• February 2020
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Startup Law: What do CEO’s Believe Are Must-Have Attributes in a General Counsel?

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One of the most important assets a startup can have is an excellent general counsel. Whether a startup decides to employ an individual in-house or to outsource general counsel services to a capable agency that employs experienced attorneys, maintaining access to informed and relevant legal guidance is a must for every startup.

But what should a startup CEO look for when hiring an in-house counsel and/or outsourcing general counsel services? The answer to this question is complex and somewhat relative. For while there are “must-have” attributes for every serious general counsel, startups in different industries may benefit from specific kinds of expertise. As a result, it is important to carefully consider your company’s unique position and needs before hiring a general counsel or outsourcing legal services to an outside firm or agency.


General Counsels: A Few Must-Have Qualities

Because general counsels are tasked with such a wide range of responsibilities, it is important to seek out an individual who has a strong educational background. Although it is not necessary to hire someone from a “name brand” law school, it is critical that a candidate have genuinely invested in his or her education. Law school teaches future attorneys not only about specific areas of law but also how to read, write, research and think like attorneys. If an individual was committed to his or her law school experience, that dedication will provide a solid foundation for any responsibilities you need attended to in regards to your company.

Because general counsels often need to assume management positions in various capacities, an ideal candidate will demonstrate strong leadership skills and will be a sincerely responsible individual. In addition, the cross-function and managerial responsibilities of a general counsel necessitate that a candidate be articulate, a strong communicator and a “big picture” critical thinker.


One “Size” General Counsel Does Not Fit Every Company

Depending on your startup’s unique mission, you may benefit from hiring a general counsel with certain kinds of experience and/or expertise. For example, tech startups may benefit from younger voices because younger individuals may better understand how the newest technological advances are impacting clients/customers of any age. Similarly, startups with a broad international scope may benefit from hiring a general counsel well-versed in compliance law. Any time your startup and/or your industry has unique legal needs, your general counsel will need to be capable of rising to that challenge.


Recruitment and General Counsel Services Are Available

If your company is either looking to hire an in-house general counsel or outsource necessary general counsel services, please consider connecting with us. LawTrades Apex is the answer to how in-house counsels scale their legal operations. Fill your open legal positions with direct access to pre-vetted attorneys and paralegals available for hire. Whether you are looking to hire a “perfect fit” candidate for an in-house position or would benefit from our general counsel services, we’re here to help.