About General Counsel Jobs
Pursuing a long-term career in the legal industry can be a real uphill battle for many aspiring lawyers. Working in law is a rewarding duty. It is not as dramatic and fancy as what you see on television, but it is a fulfilling experience based on intellectual challenges and practical skills.
However, as times change, working professionals are also adapting to new global demands. An example of this is legal career shifts. Many lawyers have shifted to general counsel jobs instead of staying at law firms.
It has become one of the most prominent trends in the US legal industry and is considered a job with a broad scope of opportunities and advantages.
After all, a successful long-term career is not a comfortable journey of going from point A to point B. It is more about your personal development. If you plan to pursue a different career route, here is a complete lowdown on everything about general counsel.
What Is a General Counsel Jobs’ Role?
A general counsel’s role can vary depending on different factors, and it all depends on the client. To know more about this topic, here are the full details on what a general counsel does.
General Counsel Job Description and Duties
A general counsel job is entirely different from private practice. In this job, your legal practice is connected to a company, and your actions will impact their workers. You are not only an attorney, but you will also be a part of the company’s legal, business, and management matters.
For this reason, the expected work scope of this position might vary depending on the company’s size, industry, and developmental needs. However, you have one core mission as a general counsel, and that is to provide the highest level of legal service to your client.
Here is an overview of the general counsel’s responsibilities:
- Providing accurate and strategic legal advice to the client
- Ensuring that the company has a proper compliance protocol
- Developing and executing training programs for a client, such as crisis management
- Creating a strong foundation for internal governance and chief counsel jobs in the company
- Managing general assessments, litigation, legal finances, and more
- Evaluating business contracts, licensing practices, and external factors’ impacts
- Gaining and maintaining a great working relationship with the company’s senior executives
- Staying updated about the law changes to have an idea of upcoming legal issues, solutions, and alternatives.
Work Environment of General Counsel Positions
Another factor to consider before you jump from one job to another is the working environment. Many US lawyers have decided to change their careers because of better working conditions. The following segment will provide a general counsel job description, together with its operating environment.
Injuries and Illnesses
On television, a lawyer is often seen in a court having dramatic debates with other fictional characters. However, this moment is not a real day-to-day scenario of a legal counsel. For the greatest part, the job is more about drafting documents, meeting people, and researching an office environment.
Due to this realistic setting, physical labor is often minimal or not required when performing general counsel jobs. There is also less risk of physical injuries. Since the company will employ you, your general health and safety will be insured according to their employee policies.
A general counsel job can also lead to a better balance between your work and life. The demand for general counsel jobs in the US has increased because of this benefit. Compared to the 12 long hours of private practice, a general counsel has a more pleasant working time of 8–10 hours.
They are also not required to be on call during off-hours. This structure can be more acceptable for your family life, mental health, and overall schedule management. General counsel positions have become popular due to this factor.
How to Become a General Counsel
Choosing to become a general counsel can be an intimidating venture, as they have to deliver high-quality work. Moreover, most companies prefer someone who has plenty of practical experience. To learn more about this, here are some details on how to become a general counsel.
General Counsel’s Essential Qualities
A legal counsel’s role requires the following traits and qualities:
- It would be best to fully understand the procedures, solutions, and strategies in business, finance, and the judicial system.
- To be efficient in your job, you should be knowledgeable about various fields and topics. It is especially important since you must be one of the corporation’s support pillars.
- General counsel jobs in New York also require constant training and education. It is best to be willing to learn more about the corporation and its policies. After all, it is going to be the focus of your job. Gain knowledge on how to develop and improve legal programs within the company.
- You should be able to analyze and judge situations so you can provide excellent legal guidance.
- One of the most vital traits for general counsel jobs is having good judgment. It is often the deal-breaker. Becoming a general counsel is not only about research. It is also about your potential to work under pressure.
- In the fast-paced business industry, your task will be to help your client make the right decisions. Moreover, being able to judge fairly and calmly can get you a positive reputation. Learn how to handle issues in highly demanding situations and always do research.
- You should have good communication skills and be able to cooperate with your team.
Working to gain a reputation and aiming to be one of the highest-paid general counsels is not enough. If you are up for a general counsel’s role, you should be prepared for team cooperation and collaboration.
