A Corporate Counsel, also known as a corporate lawyer, works for a business or company providing legal advice to the employer. They usually work in the employers main office, but also can travel to participate in meetings, trials, and other legal proceedings.

Corporate Counsel Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real corporate counsel resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Lead and conduct interrogatories and depositions.
  • Develop, implement and manage key business ethics programs including FCPA compliance and other anti-bribery/anti-kickback programs.
  • Manage all product liability, general commercial, environmental, intellectual property and real estate relate claims and litigation matters.
  • Manage all aspects of lease-relate litigation involving commercial, collection and personal injury lawsuits, including case planning and discovery processes.
  • Assist in liaising with insurance authorities, responding to regulatory inquiries and managing relationship with region from legal and business perspective.
  • Prepare corporate governance documentation, codes of ethics and negotiate acquisition, ventures and outsourcing.
  • Organize and submit responses to discovery requests including subpoenas and document production demands in all litigation.
  • Perform CPR or aid any member that needs help in order to prevent injury.
  • Perform life guarding duties, CPR train, supervise large groups of campers and counselors, and teach merit badges
  • Draft and review statements of work, contract amendments, non-disclosure, evaluation agreements and business associate agreements under HIPAA.
  • Advise on HIPAA, Medicare/Medicaid compliance matters and business associate relationships.
  • Review securities and regulatory developments to assess their impact on current and future liabilities.
  • Research, develop and implement new procedures for responding to subpoenas and information requests.
  • Review veterans' benefits appeals and research and draft appellate opinions for administrative law judges
  • Prepare and negotiate contracts for client-host software and SaaS solutions for domestic and international customers.

Corporate Counsel Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 9% of Corporate Counsels are proficient in Legal Issues, Litigation, and Legal Advice. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Interpersonal skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Corporate Counsels that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Legal Issues, 9%

    Counseled dynamic roster of business clients on comprehensive legal issues related to contract formation, administration, and conflict resolution.

  • Litigation, 8%

    Supervised outside counsel in the management of litigation on a wide variety of cases including regulatory litigation against United States Government.

  • Legal Advice, 8%

    Provided legal advice to the Investment and Treasury departments regarding contractual matters and insurance company investment regulation.

  • Intellectual Property, 6%

    Researched the viability of industry-specific patent applications and worked closely with research departments to ensure protection of all proprietary Intellectual Property.

  • Legal Support, 6%

    Reviewed, revised and negotiated transaction documents and confidentiality agreements and provided all aspects of legal support for investment transactions.

  • Legal Risks, 4%

    Worked directly with senior level executives on legal risk of business decisions and contract negotiations.

Some of the skills we found on corporate counsel resumes included "legal issues," "litigation," and "legal advice." We have detailed the most important corporate counsel responsibilities below.

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a corporate counsel to have happens to be analytical skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that corporate counsels can use analytical skills to "employed disciplined litigation risk analysis process to significantly reduce overall portfolio of litigation risk to my employer. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform corporate counsel duties is the following: interpersonal skills. According to a corporate counsel resume, "lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case." Check out this example of how corporate counsels use interpersonal skills: "demonstrated effective interpersonal skills through working closely with office of general counsel and administrative appeals judges. "
  • Corporate counsels are also known for problem-solving skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a corporate counsel resume: "lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the relevant applicable information" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "work with and manage outside counsel on favorable resolutions relating to both commercial litigation and commercial transactions. "
  • A corporate counsel responsibilities sometimes require "research skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "lawyers need to be able to find those laws and regulations which apply to a specific matter, in order to provide the appropriate legal advice for their clients." This resume example shows how this skill is used by corporate counsels: "prepared business and litigation strategy and conducted analytical and legal research. "
  • Yet another important skill that a corporate counsel must demonstrate is "speaking skills." Lawyers must be able to clearly present and explain their case to arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries, because they are speaking on behalf of their clients. This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a corporate counsel who stated: "represented the company in all phases of litigation. "
  • Another skill commonly found on corporate counsel resumes is "writing skills." This description of the skill was found on several corporate counsel resumes: "lawyers need to be precise and specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney." Here's an example from a resume of how this skill could fit into the day-to-day corporate counsel responsibilities: "presented educational and training programs to claims, underwriting and other internal customers on a variety of legal issues. "
  • See the full list of corporate counsel skills.

