changes on the federal, state, city and county measures that could impact the operation of the business.
- When an entity files litigation against the business, the General Counsel needs negotiation skills to charge of the response, from formulating a strategy to going to the courthouse to argue a case.
- A General Counsel needs expert communication skills to ensure all litigation information and instruction to staff are clear and effectively ensure the desired outcome.
General Counsel salary expectations
A General Counsel makes an average of $132,593 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.
General Counsel education and training requirements
Since a General Counsel is a legal representative, there are extensive education and training requirements. A General Counsel must legally be able to practice law, so they’ll need a license from the state you’re looking to hire in. Education requirements typically involve obtaining a Master of Law degree, though some positions may call for a more advanced degree.
General Counsel experience requirements
Extensive experience is also required of a General Counsel. While some positions for small companies could be fulfilled by someone with just a few years of experience, typically, the General Counsel position requires someone who has been working with relevant legal matters for at least a decade. It’s important to note that someone who worked as a government General Counsel can excel in private industry roles.
Job description samples for similar positions
If the General Counsel job description doesn’t meet your needs, see job descriptions for related positions: