General Counsel Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A General Counsel, or Corporate Counsel, provides legal advice and strategies to an organization’s executive team. Their main duties include reviewing and writing various internal legal contracts, negotiating and managing client and vendor contracts and ensuring legal compliance regarding employee safety and mergers and acquisitions.

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General Counsel duties and responsibilities

In order to effectively maintain the company’s legal standing, a General Counsel has to fulfill a wide variety of duties and responsibilities that touch every department. The primary duty is to maintain legal compliance, but that involves many things. The major duties and responsibilities of a General Counsel include:

  • Advising executive members on new laws, existing laws and legal rights that would impact functionality of the business
  • Overseeing the legal matters of the business as a whole, including acting as the business’ legal representative
  • Maintaining knowledge of the company’s legal documents and operations
  • Crafting and reviewing legal strategy in response to any litigation
  • Keeping a record of all legal documents and proceedings for the company
  • Facilitating filings of licensing forms and other statutory requirements
  • Communicating with outside counsel
  • Legally filing for copyright of intellectual property

General Counsel Job Description Examples:


General Counsel

The Chief Litigator/General Counsel will be a resident expert in providing advice and counsel on a broad range of various industry and litigation strategies that support the organizations overall mission. The candidate should have prior experience with motion practice, discovery dispute, and trial preparation. Copyright or IP experience is a plus. Can be licensed in any state with a minimum of 4 years of litigation experience.

In particular, the Chief Litigator/General Counsel is responsible for

(1) Managing all phases of litigation and related strategy,

(2) Collaborating with the in-house legal team and related supporting activities including document and contract management and compliance,

(3) Participating and providing legal expertise as part of the legal team,

(4) Litigation Mitigation strategies

(5) Reviewing and assisting in the negotiation of license agreements and settlements,

(6) Providing general intellectual property and other legal advice.

The Chief Litigation/General Counsel position reports directly to the CEO and will work closely with existing internal counsel.

Specific Job Responsibilities: ·

  • Provide legal guidance and participate as lead "managing" counsel in various litigation/general counsel initiatives

  • Assist with Mergers and Acquisitions, Venture Funds and Negotiation

  • Participate as part of the core leadership team to strategically plan and manage the litigation issues and issues related to negotiation.

  • Work with a legal team of professional and administrative members and be collaborative and creative in your approach to solving problems

  • Primary legal contact point between Human Resources and CEO/Board

  • Remain fully updated on legal trends, industry trends and changes to laws and regulations related to litigation matters

  • Prepare and present legal updates to CEO and Board as required

  • Provide intellectual property compliance training as required

  • Other duties as assigned

    Minimum Qualifications:

  • Must be well versed at understanding contract language and potential outcomes dependent on the structure of agreements.

  • Must have lead negotiation experience

  • Must have experience managing legal and administrative staff

  • Must understand and incorporate likely business input into legal strategy, as appropriate Qualifications & Experience:

  • Juris Doctorate from an accredited college or university

  • Sound judgment in developing and implementing legal solutions

  • Strong oral and written communication skills

  • Strong interpersonal and leadership skills

  • Enjoys working as part of a team of experts

  • Able to work effectively with all levels of an organization

  • Demonstrated ability to develop process-driven solutions to issues

  • Capable of handling multiple priorities in a time pressured environment

  • Established analytical ability

  • Successful person in this role will: Want to be an expert but will enjoy working as part of a team of experts

  • Understand the art of positive negotiations

  • Positively motivate others to provide excellent work product

  • Be exhilarated by the challenges of a young company

  • Have self-confidence and self-understanding to know their strengths and development needs

  • Enjoys a highly collaborative, energized environment

  • Ability to drive issues to their conclusion in an effective and timely manner

  • Have a sense of curiosity and a desire for continuous learning

    Job Type: Full-time

    Salary: $102,367.00 to $152,870.00 /year

    Additional Compensation:

  • Other forms

    Work Location:

  • Fully Remote


  • None


  • Monday to Friday

    Company's website:

  • Yes
  • ×

    General Counsel

    The Elia Group, full service Real Estate Development and Management Company, seeks to hire as General Counsel, a Commercial Real Estate/Corporate Attorney with experience in a wide range of transaction-related matters.Primary responsibilities include drafting and negotiating commercial real estate purchase and sale agreements and leases; conducting due diligence, including title, survey and environmental reviews; preparing conveyance and closing documents; reviewing and negotiating loan documents; reviewing and negotiating partnership agreements; supervising and managing entity formation documents; and assisting with corporate governance and business matters. The Commercial Real Estate/Corporate Attorney position will be based in the company’s in Birmingham, Michigan and will work closely with company principals, department heads and other important stakeholders.

