How to Best Position Yourself for the Top Legal Job

Making the move from deputy general counsel to general counsel is a huge and difficult leap due to limited positions amidst a crowded competitive field of potential candidates from both within the company and outside the company. Christopher Williams, director of in-house counsel recruiting and board services teams at Major, Lindsey & Africa, advises aspiring general counsel on how to best position themselves for the top job with the following:

Be a team player.

-Demonstrate that you are invested in your team and the organization. Form as many strong relationships in the business as this can also help as you all naturally matriculate up the organizational chain.

-Keep your eye on the changing legal landscape, especially in highly regulated industries.

-Try not to become overly specialized and expand across as many business functions as possible. Volunteer to help with challenging problems outside your expertise.

-Manage your direct reports within the company’s framework, but also showcase your leadership skills and judgment.

Step up to the plate.

-Make it known that you want to learn and do more, do not entirely rely on your manager to identify opportunities for you.

-Be deeply proactive in your protection of the organization, volunteer to work on any gaps in legal coverage in the organization.

-Form business contacts by acting as the liaison between legal and compliance for internal investigations or compliance matters. 

Are you interested in more advice about advancing in your career as in-house counsel?  Read more in this article.

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