Home

1 (800) 363-1207

Home > Executive Search Information Portal > The General Counsel Job

The General Counsel Position and its Responsibilities

The General Counsel Job


The General Counsel position holder is the trusted legal counsel and advisor to the CEO as well as the primary point of contact with global regulators, independent directors, stakeholders and business partners. The General Counsel anticipates and mitigates legal, regulatory and reputational risk for the company in addition to managing the in-house legal and compliance function. The person holding the General Counsel role is expected to advise on profound company issues that have wide-ranging and critical implications for the company.

General Counsel Capabilities Required by Executive Recruiters


Executive search consultants and headhunters look for General Counsel candidates who can proactively identify and defuse risk, and who understand how regulators think. Aspiring General Counsels must have a multicultural perspective; speak several languages; and have working knowledge of differences in laws and regulations across countries in order to identify where local business customs and the extraterritorial reach of US and other national laws may contradict one another. Those seeking a General Counsel position must have unimpeachable ethics and integrity; exceptional communication skills; confidence; and independent judgment, as well as the ability to lead the in-house legal and compliance function. It is also critical that the General Counsel has credibility with stakeholders, regulators and business partners.

Career Experience Sought for General Counsel Positions


In the mid to late 1990s, a period characterized by mergers, acquisitions and IPOs, general counsels were often Wall Street or Silicon Valley attorneys who had experience with investment bankers. Because of subsequent scandals including Enron, and the advent of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, today's General Counsel job holder is more likely to have been trained in Washington at the SEC, Justice, Treasury, or similarly high-profile federal agency, in addition to a world-class law firm. Given the complexity of today's global business landscape, international experience is often a requirement. Management and directors, and therefore executive headhunters, are often attracted to attorneys who already hold a position as General Counsel of a public company, and General Counsel candidates are expected to have superb academic credentials; experience working closely with Boards of Directors; experience with corporate governance; experience dealing with shareholder initiatives and litigation; and, perhaps, a judicial clerkship. In highly regulated industries such as financial services and life-sciences, executive recruiters will almost always give preference for the General Counsel job to candidates with experience in the same sector. In less highly regulated sectors such as consumer and industrial, the candidate's experience may lie within any sector.

Read more about executive recruitment in the legal industry.

Senior Executives - Gain Online Exposure to AESC Executive Search Consultants





BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants, putting senior executives on the radar of over 8,000 executive search professionals in over 75 countries. Join BlueSteps to be considered for more than 90,000 executive job opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more.


Executive Search by Job Function:

CEO Jobs CFO JobsCMO Jobs
CIO Jobs / CTO JobsGeneral Counsel JobsChief HR Officer Jobs
COO JobsExecutive Director JobsDevelopment Director Jobs
Supply Chain Executive JobsIndependent Board Directors 
Stay Connected
  • Executive Search on Twitter
  • Executive Search on LinkedIn
  • Executive Search on Facebook
  • BlueSteps on Google+
  • Executive Search via RSS