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A Day in the Life of a General Counsel

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 27 May 2024


“The General Counsel, also known as Corporate Counsel or Chief Legal Officer (CLO), is the highest ranking figure of legal authority within an organisation.” [Reference: ‘General Counsel Job Description’]. Offering a pivotal and multifaceted role, working within the sphere of General Counsel jobs will see you blending legal expertise with strategic business acumen.

As the Chief Legal Officer, a GC's day is characterised by a diverse array of responsibilities, challenges, and rewards. Join us for an insider's look into the daily life of a General Counsel, shedding light on how they navigate complex legal landscapes.

General Counsel job responsibilities - a day-to-day:

Strategy and Compliance:


Strategizing is a key skill of a successful General Counsel; prioritising tasks based on urgency and importance, helps to set a clear agenda.


Following an organisational sweep, a GC may engage in meetings with senior management or department heads. Meetings such as these are crucial for aligning legal strategies with business objectives, ensuring that all company activities comply with relevant laws and regulations.


Overseeing compliance issues: alongside strategy, a GC must navigate a labyrinth of local, national, and international regulations (depending on company size). General Counsel play an essential role in ensuring that their company adheres to these laws, safeguarding it from potential legal risks and penalties.

Contracts, Negotiations, and Advisory Roles:


Whether you’re looking at finalising deals with suppliers, partners, or customers, those in General Counsel jobs are at the forefront of ensuring that all contracts serve the best interests of their organisation. Whether you’re working in ‘General Counsel Company / Commercial jobs’, or ‘General Counsel Corporate jobs’, you will be involved in meticulous scrutiny of terms and conditions, negotiation of favourable clauses, and collaboration with other departments to ensure that contractual obligations are clear and achievable.


In addition to contract work, GCs frequently serve as key advisors to various departments within the organisation. They might be consulted on a wide range of issues, from employment law matters and intellectual property rights to mergers and acquisitions. Their legal insight is invaluable in making informed decisions that minimise risk and promote the company's long-term success.

Litigation Management and Risk Mitigation:


While not every day involves litigation, managing legal disputes forms a significant part of a General Counsel's role - strategizing with external legal counsel on ongoing cases or working internally to resolve disputes before they escalate to litigation. A proactive approach to conflict resolution can save the company significant time and resources.


Risk mitigation is a key part of a General Counsel’s job role; working on identifying potential legal risks associated with new projects or initiatives and devising strategies to minimise them. It requires a deep understanding of the business landscape, as well as creativity in developing solutions that align with the company's goals.

Reflection and Professional Development:


Many General Counsels may take the time to review case law updates, study new legislation, or participate in professional development activities. Staying abreast of legal developments is essential for GCs, as it enables them to provide up-to-date advice and maintain their edge as strategic business partners.


Networking events also play a crucial role in a GC's professional life. Engaging with peers from other organisations allows for the exchange of ideas and experiences, fostering a sense of community within the legal profession.

The Rewards - Beyond Legal Expertise:

The role of a General Counsel comes with its fair share of challenges, from navigating complex legal issues to managing high-stakes negotiations. Nonetheless, it also offers substantial rewards. Being at the intersection of law and business allows GCs to develop a broad skill set that extends beyond legal expertise, gaining insights into various aspects of business operations, and enhancing strategic thinking and leadership abilities.

Alongside this, General Counsel earn an average of £120,240 (according to our salary survey) - the highest average salary on site. The six figure salary is accompanied by a strong bonus average, with 62% of GCs securing a bonus last year.


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