    Job Duties:

  • Structure, draft and negotiate purchase and sale agreements involving general corporate and real estate matters.

  • Coordinate all aspects of each transaction from letter of intent through closing, including conducting due diligence and closing documents.

  • Review and negotiate commercial loan documents including various loan agreements;

  • Oversee all entity formation activities as well as the drafting and negotiation of all entity governance documents including operating agreements, tenant-in-common agreements and various types of joint venture agreements.

  • Assist with the preparation and negotiation of commercial lease agreements, amendments, subleases and assignments.

  • Assist with various legal issues associated with property management, facilities management, brokerage and construction.

  • Provide legal analysis, strategy and solutions in a legally sound manner that balances risks with achievement of the company’s general business goals and objectives.


  • JD from an accredited law school.

  • Be in good standing as an active member of the State Bar of Michigan.

  • At least 4-6 years of transactional commercial real estate/corporate experience that demonstrates an ability to independently structure, draft, negotiate, manage and close sophisticated real estate/business deals.

  • Excellent analytical and communication skills,

  • Experience with managing corporate filings, distressed real estate assets, Cmbs loans, Special Servicers, receiverships, and commercial real estate finance.

  • Knowledge of general corporate matters and contract law, with knowledge of real estate finance and acquisition (including promissory notes, mortgages, title insurance, surveys, loan closing), residential real estate and property management preferred.

    Job Type: Full-time

    Salary: $100,000.00 to $175,000.00 /year


  • general counsel: 4 years (Preferred)

  • real estate: 4 years (Preferred)


  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance


  • Monday to Friday

    Company's Facebook

  • ×

    General Counsel

    Established Management Company based in West Texas seeks in-house, general counsel for full service legal duties related to oil and gas servicing industry. Report directly to president and work closely with operation management, human resources, accounting, and insurance companies. Preferred experience in commercial collections, litigation, insurance, and contracts. New Mexico and Texas licensure preferred. Bilingual in Spanish helpful. Competitive salary with benefits based on experience. Please reply to Bergstein Enterprises at [website] Box 191, Lubbock, Texas 79408.

    Job Type: Full-time


  • litigation: 1 year (Preferred)

  • general counsel: 1 year (Preferred)


  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Retirement plan

  • Paid time off


  • Monday to Friday

    Benefit Conditions:

  • Waiting period may No
  • 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.

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    Frequently asked questions about General Counsels


    Do General Counsels have different responsibilities in different industries?

    General Counsels usually hold similar responsibilities of handling an organization’s legal documents, though the industries they work in often vary. Some of them work for larger corporations, advising both the executive team and stakeholders on ways to remain compliant with corporate laws and reviewing any important company documents before they’re signed. 

    They may also work for government entities, providing advice to government officials regarding local, state and federal laws. General Counsels make sure government offices are legally completing certain projects to help them avoid receiving any legal repercussions or upsetting the community.


    Who reports to a General Counsel?

    Many people within a company report to the General Counsel. Any senior management team member who is dealing with a contract or any other legal matter will report to the General Counsel for guidance and input. The General Counsel also reviews their contract and provides suggestions for ways to make the contract more compliant and follow certain regulations. 

    Executive team members and sometime board members also report to the General Counsel for legal advice when making big-picture decisions that could legally impact the company. Any Lawyers or other legal employees at the company will report directly to the General Counsel, who gives them certain legal tasks to complete for the company. The General Counsel often acts as a mentor for this employee and teaches them proper methods to follow to successfully perform in the role. 


    What makes a good General Counsel?

    A great General Counsel must have a strong knowledge and experience in how the business environment works to effectively advise executives on which contracts will positively affect the company. They should also have a broad knowledge of all aspects of the legal field, including litigations, corporate law and labor law, to advise employees on a variety of subjects. 

    Strong General Counsel candidates should also be regularly updated on current laws to ensure they’re compliant at all times. They should also have impressive negotiation skills to ensure their company receives the best contract terms. 


    What's the difference between a General Counsel and a Chief Legal Officer?

    Both of these roles work on a company’s executive team, providing legal advice and guidance to employees. A Chief Legal Officer, however, focuses more on how certain legal decisions affect a company’s structure and operations. They usually manage a company’s legal costs and implement technologies to properly handle and manage a company’s cybersecurity and legal work. 

    General Counsels oversee the company’s legal compliance and mainly work to ensure the company is fulfilling its legal obligations. In larger companies, the Chief Legal Officer usually handles bigger legal and company structure tasks and the General Counsel works on daily company legal matters. 

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