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Job Descriptions

Chief Compliance Officer Job Description: Roles and Responsibilities

The chief compliance officer is a vital component of a business team. They act as regulators to ensure that their company stays on the right side of the law. However, that’s oversimplifying an otherwise complicated role, as the chief compliance officer job description includes a lot.

If you’re a legal professional exploring career options or an employer seeking competent profiles to fill this role, keep reading. 

In this article, we’ll break down the chief compliance officer job description. Additionally, we’ll share what it takes to be a great CCO (or what to look for when evaluating candidates).

Let’s get started.

Who is a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)?

A chief compliance officer (CCO) – sometimes also referred to as a compliance manager – is a senior-level executive who is responsible for ensuring that the organization complies with all of the applicable laws by creating, implementing, and monitoring policies, regulations, and support systems.

The chief compliance officer oversees all corporate compliance activities in the organization. In doing so, they prevent their employer from facing legal charges, hefty monetary damages, and embarrassment for failing to follow the law.

In almost every organization, the chief compliance officer reports directly to the chief executive officer. 

Despite being a crucial part of the senior management, there are many companies in the United States that don’t have designated chief compliance officers (according to Deloitte, 1 in every 5 organizations don’t have CCOs). 

In a company with a small compliance department, the general counsel may assume the responsibilities of the CCO, ensuring legal and regulatory compliance.

Breaking Down the Chief Compliance Officer Job Description

When hiring for the role of chief compliance officer, it’s absolutely crucial that you set clear expectations right off the bat to attract the most competent candidates.

The only way to do that is to create a super-detailed chief compliance officer job description.

Here’s a template of a job brief that you can customize to your liking and use to create job postings:

“We are currently seeking a competent profile with extensive experience in corporate compliance to join our team as its Chief Compliance Officer. As the CCO, you will be responsible for evaluating compliance risks, managing the company’s corporate compliance program, and reporting on compliance issues. 

You will work closely with the senior management to create policies, procedures, and protocols, ensuring that they’re in-line with the law and latest regulatory requirements.

The ideal candidate must have a minimum of 3-5 years of experience in corporate compliance, should hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, and have sound knowledge of the financial/healthcare/whatever applies industry.

Furthermore, the candidate must have strong leadership, sound judgment, and solid communication skills. 

If you’re interested in this role, apply with your latest resume and a cover letter explaining why you’re the perfect candidate.”

Typical Roles and Responsibilities of a Chief Compliance Officer

The exact roles and responsibilities of a chief compliance officer may vary from company to company.

In some organizations, the CCO collaborates with the general counsel. In others, all the compliance efforts are overseen by the CCO alone.

Whatever the case, here’s what a typical chief compliance officer is responsible for:

 

  • Creating and Implementing Internal Policies and Regulations for Compliance

 

In all companies, the primary responsibility of a chief compliance officer is to ensure compliance – we’ve established that.

However, in order to do that, they need to do a lot more than keep a pulse on the legal landscape and keeping the board of directors informed of the compliance requirements.

They work closely with the senior management to create clear company policies which promote actions and behavior that comply with the law.

How do they do that? By conducting in-depth risk assessments, legal research, and consistently keeping an eye out for any changes in statutes and regulations.

The internal policies are then streamlined, communicated, and implemented throughout the company.

 

  • Managing Compliance Training

 

Ensuring compliance throughout the organization is challenging.

It takes a lot more than just to communicate the company policies to make sure everyone sticks with the law.

To set a culture of compliance, and get both new and existing employees up-to-speed with the statutes, policies, and regulations, the chief compliance officer collaborates with the human resources team to set up a comprehensive compliance training program.

Like everything else, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating such a program. Training is typically designed around the following common risk areas:

  • Workplace harassment 
  • Corruption
  • Intimidation
  • Environment safety
  • Equal employment

In most companies, the CCO has complete authority over the designing, implementation, and monitoring of the program.

 

  • Closely Monitoring and Reporting on the Corporate Compliance Program

 

Everything that we’ve discussed so far – the policies, regulations, and training – comes under the broad umbrella of corporate compliance programs.

Usually, “creating/managing compliance programs” is listed as a separate task in a typical chief compliance officer job description.

After implementing everything, the chief compliance officer closely monitors their compliance program. 

However, that’s easier said than done.

This involves conducting rigorous internal audits, performing compliance reviews, and selecting the right metrics to see if the organization is on its way to achieving its goals.

On top of everything mentioned above, the CCO also keeps the senior management in the loop by reporting to them. 

 

  • Addressing Compliance Issues

 

As the regulator of the organization, the chief compliance officer is also responsible for addressing non-compliance within the organization.

They may not always have the authority to take direct action against a blatant violation of corporate compliance policies, and therefore possibly the law, they do have to come up with the appropriate steps, including escalation and remediation.

 

  • Reviewing and Revising Compliance Programs

 

A chief compliance officer’s work is never really finished.

With the legal and political landscapes uncertain, statutes and regulations tend to change from time to time. At times, those changes may not seem that significant, but could have huge implications for certain organizations.

The chief compliance officer, therefore, ensures that their compliance programs are up-to-date with the latest law, and tweaks them if necessary.

Additionally, the CCO also revises the compliance program if it’s not effective. 

What Makes a Great Chief Compliance Officer?

