The longer the General Counsel’s office sits empty, the greater your exposure
Abraham Lincoln said, “The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every calling, is diligence.” The same could be said for the job of finding the right General Counsel.
As business and regulatory pressures increase, so does the importance of finding a top attorney who can provide legal leadership and contribute significantly to business operations, transactions and corporate governance. The value of a well-placed General Counsel is undeniable, especially with companies increasingly viewing the GC as an integral part of their strategic leadership team.
The challenge is that replacing top in-house legal talent, including General Counsel and key law department staff, is demanding and often slow, competing for priority with the normal press of duties. A General Counsel search can take months, a long time to be without legal leadership and the additional exposure that comes along with it.
Structuring the Search Process
Adding to the imperative to fill the General Counsel assignment promptly and strategically is the fact that companies are increasingly seeking business-minded attorneys to serve in this role. That is, lawyers able to devise strategies and unique solutions that help move their companies from point A to point B. In fact, many businesses expect General Counsel to have expertise in areas like data privacy and cybersecurity, not traditionally the purview of the GC.
However you structure your process, make sure your executive legal search is comprehensive. Look for the following:
- A combination of personal attributes, legal skill and business acumen—someone who looks at the world with both a legal lens and a business bias.
- The ability to successfully partner with your CEO and executive team.
- The backbone required to tell the board, CEO and other stakeholders things they may not wish to hear.
- Extraordinary emotional intelligence and management skills as well as a stellar legal resume.
Fact: Expectations of GCs are Higher than Ever
What’s the takeaway here? Searching for a GC is a big, demanding task with far-reaching implications. At BarkerGilmore, we live and breathe legal and compliance executive recruiting.BarkerGilmore combines the passion of a boutique firm with the tools and data of the largest national recruiters. Learn more about our blend of grit and gravitas here.