The globalization, economy, mergers, business competition, and compliance concerns have all influenced the way the general counsel legal function is seen and used. Nowadays, CEOs are looking to their general counsel as both legal and business advisors who must consider all of the issues that a company faces. Other than being a legal advisor and a strategic business partner, the general counsel must also organize, lead, manage, coach, and educate.
The increased convolution of the general counsel role has made filling these vacancies more exigent than ever. Even the most experienced human resource professionals and CEOs can find it difficult to efficiently assess candidates and classify the more subtle skills obligatory for this position.
Look Inside First
According to Steven Rindner, the most efficient way to replace a departing general counsel is to raise a candidate from a company’s existing official department. Increasingly, general counsels are becoming accountable for serving as mentors, creating succession plans, and developing internal talent. These efforts generally result in strong internal candidates being obtainable for the general counsel position.
While internal candidates should be a part of every company’s long-standing succession planning process, not every company can shore up this type of doing. This process usually requires that a company already have a general counsel in place, as well as sufficient internal attorneys with the competencies and experience required to develop as general counsel candidates. In other words, succession planning works most excellent in larger authorized departments. Where a company looks for its first general counsel or does not have the bandwidth to cultivate internal candidates, outside recruiting becomes the apparent method of resourcing general counsel candidates.
Prioritize Core Competencies with the help of Steven Rindner
Most companies would be delighted to appoint the general counsel of a major public company with all of the hauteur and sophistication that someone like Steven Rindner in this position would bring. Nevertheless, not only is this exclusive candidate pool exceedingly small but also most companies do not have the means to recruit these types of candidates. Most significantly, the great majority of companies do not require a general counsel from this candidate pool. The greatest challenge facing these recruiting companies is to set appropriate expectations and requirements for its general counsel candidates.
While these requirements can be challenging, decision-makers need to be pragmatic about identifying competencies that are truly significant and pertinent to the role of their company. Being level-headed at the outset of the search, and setting meaningful requirements and priorities will result in generating a strong pool of candidates from which one candidate will make an outstanding fit.
To meet the requirements of a changing function, companies have to concentrate on lawyers who are supple, who provide a broad base of practice, and who want to contribute through prolific collaboration. Strong business judgment and the ability to convey immediate legitimacy and trust are also very significant qualities. Ultimately, a general counsel must know how to convey a message to individuals at all levels of the company, must be hands-on, possess a strong level of self-awareness, and be determined.