What does a General Counsel do?

Learn all about General Counsel duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a General Counsel.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A general counsel is a lawyer who provides legal advice to an organization. The general counsel is the head of the legal department and is responsible for all legal matters.

General Counsel job duties include:

  • Providing legal advice and support to the organization on a variety of issues
  • Drafting, reviewing, and negotiating contracts
  • Advising on compliance with laws and regulations
  • Handling litigation and regulatory matters
  • Managing outside counsel
  • Supervising junior lawyers and support staff
  • Researching legal issues and preparing legal opinions
  • Training employees on legal compliance issues
  • Serving as a liaison to the Board of Directors or other governing body

General Counsel Job Requirements

Most general counsels have a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school and are admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction. Many general counsels also have a master’s degree in business administration or a related field. In addition to formal education, general counsels must have excellent research, writing, and analytical skills. They must be able to think critically and solve problems quickly. General counsels must also be able to work well under pressure and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

General Counsel Skills

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong analytical and research skills
  • Ability to think strategically
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to multitask
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Strong negotiation skills
  • Good people skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Good time management skills

Related: Top General Counsel Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a General Counsel

A General Counsel is the highest ranking lawyer in a company. They are responsible for all legal matters pertaining to the company, including contracts, litigation, and compliance with laws and regulations. To become a General Counsel, one must first complete their undergraduate degree and then attend law school. After graduating from law school, they must pass the bar exam and be admitted to practice law in their state. Once they have been admitted to practice law, they can then apply for a position as a General Counsel.

Related: General Counsel Resume Example

Related: General Counsel Interview Questions (With Example Answers)