What Does a Corporate Counsel Do?
Attorneys who serve as corporate counsel work for a single business or corporation, advising the company on legal matters and providing legal protection. A corporate counsel works in and out of the courtroom on a wide range of legal matters. This includes drafting and negotiating employee contracts, filing government reports, drafting and reviewing legal documents, and reviewing and creating employee handbooks. Corporate attorneys also review partnerships between their company and vendors, subcontractors, and partners.
It’s important for a corporate counsel to not only have an in-depth knowledge of business law, but also a background in the industry in which their company operates.
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National Average Salary
Corporate counsel salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Corporate Counsel is:
Corporate Counsel Job Descriptions
When it comes to recruiting a corporate counsel, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.
[Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced corporate counsel. We are in need of an exceptionally responsible candidate with great communication, analytical, and negotiation skills. A corporate counsel develops the organization’s policies on issues related to the industry, corporate governance, and regulatory matters. If you have experience as an attorney or in managing a company’s legal affairs, you may be an ideal candidate for a position as a member of our staff.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Negotiate employee contracts
- Prepare and file government reports
- Draft legal documents
- Review new business relationships with vendors and subcontractors
- Guide managers on regulatory and compliance matters
- Administer training workshops
- Formulate employee handbooks
- Analyze legal issues relating to proposed products
- Represent the corporation before administrative boards and court trials
- Provide supervision to outside lawyers hired to assist the corporation with their specialized legal services
- Structure joint enterprises with other organizations
Education and experience
This position requires a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where the candidate will work. A background in business and the industry in which the company does business are preferred.
Required skills and qualifications
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Knowledge of federal and state business laws and regulations
- Administrative skills
- Research skills
- Analytical thinking
- Negotiation skills
- Managerial skills
- Knowledge of applicable legal and regulatory requirements relating to contracts, licensing, software as a service, marketing, technology, privacy and security
- Experience in analysis, review, and drafting of complex vendor contracts required
- Works well with internal “clients” and other stakeholders
ABC Company has an Associate Corporate Counsel position available in the Charlotte, NC office. This position has visibility and interaction with senior management and offers career advancement.
- Working with business leaders and corporate staff to articulate risks and benefits of legal strategy
- Developing strategies for, managing, and resolving a wide variety of investigations, litigation and pre-litigation disputes
- Providing strategic litigation advice to the business
- Helping lines of business develop and implement processes, procedures, and systems to promote risk avoidance and prevent litigation
- Coordinating with outside counsel to assure they represent the company’s best interest
- Work closely with other departments within the company on various issues.
- Must be licensed in North Carolina
- Excellent written and verbal communication.
- 3+ years of litigation experience.
- Experience in Bankruptcy and Replevins a plus.
Provide legal support on a wide range of corporate matters, reporting to the Company’s Associate General Counsel – Corporate. Responsibilities include supporting the company’s corporate governance function and public company securities law requirements, providing assistance for M&A and financing transactions, reviewing, and negotiating various transactional documents and providing thoughtful legal counsel on a multitude of Company-related business issues.
Essential duties and responsibilities
- Assist with corporate governance and the corporate secretary function
- Draft board and committee materials
- Draft resolutions, consents, governing documents, certificates, and minutes
- Draft portions of and assist with SEC filings, including proxy, registration statements and Section 16 filings
- Draft and maintain governance-related policies and procedures
- Maintain corporate calendar
- Assist with insider trading compliance program oversight
- Assist with M&A and securities offerings
- Provide legal counsel and guidance to managers, business leaders and sales professionals relating to the Company’s business activities
- Appropriately identify and analyze legal issues with an understanding of how to appropriately balance risk and the Company’s ability to pursue its business interests
- Develop and conduct legal trainings on various legal topics relevant to risk management
- Respond promptly to the business while delivering efficient and high-quality legal service
- Flexibility to work on a wide range of projects and with those at various levels within the organization
- Juris Doctorate (JD) from ABA accredited university, membership in good standing of State Bar
- 4+ years legal experience with an emphasis in securities, M&A and corporate law
- The position requires excellent organization, prioritization and multitasking skills, practical and effective problem-solving skills, strong analytical, negotiation, and communication skills, and the ability to exercise sound judgment, commercially focused legal advice and appropriately consider risks to the Company. Exceptional attention to detail is also critical for this role. Candidate must be able to interact effectively and collaboratively with the Company’s executives, professionals, staff and other employees, as well as with legal colleagues within the same department and globally, and outside counsel
- It is also very important that the candidate works well independently and within a team environment, both in person and virtually
Acts as a legal advisor to assigned internal clients (including the range of company businesses and functions) Identifies legal risk and recommends solutions that help address the client’s objectives. Represents company in transactions, interactions or disputes with customers, suppliers, partners, and competitors. Balances the business interests of client groups with ultimate fiduciary responsibility to company. Represents the company before industry policy setting organizations, government agencies and other regulatory bodies.
- Provides legal expertise to support client decisions in a sub-region and/or business unit or function
- Develops risk profiles addressing complex commercial or specialty law
- Promotes legal awareness and leads legal training activities for clients
- Identifies, analyzes and resolves complex legal issues
- Concurrently works on multiple legal issues and projects for various client organizations
Education and experience required
- Advanced university degree in law (e.g. JD or LLB)
- Meets local legal license requirements
- Typically 4-6 years commercial legal experience at a law firm or in-house
- Well developed level of business experience supporting clients or advising on specialty law matters
Knowledge and skills
- Well developed breadth of practical legal and business knowledge, as well as in-depth knowledge in one or more practice areas
- Good knowledge of company policies and procedures
- Well-developed competence and experience in negotiating or advising on legal and business matters, or focused competency in particular practice areas
- Able to translate complex legal or factual issues into plain language communications
- English language skills to business standard preferred
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- ICC (In-House Counsel Certified) Designation. On the site for the Accreditation of Corporate Counsel, candidates interested can read about the ICC Designation, which is valid for a year after an individual passes the final assessment from the ACC Credentialing Institute. Candidates must meet eligibility criteria, attend 25 hours of training, and then complete the final assessment in order to receive the ICC Designation.
- Harvard’s Leadership in Corporate Counsel. This program is great for candidates who are currently active in their in-house legal department. The program assists its leading lawyers in developing their in-house roles through a highly-involved case-study method that assists with understanding the changes taking place in the global marketplace for legal services.
Sample Interview Questions
- How do you advise clients on complex legal and regulatory issues?
- What was your approach to balancing the interests of different stakeholders?
- What is your strategy for staying abreast of changes in laws and regulations that affect your clients’ businesses?
- Would you be able to describe a recent transaction or negotiation you were involved in and what your role was?
- How do you cooperate with outside counsel and paralegals on the legal team?
- What is an ethically difficult decision you made and how did you approach it?
- Can you explain how you approach risk management and provide legal and business risk advice to your clients?
- Is there an example of a particularly creative solution you came up with for a client’s legal problem?
- When drafting legal documents and contracts, how do you ensure they are thorough and legally sound?
- What is your background in our industry?
- Can you share a time when you guided or mentored a colleague?