4 Areas Where General Counsel Can Legally Help a Company

No matter the size, a company can benefit from having general counsel on its side. Learn more about the different ways a company can be served by having general counsel.

1. As an Adviser

Unlike litigators, general counsels don’t usually do courtroom work. Instead, they head up a group of lawyers who see to the organization’s litigation. In most instances, they’ll be both intelligent and experienced. Their job is to lead and to set an example. As advisers, they propose solutions, craft strategies, and deal with problems experienced by the organization’s legal representatives. The advice doesn’t necessarily have to do with cases, however. A general counsel will also advise the board of directors about ethics and how those ethics affect the organization’s brand. These ethical parts of the job also relate to confidence in the company.

2. Risk Management

As a problem solver and intellectual presence within the organization, the general counsel is also responsible for managing both risk and compliance with local, state, and federal laws. Most of the time, the general counsel will also attend board meetings regarding business-related actions. The general counsel will also be an integral part of both brand management and creating a future direction for the organization. All of this ties into managing risk too. For example, let’s say that the company has sold widgets that they’ve produced the same way for 40 years. New laws come into being that say that widgets can’t be made that same way anymore. However, for companies that have made them that way, the law stipulates a legacy clause that allows them to continue. They can change their production if they want, though. The general counsel will lead a risk-assessment group to examine the risks involved with both choices.

3. Contracts

Many general counsels have experience with contracts. Indeed, in states that support legal specialization, some of these general counsels have the requisite certifications to be considered specialized experts in their chosen field of contracts. The job’s responsibilities often include drafting, modifying, and implementing contracts as necessary for the organization to be able to conduct business. Furthermore, general counsels are using technology to supplement their efforts. By doing so, they seek to streamline the contract process to save the organization time and allow it to be flexible in the ever-changing marketplace of the 21st century. As the leader of the organization’s legal department, the general counsel will also combine this focus on contracts with advising and managing risk to help the organization improve over time.

4. As a Watchdog

Law is not a static medium. Regulations change. The marketplace changes. It’s up to the general counsel not only to remain fully briefed on all changes to existing laws but also to pay attention to the organization’s adherence to those laws. By always acting with integrity and honor, a general counsel can build the organization’s reputation even as the reputation of that general counsel increases. Confidence is a big part of the success of a business or other organization. And, if a business holds itself accountable, then people’s perception of that business will not only be favorable now but also in the future.