en

Services

We understand that no two organisations are the same. Find out more about how we've customised our recruitment offerings to help companies in Hong Kong meet their needs.

Read more
Jobs

Let our industry specialists listen to your aspirations and present your story to the organisations in Hong Kong that fit you the best as we collaborate to write the next chapter of your successful career.

See all jobs
Candidates

Together, we’ll map out career-defining, life-changing pathways to achieve your career ambitions. Browse our range of services, advice, and resources.

Learn more
Services

We understand that no two organisations are the same. Find out more about how we've customised our recruitment offerings to help companies in Hong Kong meet their needs.

Read more
About Robert Walters Hong Kong

Since our establishment in 1997, our belief remains the same: Building strong relationships with people is vital in a successful partnership.

Learn more

Work for us

Our people are the difference. Hear stories from our people to learn more about a career at Robert Walters Hong Kong

Learn more

A day in the life of a general counsel

A general counsel, sometimes called GC, chief legal officer, or corporate counsel, is a company’s main attorney and primary source of legal advice..

The GC typically reports directly to the CEO, because his or her opinions are integral to business decisions. The Bar Association of San Francisco reports that about 70% of general counsels focus on corporate transactional work, while 28% handle compliance, and 21% are charged with board relations.

Depending on the role, the general counsel job can encompass many areas of the law-antitrust, patent, trademark protection, merger and acquisition activity, labor and employment law. 

The GC’s day-to-day job can touch on all areas of a company, handling legal issues for every department and making sure all marketing communications are above the board. He can be charged with handling legal crises, compliance issues, public policy advocacy, labour law, tax work, issues around intellectual property, and more. This breath of responsibility underscores the “general” in general counsel.

“As regulations change and the threat of litigation rises, the importance of lawyers has never been greater,” says Alice Thomson, recruitment consultant in the legal division at Robert Walters New York.

The quintessential personality of a General Counsel

General counsel positions are highly sought-after and involve a lot of responsibility, so those with the right mix of attributes generally land the best positions first. These personality traits include:

  • Sound judgment and the ability to evaluate options fairly
  • Leadership and a visionary quality
  • Absolute integrity
  • The ability to think intuitively and from learned experience
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Broad legal subject matter expertise

 

A major aspect of the general counsel’s job is to keep on top of laws that might affect the organization and industry. He is also often charged with staying abreast of all company matters, which means attending board meetings and committee meetings.

"The general counsel, not the senior partner in the law firm, is now often the go-to counselor for the CEO and the board on law, ethics, public policy, corporate citizenship, and country and geopolitical risk," says Alice.

The daily to-do's of a General Counsel

General counsels often start their days rather early in order to communicate with international offices. They stay busy meeting with colleagues on a wide range of matters, responding to emails from business units, and imparting advice on various legal issues. And when they have spare time, they conduct research in order to stay up-to-date on industry news, policies, and legislature which could affect the company.

Here are some of the types of things a general counsel may touch on in his daily job:

  • Legal requests from various departments
  • Managing leasing agreements
  • Due diligence of acquisitions and mergers
  • Legal compliance matters
  • Status reports on cases
  • Research and analysis into proposed laws and regulations

 

Throughout the day, almost everything the general counsel touches affects the overall business, although priorities can shift from day-to-day, and the role can involve some degree of travel, depending on the company.

Now considered a core member of the top management team, the general counsel is an important leader in any company. View our latest legal jobs here.

Share this article

Useful Links

Sign up for job alerts
Salary survey
Career advice
Get in touch

Find out more by contacting one of our specialist recruitment consultants

Related content

View All

Five tips to become a Partner by 35

Despite being more afflicted by economic and political uncertainty over the last decade, partnership at a law firm is still very much an attainable goal for millennial legal professionals wanting to forge a long and illustrious career in the sector. Are you a hard-working aspirational lawyer looking

Read More

Developing and managing your legal career

Today's work environment is challenging and pressure for increased productivity has never been greater for legal professionals. In these challenging times, development and career planning is essential to help you enjoy a rewarding and satisfying working life. While most firms recognise the value of

Read More

Becoming a corporate lawyer

If you are interested in business and finance, and would rather not face a jury on a regular basis, then corporate law may just be the path for you. What does a corporate lawyer do? Corporate lawyers offer businesses advice on a host of issues. Their role is to advise a corporation of its legal righ

Read More

I'm Robert Walters, Are you?

Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.