Being an effective General Counsel is not only about exercising keen legal judgment. It also calls for business savvy and executive team leadership as an integral member of the C-Suite.
Here are some resources on leadership to help you in your journey as a rising, new or experienced General Counsel.
There’s no question that the typical general counsel (GC) of a Fortune 1000 company possesses impressive legal skills and qualifications…. But the effectiveness of senior leaders depends on more than what they know and where they learned it—it also depends on how they lead.
-Victoria Reese, Global Practice Managing Partner at Heidrick & Struggles
What today’s general counsel looks like as a leader
General Counsel in the age of Disruption and a Pandemic Crisis: Navigating a Path Forward – The evolution of a new business and legal service delivery model for in-house legal
General counsel rank higher on 2 leadership attributes than other non-CEO executives
Success Factors For An Effective General Counsel: Advice From The C-Suite
The legal field doesn’t constrain people’s potential. But it tends to constrain their way of thinking about potential. Lawyers sometimes don’t see the possibilities before them and they therefore don’t act in ways that take advantage of those possibilities. At the extreme, lawyers become the keeper of their own cells, walled off from new ideas and energies.
– Michael Melcher, Partner, Next Step Partner and host of The Career Stewardship Podcast
Why Thinking Like a Lawyer is Bad for Your Career
So You Want to Be a General Counsel? How to Maximize Your Chances
CEOs Want General Counsel ‘More Strategically Involved’ in Leadership Roles
3 Traits Of Best-In-Class General Counsel
The General Counsel as senior leader: more than “just a lawyer”
Don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves; you need to create them. This means getting in front of the Board of Directors, President or CEO whenever appropriate and possible, making presentations to industry or key clients, spearheading/overseeing important projects and making yourself known as a person of vision and action within the company and outside of it. The best way to get tapped for a GC role, or increase your impact if you are already in one, is to be (and create the reputation of being) someone who effectively leads, mentors, sponsors, motivates, teaches and influences others. In short, make leadership a centerpiece in your professional mission and personal brand.
– Anne Marie Segal, Founder of Segal Coaching LLC
8 Core Qualities of Successful General Counsel and How to Achieve Them
Develop Yourself: 18 Competencies for Global General Counsel
5 Things the Best General Counsel Do Differently
Teaching Lawyers To Be Leaders: Our Experience With Business Style Case Studies
General Counsel: Guardian and Conscience of The Company
Also, there is a degree of being an observer; being an adviser in other topics that aren’t exactly legal things. It is a privileged position because what they touch has to do with almost everything else we do in the company. It has to do with commercial relationships with customers, to relationships with employees and suppliers, the way you comply with the market, with regulation. So being aware of all of those things, they can assess the business extremely well. There is so much more to the job than saying ‘we are not legally compliant with this or that’.
– Luis Alvarez, Former CEO of BT Services
What I want from my general counsel – a CEO’s perspective
10 Tips For A New General Counsel
Do Lawyers Make Better CEOs Than MBAs?
On Leadership: An Interview with Kenneth C. Frazier, President and CEO of Merck & Co., Inc.
Words to lead by: A discussion with top general counsel
General counsel sit at an interesting place within the C-suite spectrum of personalities. They are not change agents/ disruptors (like chief digital officers, chief marketing officers and chief information officers/chief technology officers (CIO/CTO) or even change enablers (like CEOs, chief human resources officers and chief operating officers). Rather, they are at the more pragmatic, business-oriented end of the risk management group, though not as rules driven as CFOs. This unique position among their colleagues gives them the opportunity to be the balancing voice in key conversations.
– Cynthia Dow, Executive Search and Assessment Consultant, and colleagues at Russell Reynolds
Inside the Mind of the General Counsel
What GCs and CCOs can learn from each other
The Rise of the General Counsel
The GC must lead by example, encouraging the legal team to be collaborative, understand how technology affects legal practice and delivery (many State Bars require this as an element of professional competency), and appreciate that legal practice and legal delivery are related but distinct. These skills are not taught at law school or learned at large firms. So how does one acquire them with all the immediate fires that must be put out? The simple answer is that many of the new skills must be learned on-the-fly, online, in executive training courses, and from experts and thought leaders.
-Mark Cohen, CEO of Legal Mosaic
General Counsel’s New Role: Business Strategist
Self-Proclaimed “Ethics Geek” Explains How he Made In-House Lawyers Likeable
Gartner Says General Counsel Should Pivot from Legal to Business Leadership