Is general counsel the same as Chief Legal Officer?

Asked by: Hallie Cassin  |  Last update: August 9, 2023
Score: 4.6/5 (5 votes)

While the Chief Legal Officer oversees legal strategies on a higher level, General Counsel offers more hands-on management, making decisions in the moment for legal matters like compliance regulations, contract review and negotiation, asset protection, and litigation.

What is the other name for Chief Legal Officer?

A general counsel, also known as chief counsel or chief legal officer (CLO), is the chief in-house lawyer for a company or a governmental department.

What is higher than general counsel?

A CLO is the highest-ranking legal executive in an organization, reporting directly to the CEO or COO. Each CLO is responsible for overseeing all aspects of legal affairs, including: Compliance and risk management.

Is general counsel part of the C-suite?

It is popular to use the C-suite type designations - partly to show the GC is a peer of the CFO, CIO, etc. Chief Legal Officer (CLO) is one of many possible appellations that might apply to a General Counsel.

What is the difference between legal officer and legal counsel?

However generally speaking, General Counsels tend to focus on legal and compliance matters, whereas Chief Legal Officers typically have a broader range of responsibilities including legal, strategic and executive functions.

What Is a Career in General Counsel Like? In Discussion with a General Counsel & Chief Legal Officer

26 related questions found

What does a Chief Legal Officer do?

The Chief Legal Officer is the head of the corporate legal department and is responsible for the legal affairs of the entire corporation. This role includes providing legal counsel to the board of directors, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and other senior management.

What is the difference between counsel and general counsel?

General counsel, for example, is typically the title given to the highest-ranking in-house lawyer within a legal department, and that person is usually a c-suite executive like the COO or CFO of an organization. Corporate counsel, on the other hand, is usually just a job title within a legal department.

Is C-suite above VP?

Usually Vice Presidents (VPs) and Senior Vice Presidents (SVPs) report to C-level executives. For example, the VP of Product Marketing and the VP of Digital Marketing will report to the CMO. D-level executives are the ones who report to VPs.

Can General Counsel also be the CEO?

General counsel as a business leader

A business-focused GC who understands the company's strategy and effectively partners with senior management to drive that strategy is a powerful member of the executive team — and, perhaps one day, a CEO.

How do you become a Chief Legal Officer?

Qualifications and Skills
  1. A law degree from an accredited institution.
  2. Admission to a state bar.
  3. 10 years of experience as a practicing attorney.
  4. In-depth knowledge of corporate law.
  5. Excellent research, writing, and communication skills.
  6. The ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines.

Why is it called general counsel?

General Counsel positions are highly sought after, and successful candidates in these roles are often those with the right mix of legal expertise and business savvy. A GC is a generalist by nature, as the “general” in the role implies, meaning they will have broad legal competence across several fields of law.

Is being general counsel hard?

The struggle is real. But there are ways to gain that experience prior to becoming a GC. One of the best ways to to develop the skills needed to be a general counsel is to seek out complex projects involving cross-functional issues AND that will give you exposure to senior management.

What makes a great general counsel?

Cultural fit and integrity are the two most important qualities for an effective general counsel. To maximize the likelihood for a successful general counsel, there should be a clear understanding of the values and priorities for the organization and the GC, as well as input from diverse perspectives and stakeholders.

Who is the highest legal officer?

Attorney General is the highest law officer in India. Article 76 of the Indian Constitution under its Part-V deals with the position of Attorney General of India. He is the chief legal advisor to the government of India and advises the union government on all legal matters.

Who is the highest ranking legal officer?

The United States attorney general (AG) is the head of the United States Department of Justice, and is the chief law enforcement officer of the federal government of the United States.

What are the four faces of the Chief Legal Officer?

The role of today's chief legal officer (CLO) is complex, demanding much more than legal operations expertise. To be successful, a CLO must master and strike the right balance between “four faces”: Strategist, catalyst, guardian, and operator.

How do you address a general counsel?

Address an attorney as "Mr." or "Ms." in most contexts. In the salutation for a letter or email, address an attorney the same way you would any other respected professional- using "Mr." or "Ms." followed by their surname. Generally, this is the best way to address an attorney if you've never spoken to them before.

What is the relationship between CEO and general counsel?

For good business practice and to avoid reputational damage, there needs to be safety and trust on both sides. This means working together hand-in-hand on the strategy, so General Counsel can implement the legal and compliance aspects effectively, but also be able to push back and be independent when required.

What are the expectations of a general counsel?

Susan Hackett, CEO of Legal Executive Leadership in the US, concludes, “General counsel are discovering that their highest role and priority is to lead the charge for change… the role of the GC isn't to try to do it all herself, but to assure that the mission is articulated, a strategy developed, and team members are ...

What is below B-level executives?

B-level executives are mid-level managers (e.g., Sales Manager) who are three steps below C-level executives and report to D-level management.

What are V level executives?

While all C-levels are executives, not all executives are C-levels. This is why vice president-level positions are their own group: V-level executives. These executives are the second highest-ranking team members.

Who is below the C-suite?

What Is Below the C-Suite? The organizational structure of a company will vary, but typically the level below the C-Suite will feature top managers such as managing directors, senior vice presidents (SVPs), and division heads.

Can a company have two general counsels?

At many other companies, go one level down, and you may see additional “GCs.” This is because if a company has operating subsidiaries, it may designate the top legal officer for each of those operating subsidiaries as a General Counsel. It may also grant the GC title to legal heads of lines of businesses.

What is higher assistant or associate general counsel?

1. Titles vary widely from one to company to the next. In some companies, “Associate General Counsel” is a level above “Assistant General Counsel”, and in other companies, the reverse is true. Also, one company's “Senior Corporate Counsel” can be called “Senior Counsel” at another company or “Associate Director”.

What is general counsel in CIA?

ANSWER: As the chief legal officer of the CIA, the General Counsel is responsible for the management and evaluation of all attorneys providing legal advice to the Agency.