Big companies and organizations are always facing legal issues and spend billions of dollars a year to comply with the law. For them, the solution in the end always winds up being relying on the general counsel.
On searching what is general counsel, you would discover that the general counsel heads the legal team, solves critical legal problems, and provides legal guidance to an organization.
The general counsel (GC) looks after a company’s well-being by providing legal advice and guidance. They review contracts, negotiate deals, analyze transactions, and advise clients about legal services and expenses.
And, turns out, this coveted position is definitely not easy for budding lawyers to come by without relevant work experience!
As a young professional in law, you may wonder how to bag the role of GC. But first, let’s go over the GC’s primary duties to really help you figure out what the job entails.
An Overview of Responsibilities of General Counsel
Depending on the strength and size of a particular company, the general counsel might have multitudes of roles and responsibilities to perform.
The responsibilities are as follows:
- Providing legal advice and managing legal affairs: A GC provides legal advice and handles matters relating to the law if any legal issues arise.
- Conducting legal research: A GC does the job of checking and re-checking the company’s major decisions via thorough, bullet-proof research skills.
- Intellectual property management: A GC keeps track of all the intellectual property’s records, ensuring its safety, security, and legal usage.
- Examining and drafting agreements: A GC examines all agreement documents between the company and other entitles. They even draft the necessary documents, covering all the loopholes.
- Ensuring compliance: A GC must ensure that the company works according to all the laws and regulations.
Being a GC means you must accomplish more than what most employees at an organization would do. As a result, this challenging yet exciting career requires a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
But can a young law professional’s lack of experience be compensated by working at a corporate law firm? Let’s find out.
Does A General Counsel Need Corporate Law Firm Experience?
The job of a GC is challenging – even more so if you do not hone your talents. Hence, before stepping into the legal world all by yourself, it is essential to gain some experience in the field from experts.
In many ways, a corporate law firm can be considered a nascent stage for future general counsel lawyers.
Many institutions and organizations seek people with experience in the field instead of hiring amateurs. The main reason for it is that unlike other positions, corporates expect you to be an expert.
Still, if you are on the fence, there are enough concrete benefits of gaining work experience at a law firm worth considering.
The Benefits of Corporate Law Firm Experience for General Counsel
After studying law, you may still be very green to the trade. Without any proper training, you will be unable to work in more challenging environments.
The benefit of applying for an internship at a corporate law firm means senior lawyers will teach you the ropes of the trade. They can also ask you to assist them in cases.
Thus, you gain the necessary exposure to the corporate world before leaving to join an organization as their GC.
The courtroom is full of hierarchy standards that you need to follow. It also helps to promote discipline and proper court behavior during legal proceedings.
Additionally, there is also a hierarchy in how a specific project works. The corporate management asks the senior lawyers to help them, who turn to junior lawyers for support.
When you start working in the role of general counsel, you will have a fair idea of the role due to a prior experience of working in a similar environment.
Freedom to Fail and Learn
The hierarchy also works as a protective cover for you. You will be under the supervision of a particular lawyer who will bring out your talents and give you chances.
The lawyers do not expect you to get everything right from the word go. Hence, they will work at building you up from scratch. Whenever you’re stuck, a senior will help you out.
Thus, working at a law firm promotes a healthy career development with the freedom to try and fail until you succeed.
Discussions and Case Studies
The most important thing about the legal framework is rules, laws, compliant policies, and agreements. However, studying them throughout the degree program is only the tip of the iceberg.
It would be best if you learn when and how to apply the rules, realize the countering statements, and assess situations. And so, healthy discussions among the entire law firm are advantageous from a learning perspective.
When you work alone, you can only focus on one problem at a time. However, discussions about overcoming different difficult situations will broaden your perspective and knowledge.
Additionally, going through case study files helps you understand which moves work and which do not.
A Solid Resume with Work Experience
Many graduates in the law discipline often end up choosing the wrong clients despite their caliber. It is mostly because future lawyers do not have enough contacts.
Working in a law firm connects you to clients that require a personal attorney rather than a law firm. It also provides you with a strong resume, so you can approach these clients and showcase your experience.
Thus, corporations are more likely to choose you over a person with minimal experience in the field.
The general counsel position demands experienced personnel. They must handle trivial affairs like providing legal advice, keeping records, and doing various research works.
Without practical knowledge, it becomes a mammoth task for individuals to carry on with their respective duties.
A corporate law firm will provide you with all the experience and training that you will require to fulfill all the duties of a GC. As a young law professional, you’ll only be grateful for the experiences in the end .