Chief Legal Officer Job Description | Legal Recruiters | Legal Executive Search Firm

Chief Legal Officer Job Description

Cowen Partners is a leader among the nation’s best executive search firms for legal executives, enabling companies to harness the power of human capital to fuel their success. With top-rated CLO recruiters, Cowen Partners gives our clients access to the top 1% of human capital to create opportunities that accelerate their growth and market share. With Cowen Partners, clients can grow at scale, create value, and drive results with world-class talent.

Chief Legal Officer Job Description: About the Opportunity

The Chief Legal Officer (CLO) is the head of the corporate legal department and is responsible for the legal affairs of the entire corporation. This role involves providing legal counsel to the board of directors, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and other senior management.

CLOs must possess strong initiative, as well as excellent management and leadership skills, and strong business acumen. A Juris Doctor (JD) and an applicable state license to practice law are required. The level of experience required for the position may vary, depending on company size.

CLO Job Description: Chief Legal Officer Responsibilities

CLOs are generally responsible for duties that include (and are not limited to):

  • Developing and leading corporate legal strategy to promote and protect the company’s matters
  • Developing and leading internal audit and corporate compliance programs
  • Overseeing the delivery of legal services and resources to accomplish corporate goals, strategies, and priorities
  • Maintaining proper corporate interactions with the relevant local, state and federal governmental bodies, legislatures and the community at large
  • Advising the CEO and other senior corporate officers on a variety of issues
  • Participating in the formulation of general management policy as a member of the executive management team
  • Managing a team of corporate counsel and other members of the legal department

 

CLO Job Description: Required Skills & Knowledge

Screen candidates for these skills, abilities, and knowledge to make sure they are truly qualified for the chief legal officer role.

Chief Legal Officer Skills

  • Budget preparation
  • Fiscal management
  • Employee development and performance management skills
  • Presentation development and delivery
  • Strong negotiating skills

Chief Legal Officer Abilities

  • Analyze and interpret issues and to prepare legal opinions
  • Communicate and interact with officials at all levels of government
  • Supervise and train employees, including organizing, prioritizing, and scheduling work assignments
  • Supervise and coordinate the work of legal professionals, paraprofessionals, and consultants
  • Foster a cooperative work environment
  • Develop and implement legal strategies and solutions
  • Provide competent legal advice and counsel to senior university officials on a wide range of legal and policy issues

Chief Legal Officer Knowledge

  • Contract law
  • The judicial system and procedures
  • The principles and procedures of legal research
  • Current and developing legal issues and trends in their chosen area of expertise
  • Institutional policies and procedures, as well as the regulatory environment within which they operate
  • Financial/business analytical techniques and strategies
  • Legal documentation procedures and requirements
  • The range of applicable laws and regulations that impact on all facets of business policy and operations
  • Community legal resources
  • Hiring procedures

 

CLO Job Description: Education Requirements

Candidates for the chief legal officer role should have, at minimum, the following degrees and credentials.

  • J.D. from an American Bar Association accredited law school; at least 10 years of experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities specified. Member of the State Bar, or member in good standing of the State Bar of another state or District of Columbia.
  • Completed degree(s) from an accredited institution that are above the minimum education requirement may be substituted for experience on a year for year basis.

Discover More About CLO Recruitment & Hiring

Beyond the CLO job description, there are interview questions, salary guides, and other key matters to consider as you focus on hiring a highly qualified candidate for the chief legal officer role. Find out more in our other insightful resources, put together by top legal executive recruiters:

Hire the Best CLO with a Top Legal Executive Search Firm

Cowen Partners is a leader among the nation’s best executive search firms for legal executives, enabling companies to harness the power of human capital to fuel their success. With highly experienced CLO recruiters, Cowen Partners gives our clients access to the top 1% of human capital to create opportunities that accelerate their growth and market share. That is how Cowen Partners helps clients:

  • Grow at scale
  • Create value
  • Drive results with world-class talent
General Counsel Interview Questions | Legal Recruiters

5 Important Questions to Ask When Recruiting General Counsel

5 Important Questions to Ask When Recruiting General Counsel

The general counsel position is a major part of the executive leadership team. You need someone who displays great leadership skills, sound judgment, and a strong sense of ethics. Finding a candidate who meets all of these expectations as well as your business needs can be difficult.

Before sitting down for an interview, you need to consider what skill set and competencies your company needs in general counsel. For instance, if your company is expecting to start handling acquisitions, then someone with a corporate law background may be beneficial.

To get you started, below are five assessment questions you should be asking a general counsel candidate no matter the scope of the position.