- Learn how to talk and address legal matters in a business setting as it will be a part of your work to provide clear reports about any risks and issues. If you can explain legal issues to other employees, then you will be able to complete your tasks more efficiently.
The standards for becoming a general counsel are usually high. Since it is seen as a leadership role, many people will expect the best from you.
Here is the full data on the general counsel jobs’ education requirements:
- You should have gained a four-year bachelor’s degree in college.
- A JD (Juris Doctor) degree from an accredited law school is also essential. This educational venture can take approximately three to four years.
- Most companies require at least five to ten years of work experience gained on associate general counsel jobs.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Becoming a lawyer does not stop with fishing a law school. Getting a license to practice law and supporting certifications in your resume are a few more steps that will help you become one of the top candidates in a general counsel search process.
You will also need to have a good standing with the MBE (Multistate Bar Examination) in the US. A comprehensive evaluation of your moral character and an ethics examination is also a part of the process.
Each state in the US has regulated issuing licenses and certifications. The location of your work is critical for legal practice. For example, general counsel jobs in Chicago have a different set of rules compared to New York. For this reason, the location you choose for legal practice is an important point to consider.
Obtaining a board certification is also an essential part of your legal career. While it is not strictly required, it allows you to specialize in different law fields, for example, international law and business litigation. With these achievements, you will be able to gain the upper hand during your job search.
General Counsel Job Advancement
General counsel career advancement is one of the most sought-after benefits in the legal industry. If there is no room for growth, there will be dissatisfaction among employees. It is also one of the biggest reasons many lawyers search for general counsel job openings.
Apart from having a better work-life balance, working as a general counsel can give you plenty of room for advancement. However, it is different compared to working in a law firm.
In a law firm, a career path seems linear. However, chief counsel jobs require you to take charge of both legal and business matters. The more you increase your scope of influence within several executive teams, the more prominent your legal role is.
General Counsel Job Salary
Attaining a general counsel position can be a lucrative career choice. With the time and effort invested every day, it comes as no surprise that a general counsel role should be appropriately compensated.
On average, the annual general counsel salary is $122,960. This amount depends on where they do their legal practice and how long they have been working. It is also based on their certified specializations.
For example, some general counsel’s legal jobs can earn you around $26,000 per year. In contrast, deputy general counsel jobs can earn you a minimum yearly salary of $206,985.
As the world undergoes constant change, the legal industry is growing in size and demand. It has become a competitive space for aspiring lawyers and will continue to do so in the future.
However, if you are engaged in a general counsel job search, there is no need for hesitation. Here are some prospects on why you should go ahead and pursue a general counsel job.
Recent research shows that the number of open job positions for lawyers is predicted to increase by around 4%. Additionally, many business companies expand their in-house legal teams and offer various general counsel jobs.
As hiring a general counsel can lower a company’s financial and legal expenses, it comes as no surprise that they are in high demand.
Some legal work can also be outsourced overseas, which can cost even less. This aspect of in-house legal teams can open doors for many aspiring lawyers, even for those who want to work remotely.
As more corporations shift to this practical strategy, more general counsel job openings will be available to the public. Specialized counsel jobs, such as general counsel healthcare jobs, will also be in high demand. With this information, expanding your legal work to other fields of interest will be a wise career move.
In simplified terms, a general counsel is the head lawyer of a specific organization. Whether it is a business corporation, an educational institute, or a government center, a general counsel is in charge of its legal matters.
According to the general counsel responsibilities, they are supposed to do the following tasks:
- Giving honest and reliable advice to the company’s executive team
- Managing compliance, risk management training, and other vital business processes
- Creating and monitoring reports, contracts, and other legal agreements.
Nowadays, all job applications are made digitally. Aspiring legal workers have become accustomed to online job searches. For example, on LinkedIn, general counsel jobs are available for global and state-specific applicants. The possibilities have become limitless.
However, the process of becoming a general counsel is not as simple as clicking the Apply button. Despite the job availability on online platforms, pursuing general counsel jobs can be long and complicated.
For one, it is not a beginner’s job. It is rare for a company to hire a general counsel right after they graduated from law school. Aside from the strict educational prerequisites, you possess enough skills and experience under your belt. It is a duty with high risks and high rewards.