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    What Lawyers Do

    A lawyer is a legal practitioner who specializes in understanding and interpreting laws and other legal matters. Their responsibilities revolve around providing legal counseling and advice, representing clients in different kinds of court proceedings, conducting research, collecting evidence, and coordinating with various experts. A lawyer must also manage and oversee the performance of assistants, paralegals, and other team members. Furthermore, there are instances when a lawyer must draft or manage documents such as contracts, trusts, deeds, and wills, assisting clients as needed.

    In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take lawyer for example. On average, the lawyers annual salary is $26,707 lower than what corporate counsels make on average every year.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both corporate counsels and lawyers positions are skilled in legal issues, litigation, and legal advice.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A corporate counsel responsibility is more likely to require skills like "legal risks," "internal clients," "risk management," and "in-house counsel." Whereas a lawyer requires skills like "law firm," "real estate," "civil law," and "juris." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    The education levels that lawyers earn is a bit different than that of corporate counsels. In particular, lawyers are 7.3% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a corporate counsel. Additionally, they're 23.5% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Student Attorney?

    An Attorney at Law is responsible for preparing and examining contracts involving leases, licenses, purchases, sales, etc. They advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, or legal rights and obligations.

    Next up, we have the student attorney profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a corporate counsel annual salary. In fact, student attorneys salary difference is $37,330 lower than the salary of corporate counsels per year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Corporate counsels and student attorneys both include similar skills like "legal issues," "legal advice," and "intellectual property" on their resumes.

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, corporate counsel responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "litigation," "legal support," "legal risks," and "internal clients." Meanwhile, a student attorney might be skilled in areas such as "legal memoranda," "social security," "domestic violence," and "fact investigation." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    On the topic of education, student attorneys earn similar levels of education than corporate counsels. In general, they're 1.6% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 23.5% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How an Attorney At Law Compares

    Staff Attorneys are legal employees who work for a variety of organizations, often as full-time employees. They use their legal expertise to help deal with day-to-day legal issues with which their organization needs regular assistance.

    The third profession we take a look at is attorney at law. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than corporate counsels. In fact, they make a $34,497 lower salary per year.

    While looking through the resumes of several corporate counsels and attorneys at law we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "legal issues," "litigation," and "legal advice," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from corporate counsels resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "legal support," "legal risks," "internal clients," and "risk management." But a attorney at law might have skills like "law firm," "juris," "trial preparation," and "civil litigation."

    Additionally, attorneys at law earn a higher salary in the retail industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $120,546. Additionally, corporate counsels earn an average salary of $155,816 in the technology industry.

    Attorneys at law typically study at similar levels compared with corporate counsels. For example, they're 0.6% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 2.4% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Staff Attorney

    Staff attorneys tend to earn a lower pay than corporate counsels by about $32,487 per year.

    According to resumes from both corporate counsels and staff attorneys, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "legal issues," "litigation," and "legal advice. "

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "legal risks," "internal clients," "risk management," and "in-house counsel" are skills that have shown up on corporate counsels resumes. Additionally, staff attorney uses skills like juris, appeals, administrative agencies, and real estate on their resumes.

    Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The professional industry tends to pay more for staff attorneys with an average of $113,835. While the highest corporate counsel annual salary comes from the technology industry.

    In general, staff attorneys reach similar levels of education when compared to corporate counsels resumes. Staff attorneys are 2.8% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 6.6% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Corporate Counsel Does FAQs

    What Degree Do You Need To Be A Corporate Counsel?

    You need a law degree to be a corporate counsel. A corporate counsel, much like a regular lawyer, will need to complete law school. Unlike regular lawyers, they will also need to have an in-depth understanding of corporate and business law.

    What Is The Difference Between Corporate Counsel And General Counsel?

    The difference between corporate counsel and general counsel comes down to the scope and responsibilities of the job.

    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.

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