What Is a Chief Legal Officer?

In case you’re all for how businesses operate based on the law, corporate law may be a very good career path for you. In this position, you want legal experience to assist companies comply with laws and regulations and reduce litigation risks while conducting business. With experience, you may work your way as much as the senior-level position of a chief legal officer (CLO). In this article, we explain the role of a chief legal officer, the best way to turn out to be one and reply some frequently asked questions about this profession.

Key takeaways

A CLO is a legal executive who helps an organization follow authorized and regulatory issues.

A CLO is an adviser to other company officers and board members to minimize legal risks.

A CLO is usually probably the most highly effective legal executive in a publicly traded company.


What’s a chief legal officer?

A chief legal officer is a lawyer with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, state license and extensive corporate experience. Because the head of a corporate legal department, a CLO is answerable for overseeing an organization’s legal affairs. They’ve intensive legal backgrounds with previous positions as head authorized, first common counsel and law firm partner earlier than changing into a CLO.

What does a chief legal officer do?

Chief authorized officers often work as essentially the most senior legal executive for publicly traded companies. These companies wish to guarantee they’re protecting their employees, assets and stakeholders in accordance with the law.

A CLO’s duties may embody:

Keeping leadership informed of new or altering laws

Consulting an organization’s board on authorized advice and regulations

Overseeing an organization’s in-house attorneys and authorized department

Educating employees on authorized issues

Organising training supplies regarding authorized matters for workers

Getting ready legal forms such as nondisclosure agreements or proprietary information agreements

Creating and implementing legal strategies and insurance policies in the best interest of the company

Leading inner audits and corporate compliance initiatives

Litigating on behalf of an organization

Understanding contracts signed by the corporate

The best way to grow to be a chief legal officer

Observe these steps to turn out to be a professional chief legal officer:

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

Most aspiring lawyers start by incomes a bachelor’s degree in enterprise, philosophy or history. Other in style majors for pre-law students include history, enterprise, philosophy, English, political science and liberal arts. Since there aren’t any particular «pre-law» degrees, you should seek out coursework such as worldwide law, cyber law, public speaking, argumentation theory, communications and any others associated to the study of law.

Law school admission is highly competitive so that you wish to maintain a high grade level common (GPA) throughout your undergraduate years. Law school admissions groups might want candidates with related work expertise so seek out an law firm internship before you graduate.

2. Apply to law school

Through the remaining years of your undergraduate program, you should take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Your rating is a key part whenever you apply for law school. It’s possible you’ll take the LSAT a number of instances to get a higher score.

Law schools may also require a personal assertion in your application. This is a short essay the place you explain why you need to attend law school and why you are a qualified candidate.

You may also be required to incorporate a letter of recommendation. Ask a highly respected community member, akin to a professor or earlier employer, to write your letter of recommendation. The admissions crew can also wish to meet with you in person to additional focus on your background and application.

3. Attend law school

It typically takes three years to earn a JD degree. The primary half of the program focuses on authorized writing, civil procedures, constitutional law and property law. In the second half, you will choose a specialization. As an aspiring chief authorized officer, it’s best to deal with corporate law. Along with courses on the whole law topics, you may research mental property law, corporate finance, enterprise law, real estate law, employment law and other subjects associated to practicing law in a enterprise setting.

4. Pass the bar exam

Law school graduates need a state license and admission to the American Bar Affiliation to follow law. It’s essential to take a licensing or «bar» examination on federal, criminal, constitutional and multistate law, a written essay section and an ethics test. Necessities fluctuate by state and jurisdiction however the bar exam is similar for all lawyers irrespective of their specialization. You will take the bar exam in the state the place you wish to practice. Be prepared to pass a background check to be admitted to the bar.

5. Achieve work experience

Many chief legal officers start as training attorneys and work their way up by way of inner promotions or applying to higher level positions within their industry. They may have a background as a law firm partner, head of authorized or first normal counselor.

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