1. How much work would you assign to outside counsel?

Hiring outside counsel is expensive. By asking candidates this question, you can understand how the criteria a candidate uses to determine when to use inside attorney staff and when to hire outside help. It’s also helpful to know how a candidate determines which law firm to hire when seeking outside counsel.

You want to look for three main points in a candidate’s answer to this question.

  1. Experience with outside counsel
  2. Awareness of legal budgets
  3. Knowledge of local law firms

2. How do you control costs within the law department?

The right candidate for the job will have the practical experience and a few recommendations for reducing spending in the law department. A candidate should be suggesting ideas such as relying on in-house legal services as well as utilizing smaller, more affordable, firms when seeking outside counsel.

You need someone who understands budget limitations and comes with creative ways to overcome monetary constraints.

3. What are the three biggest legal challenges you’ve ever faced in business?

Listen to how the candidate solved the problems as well as the overall outcome of the situation. Did the candidate work with stakeholders to develop a strategy? Did the candidate research unfamiliar topics?

The answer to this question will show you how each candidate will handle potential issues that arise at your company.

This question will also help you compare answers between candidates. What one person saw as challenging might be a normal business day for another candidate. The complexity of each challenge will show you the types of problems the candidates have experience handling so far.

4. Describe a situation that presented a significant risk to the organization. How did you deal with it?

It’s really important to understand a candidate’s risk tolerance and risk management. The right candidate will be able to demonstrate what was learned from a risky situation as well as explain how it was handled. If it didn’t go well, then this is an opportunity for the candidate to explain how it would be done better in the future.

Managing risk isn’t always easy and you need someone who can bounce back after an error and do better in the future.

5. What interactions have you had with regulators as well as your executive team?

The general counsel interacts with a number of different people, but regulators and the executive team are two important groups you need to ask about. You want a candidate who has experience working with regulators and who has an organization system in place for maintaining documents.

Since general counsel duties include working alongside your executive team, you want to know how well candidates are currently working with their teams. High-level responsibilities and an expanded role outside of the legal department are two strong signs that a candidate has earned the trust of their executive team.

Including these five questions in your interview will give you a solid understanding of each candidate’s key competencies. The general counsel is a crucial member of your executive team, so understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate is essential to your business.

Finding Top In-House Legal Talent

Capable in-house legal talent is a vital part of your company’s team, and finding top legal talent is necessary if you expect to compete in today’s economy. You cannot afford to make mistakes when locating the right candidate for Chief Legal Officer, Corporate Counsel, General Counsel, or other key legal positions.

Cities include New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Phoenix.

As a leading executive search firm, Cowen Partners specializes in finding in-house counsel and legal officers that fit your needs. We know the legal recruiting process from all sides and have a proven track record of success. When you work with us, you can rest assured knowing we will find you exceptional talent with outstanding credentials. We evaluate everything from legal experience, executive leadership, and emotional intelligence to core competencies and culture fit. Our assessment of candidates is top-notch so we can find you the perfect fit for your company.

Top Legal Executive Recruitment Firm | Cowen Partners

At Cowen Partners, our elite team of hands-on legal recruiters have extensive experience working with private, public, pre-IPO, and non-profit organizations. Clients, who are typically $50 million in revenue to Fortune 1000’s or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion, span all industries, including technologyhealthcaremanufacturingretailreal estatefinancial serviceprivate equity, and more.

Successful placements include chief legal officers and general counsel across the nation, as well as positions across the C-Suite — CEOsChief Operating Officers, CHRO, Chief Financial Officers, CMO, vice presidents human resources, and other director-level leadership roles.

Delivering 3X more qualified candidates than the competition, Cowen Partners has a proven retained executive search process that is exceptionally efficient at delivering the top 1% of candidates for positions across the C-suite — and for success with any company initiative, from growth and expansion to diversity and inclusion and beyond.

Discover more of our industry-leading executive search resources to see why Cowen Partners is a top legal executive search firm in Atlanta, Dallas, AnchorageNew York CityChicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Boston, SeattleLos Angeles, and beyond:

Cowen Partners Executive search provides recruitment services to all major and minor industries including:

Accounting, Advertising, Aerospace & Defense, Biotechnology, Banking, Board and CEO Services, Computer Hardware, Construction, Consulting, Consumer Products, Computer Software and Hardware, Education, Energy & Utilities, Entertainment & SportsFinance & Financial Services, Food Products, Government, Human Resources, Health Care, Hospitality & Tourism, Insurance, Industrial, Internet & New Media, Legal, Journalism & Publishing, Marketing, Manufacturing, Medical Device, Non-Profit, Pharmaceutical, Private EquityReal Estate, Retail & Apparel, SalesTechnology, Telecommunications and Transportation.

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