Corporate organizations require experienced guidance to operate in a global economy. And this is where the need for an in-house legal team comes into play.
As a law student, you may be – for whatever reason – coined as a legal geek. But, this entire conversation is rendered moot without one key piece of advice:
Your contribution to an organization is what keeps them going!
Typically, an in-house legal team is responsible for:
- Advising corporations about the law to follow compliance
- Supervise activities to ensure operational stability
- Aid in corporate legal matters
- Identify risks and solutions to cater to the company vision
- Implementing internal policies
- Oversee budgetary strategies for law compliance
This list, however, is not a standard norm or exhaustive in itself. As a deputy general counsel for Corporation X, you shoulder the responsibilities of running its structure.
It’s imperative to invest your time, money, and resources to capitalize on some managerial skills to strengthen your game.
Here’s presenting the top 5 management skills that you should acquire today to lead a strong legal team tomorrow:
- Strong Business, Financial, And Law Acumen
These conceptual skills, by all means, are the most important and basic requirement to function as a successful in-house counsel.
Yes, the courses at the university educate you with the industry fundamentals, but this is just the start.
It’s important to learn to apply these concepts to corporate use and realize that corporate law is dynamic and demanding.
If you don’t recollect a concept and fail to apply it at the right time, you lose the ball in your court. But how do you apply yourself?
Take real-life case studies. Set a deadline. Study them. Prepare your pitch. Then, compare your result to the original outcome to verify your understanding and build on the missing gaps.
The best part? You can do this individually and therefore are one step ahead of your peers to land that dream job!
- Communication Skills
As a lawyer, your job is to communicate information, both verbally and in writing. While it’s impressive to have a strong command of technical jargon, it’s equally important to express them in the right context and style.
Say you’re a deputy chief compliance officer for a corporation.
Your ideal responsibility necessitates you to formulate plans, prepare detailed reports, and communicate with your team to get the research and other operational work done.
Now how do you insure yourself against the trouble of regular follow-ups and similar redundant measures? The answer is communication!
If you want every stakeholder in your corporation to see problems and solutions from the same angle as you, communication is the key. This flies both ways: communication helps you see other perspectives, too.
To develop this skillset:
- Lead university projects.
- Be active in classroom discussions.
- Break down the chain of complex information to their simpler lego blocks and explain them to a layperson.
Nobody can ‘teach’ you to communicate. Push yourself to uncomfortable situations that test your communication skills. Trust us; this will help you become a better corporate law genius!
- Decision-Making Ability
As the leader, you’re obligated to make multiple decisions that have lasting financial impacts on the organization. Naturally, you’re bound with stress and anxiety.
So how do you deal with this challenge? We’d strongly recommend starting early.
Say you’re currently specializing in corporate law. Your assignments and projects will require a significant investment of time and effort on your end, along with making decisions, of course.
Don’t hesitate with your choice. Be rational. Study company expectations, map them to available resources, and build a strategy.
Sometimes your decision will work in your favor. Sometimes it won’t.
This is where it’s important to acknowledge accountability for your actions. Since you’re a leader, your company will either recommend you for the promotion or chide you with remarks for actions done by your team.
- Time-Management Skills
As with any leader, your professional plate is always going to be full of tasks. This is where your management skill will be put to the test.
While this sounds like an evident solution, it’s easier said than done.
Delegation requires patience, analysis, and trust. Simply because your team represents you at the firm, their mistake can cost you, or their diligence can reward you.
The purpose of delegation is to get work done efficiently and in a limited time. This is where your analysis and decision-making skills will come at handy.
Now how do you build on this? Start today.
Universities bear no mercy on students with assignments, projects, and exams. Start testing yourself. See how well you perform under pressure. These activities will help you emerge a stronger leader tomorrow.
- Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
While EQ doesn’t constitute a management skill per se, it’s important to incorporate it as a counsel leader.
In a fast-paced, stressful, and explosive work environment, you may be able to get the job done from your subordinates and transform the good ol’ corporation into one of the best in its domain.
And while obliterating expectations is encouraged in the legal world, you cannot emerge as a thriving leader merely with this strategy alone.
To bridge this gap, it’s necessary to evoke empathy and a positive attitude with your team for them to build confidence and trust in you.
Talk to them. Take their opinions. Consider their situations, if any. Striking relationships this way motivates your team to go one step further and work more than they’re required to.
Ultimately, this is what any leader would want, right? And with legal constituting a technical field, the pressure to outperform rules all law professionals with an iron fist.
A little ease will help you go a long way with your team, which would reflect well on performance metrics!
A legal team is one of the highly respected departments in an organization. Right from the board members and senior executives to junior executives and interns, they have their hands in every kind of pie.
If you’re eyeing the position of deputy chief compliance officer, remember:
With great titles come great responsibilities; great responsibilities entail greater incentives.
To avail them is no cakewalk. But a strong command of these management skills tilts the leverage in your favor.