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Head of Legal Job Description

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 11 May 2023
  • What is a Head of Legal?

    A senior legal professional, responsible for overseeing and managing the legal affairs of an organisation. Leading a team of lawyers and legal support staff, those in Head of Legal jobs provide legal advice and guidance to the wider business, including executives, managers and employees alike.

    Often seen as a milestone in the industry, working as a Head of Legal provides the stepping stone to other senior legal roles, or wider general management.

  • What Does a Head of Legal Do?

    A leadership role, demanding a strategic mindset, a Head of Legal role focuses on business planning, performance management, and value.

    Like a plethora of legal jobs, the responsibilities of a Head of Legal will depend on the industry, practice area, and organisation type. By way of example, the expertise and detail will depend massively on whether you work in the Private Client sector, or Property & Planning.

    As a basic rule of thumb, duties as a Head of Legal will include:

    • Providing legal guidance on a wide range of legal matters such as contracts, regulatory compliance, litigation, employment law, intellectual property and corporate governance.
    • Overseeing the operation of the legal department.
    • Conducting legal training for staff.
    • Identifying and mitigating legal risks.
    • Developing and implementing legal procedures and policies to ensure the company’s compliance with applicable laws.
    • Drafting, negotiating and vetting contracts, legal documents and agreements.
    • Conducting legal research to ensure their organisation is up-to-date with the latest legal changes.
    • Representing the company in legal proceedings, working with outside counsel when required.

  • How to Gain a Job as a Head of Department

    Working as a Head of Legal requires a certain flair. As a basic you will require:

    • A strong educational background, including a bachelor's degree in law or a related field acquired from an accredited institution. Additionally, a master’s degree in law or business administration will be welcomed.
    • The right to practice law in your jurisdiction.
    In-depth legal expertise, with an understanding of legal principles and practices, alongside specific knowledge in the realm of contract law, employment law, intellectual property and litigation.
    • Natural leadership and management skills, including an ability to communicate in an assertive and clear manner to those who have a strong understanding of the law, and those with novice knowledge.
    • Proven analytical and problem solving skills, demonstrating your ability to assess and understand complex legal issues, and provide strategic advice.
    • A leader in ethics, integrity and diversity and inclusion campaigns. Excellent business acumen in regard to understanding business operation and objectives, permitting your provision of legal advice aligning with business strategy.