Bringing it In-House: What to Look for When Hiring a General Counsel?

A corporation should search for in-house counsel that actively maintains social links and ties with local legal counsel and law firms when hiring a General Counsel. This is crucial because, as many organizations fail to see, hiring in-house counsel does not rule out the necessity for outside counsel for certain projects or activities. As a result, the ideal in-house counsel will be able to work with and cooperate with skilled outside counsel.

Hiring the services of legal firms is common in many corporations. With the help of a great attorney to make every deal or contract or policies secure from a legal perspective, hundreds of risks are avoided. But when is it the right time to hire a general counsel in an in-house role to advise and guide the C-suite in making the right legal decisions.

Find out all about hiring a general counsel in this blog. Get insights from C-suite recruitment experts with a wide experience in executive search for top-level legal positions.

Legal General Counsel Hiring: What Are the Different Options?

1. Contracts With Law Firm Based on Fixed Monthly Charges:

Most businesses need legal counsel on a weekly or monthly basis. Contracts must be drafted with multiple clients, suppliers, vendors, and so on for regulatory purposes. Only when a contract issue develops can a General Counsel be retained. The company may provide a part-time general counsel to manage the contracts for a predetermined monthly fee.

Hiring a Part-Time General Counsel reduces the company’s legal expenditures and assists in keeping legal risks under control.

2. Hiring an Attorney to Serve as Independent Consultant:

The roles of business owners and employees are increasingly merging in today’s market. This is especially true for workers who work on their own or in collaboration with others as consultants or independent contractors.

Rather than hiring an entire Law firm for the organization, which raises costs, the company can hire a general counsel to serve the company as an independent consultant.

Hire a professional who has experience in framing different types of contracts and agreements with various clients, suppliers, vendors, and so on. Your general counsel should assist with regulatory matters, corporate governance procedures, real estate matters related to the company’s land and offices, employment law, and so on.

3. Hiring an Experienced Lawyer in a Partial Time, Contractual Position:

Many new and growing businesses have recently hired a part-time or contract general counsel or experienced lawyer. Hiring a lawyer who can offer 10-20 hours of services every week or month is good for companies who need to get legal services frequently every month. Consulting with multiple law firms could prove 2X more expensive in comparison to hiring a lawyer in a part-time role.

4. Hiring A Senior Advocate / Attorney in a Full-Time Position:

A Senior Attorney has the authority to make business choices. In-house attorneys are in charge of a wide range of company tasks.

This is especially true for media businesses, real estate agencies, financial services firms, and other companies that need a loyal legal advisor on their side. The interests of an in-house general counsel are aligned with the company’s ambitions, and their services become crucial to avoiding legal trouble arising from any kind of interaction or agreement that the company enters into.

What Knowledge and Skills to Look for When Hiring a General Counsel?

1. Corporate Governance:

A corporate governance lawyer counsels and advises executives in companies. Company governance lawyers advise and represent corporate leaders and investors, with an emphasis on their interaction and communication.

Lawyers must be familiar with business rules and regulations, as well as fundamental legal and commercial ideas. Corporate governance lawyers understand conventional corporate trustee processes, rules, and laws, as well as how a firm identifies, explains, and formalizes the duties of its leaders and management. A corporate governance lawyer keeps an eye on risk and advises clients in high-risk circumstances.

2. Customer Privacy and Information Protection:

A lawyer specializing in information privacy may work for a law firm or in-house to ensure that privacy regulations are met.

They are usually in charge of designing information security policies, procedures, and processes, as well as ensuring compliance with state and federal privacy laws, as well as other nations’ and international privacy laws, if relevant.

There are several local and international laws and regulations regarding customer privacy and customer data protection, which vary in nature across industries. If your company faces the risk of losing a million in penalty and customer accounts on account of even a small breach, it is worth hiring an expert general counsel to ensure that you are completely compliant from a legal perspective.

3. Advertising And Public Relations:

Media relations agreements with journalists, editors, reporters, and media outlets shape the firm’s image, and the organization may expand its reach in public relations by employing a General Counsel.

If your company faces various kinds of risks because of the constant exposure to the public, media, different advertising across product lines, etc., it is best to hire an in-house counsel with expertise in this practice area.

4. Framing Contracts / Agreements on Local, National, And International Levels:

A contract lawyer will assist you in ensuring that any contracts you enter into are properly fulfilled so that your interests are protected and the objective of the deal is met.

When hiring a General Counsel, ensure that he or she understands contract creation in your industry, as the company will rely on them to discover and correct any possible gaps that might hold you liable or expose you in the case of a future conflict. Experienced attorneys are excellent at executing these legal agreements so that as many loopholes as possible can be avoided.

5. Employment Laws

For many companies that deal with labor unions and changing labor regulations, having an in-house legal counsel with expertise in employment law would be highly beneficial. Consult with C-suite recruitment or C-suite executive search firms to find the best-suited legal counsel for your company. An attorney who can cover you from various fronts – employees, public relations, commercial contracts, etc.

6. Corporate Real Estate and Protection of Infrastructure Assets:

By hiring a General Counsel, you may have him or her ensure that all paperwork for purchase agreements, mortgage documents, title documents, and transfer documents are correctly done. The attorney does everything necessary to guarantee that property transfers or other real estate contracts are in the client’s best interests.

Who Could Be Ideal Candidates?

1. An Attorney / Advocate with 10+ Years of Business Experience:

Hiring a General Counsel with 10+ Years of Business Experience might assist the organization much more than hiring someone with limited knowledge of your industry and business context.

By consulting with a C-suite executive search or C-suite recruitment agency that has experience in legal counsel hiring, you can easily find a brilliant attorney who can fit in with the C-suite culture and win the trust of the top leaders through his or her business acumen and knowledge.

2. Experience in Handling the Legal Requirements Typical to Your Business / Jurisdictions:

An experienced attorney has handled many cases, so they know what they’re doing and what the best course of action is for your specific situation. If you do not choose an experienced lawyer, likely, they have never worked on a case like yours before, and you will be their “guinea pig.” An experienced attorney has a wealth of real-world experience, which means they have honed their skills and are prepared to assist you.

3. Good Track Record in Coordination for Business Matters:

A competent attorney understands the legal subtleties of your case and how to interact with other businesses, negotiate with other parties, and traverse the courts. Perhaps more significantly, they know how to accomplish it swiftly so that we get the money or results we deserve because of our case.

4. Ability To Identify Potential Opportunities and Risks:

Hiring a General Counsel who can see opportunities and risks is the most critical benefit for new in-house attorneys. They may express their worries early on and pursue them to the finish. They may also be able to convert opportunities into useful assets for the firm.

Conclusion

An in-house lawyer’s job is to constantly assess the business’s health, taking into account risks, regulatory changes, compliance, and the corporate governance environment, all the while keeping the organization’s economic goals in mind. Such position-holders should be able to give the necessary education and training, as well as interact with all stakeholders about issues that are unique to them.

With the presence of highly capable in-house attorneys in the company, investors feel reassured. A commercially competent lawyer on the board is becoming more prevalent, contributing to the overall strategic aim and increasing the likelihood of future growth.

Alliance Recruitment Agency

Alliance Recruitment Agency is a global company with a great deal of experience in in-house general counsel hiring. Our C-suite recruitment teams are industry-focused and help companies in finding the top-level candidates in their industry from chosen geographies.

We quickly understand position-based requirements and are able to map talent speedily, thanks to 11+ years of experience in offering top-level recruitment solutions.

Contact us if you are considering hiring a general counsel for in-house roles.