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Top 5 Moves to Become a General Counsel

Legal leaders who aspire to the ultimate legal professional achievement, the General Counsel, spend their careers making tactical decisions to achieve their goal. While there are infinite paths to become a General Counsel, all legal leaders aspiring to the next step in their careers can benefit from similar advice on personal and professional development. Below we share five strategic moves to make as an Aspiring General Counsel.

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Insights: The Remote Legal Department

BarkerGilmore recently held a webinar on how in-house lawyers can, and should, prepare for their performance reviews in the current, primarily remote work environment. Participants were asked to anonymously respond to a series of polling questions, each one designed to ascertain how law departments across the country are functioning and adjusting during the pandemic. What follows is a brief summary of the insights obtained through these polls.

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4 Steps to Creating a GC Succession Plan

While most companies acknowledge that a succession plan is crucial for business and leadership continuity, preparing and maintaining a succession plan is a time-consuming process. When the urgent needs of the business must be addressed, succession planning is often placed on the backburner and quickly forgotten. However, once one is able to take a step back and view succession planning as deliberate, routine leadership and professional development for one’s team members instead of preemptive preparation for retirement years or decades down the road, the process quickly becomes manageable, the benefits more apparent, and the rewards more readily reaped.

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How to Describe Your Company Culture to Attract the Right Candidates

In this three-part series, we will share practical advice and useful tips that can help both the employer and the candidate during the hiring process determine if there is a cultural fit that is beneficial to both sides. Our Senior Advisors Maureen Brundage, Helen Pudlin, and Audrey Rubin shared their thoughts with me for this first article.

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General Counsel Compensation: A Deep Dive

BarkerGilmore is pleased to, once again, have partnered with Equilar for publication of the 2020 edition of General Counsel Pay Trends. The purpose of the report is to shed light on trends in General Counsel compensation at the 500 largest U.S. public companies. Several factors influence overall compensation including tenure, scope of leadership responsibilities, complexity of legal and compliance challenges ahead, company performance, the GC’s reporting structure, and benchmarked pay across other company executives. Determining exactly how much a GC should earn simply by considering a peer group is not practical. As the data reveals, compensation reported for Named Executive Officers (NEOs) is all over the map, ranging from a low of $400K up to an astonishing $25MM. Many experienced inflated overall compensation in 2019 as a result of significant cash performance bonuses or one-time equity awards. Today, General Counsel are carrying greater weight on their shoulders, working endless hours, and managing stress with anticipation that bonuses and equity awards for 2020 will be significantly reduced — or not paid at all. Some of these remarkable leaders may not receive the appreciable performance awards to which they are accustomed, and of which they are deserving, until full economic recovery is achieved, likely several years from now.

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A Commentary on the GC’s Expanded Role

The responsibilities of the General Counsel have expanded in recent years, propelling a position once known solely as the head of the legal department into a key executive team member who contributes to strategic and risk management decisions. To recruit and retain exceptional talent, many corporations are investing in GC compensation at higher rates than ever before. BarkerGilmore and Equilar recently released the General Counsel Pay Trends 2020 Report to inform the GC compensation conversation. The report examines GCs who are Named Executive Officers at the 500 largest (by reported revenue) U.S.-headquartered companies that trade on one of the three major U.S. stock exchanges (Nasdaq, NYSE, or NYSE American).

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