Creating a solid chief compliance officer job description will help you garner the attention of the right profiles.

However, it won’t guarantee that you’ll hire the perfect person for the job.

To ensure that your future-CCO is well-qualified, equipped, and passionate to oversee compliance in your organization, make sure that they hit the right boxes.

These include:

Academic Requirements

As mentioned earlier, the chief compliance officer is a senior-level role.

Like all senior management positions, the candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree in law, finance, business administration, or any other relevant field.

Having a master’s degree isn’t usually a prerequisite but is considered a huge plus. 

Professional Experience

In addition to basic academic qualifications, the ideal candidate must also have ample experience.

While there’s no universal number that all employers agree upon, 5 to 10 years of experience in corporate law is a good range to aim for.

Required Skills

The perfect candidate should be well-versed in the following:

  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Problem-solving skills

Make sure that you screen your candidates for the aforementioned soft skills.

How Much Do Chief Compliance Officers Earn?

In the United States, chief compliance officers are well-compensated for the extremely valuable legal and business expertise they bring to the table.

Of course, the exact salary figures vary from state to state (and industry to industry). Here are 3 estimates procured from renowned platforms:

  • Glassdoor – according to 170 salary reports gathered on Glassdoor, a chief compliance officer, on average, can earn around $149,943 per year in the US. The website doesn’t have any data on additional compensation.
  • PayScale – as per the salary reports mentioned on PayScale, a CCO can earn $119,815 per year. Additional compensation, on average, is $19,576 for bonuses and $8,500 in profit-sharing, bringing the total compensation to $147,891.
  • Salary.com – finally, as per the data collected on Salary.com, chief compliance officers on average earn $237,401, which is significantly higher than the other two sources.

When creating a compensation package, factor all variables, including the geographical location and industry.

Ending Note

You need to pay extra care when hiring someone to oversee the corporate compliance function in your organization.

A bad hire can potentially cost you millions in lawsuits. 

By carefully understanding what the role entails, creating an airtight job description, and placing a strong screening process, you’ll eventually come across that ideal candidate.

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Culture Job Descriptions

General Counsel Job Description: Roles and Responsibilities

Budget cuts and administrative hurdles aside, there are hundreds of local, general, and international laws that corporations and government departments need to be aware of. The general counsel role mainly exists to help organizations understand those laws and steer clear of legal issues. However, the general counsel job description entails a lot more than that.

If you’re an employer in search of someone capable to lead your company’s legal department, or an aspiring candidate whose goal is to become a GC, keep reading. 

In this guide, we’ll provide a detailed general counsel job description template, the average general counsel salary, and the roadmap of landing this role (or what to look for in a candidate, if that’s your goal).

Let’s jump right in.

Who is a General Counsel?

A general counsel – also known as a chief legal officer (CLO) and sometimes corporate counsel – is the chief lawyer of an organization. They are seasoned attorneys who are usually hired as full-time or contractual employees by organizations to provide expert legal counsel to the senior management, handle all legal matters of the organization, and also lead the legal department (office of general counsel). 

In a typical hierarchy, they report directly to the chief executive officer of the company. 

Due to the nature of their operations, banks, insurance companies, academic institutions, oil/power companies, and government departments usually need general counsel to guide their corporate governance.

In the United States, a few decades ago, general counsels only handled administrative work related to legal matters. However, over the years, the job title evolved, and today, they provide 360-degree legal services to their employers.

A general counsel doesn’t have to be an employee of the organization. They can also serve organizations as external attorneys, in which case, they’re referred to as “outside counsel.”

What’s the Purpose of Having a General Counsel?

We now have a rough idea of the general counsel job description.

But what exactly is the purpose of hiring an attorney?

Generally speaking, a general counsel can help with the following:

  • Compliance with the Law – depending on your nature of business, industry, and location, there could be hundreds of laws applicable to your organization. A general counsel can help you understand, adapt, and adhere to those laws. 
  • Risk Mitigation – even if you comply with all the laws, businesses are always at risk of getting slapped with lawsuits, some of which can threaten their very existence. A great general counsel will consider these risks, create strategies to mitigate them, and step up to provide legal representation when needed.
  • Business Performance – last but not least, considering the above, a general counsel can have a direct lasting impact on the long-term business performance.

All in all, having an attorney on your team can go a long way in protecting you from legal landmines.

General Counsel Job Description

With the basics out of the way, let’s dive into the specifics of a typical general counsel job description. 

The information that we’re about to share has been finalized after analyzing general counsel JDs on various online job boards. Your organization’s requirements may vary.

Job Brief [Template]

If you’re an employer, you can use the following general counsel job description template, adjust it (if necessary), and share it away on different platforms:

“We are looking for a competent attorney to join our organization as a General Counsel on full-time/part-time basis. The ideal candidate must have over 4 years of experience in a law firm, and have ample experience in corporate compliance

You should have a knack for leadership, are proactive, think long-term, and have sound business knowledge. As our company’s general counsel, you’ll be responsible for furnishing expert legal advice to the upper-management, drafting and reviewing contracts, providing legal representation, liaising with the outside counsel, and leading the in-house legal team.

From time to time, you will also be responsible for negotiating and overseeing large business deals, including mergers and acquisitions. Furthermore, you’ll also oversee corporate governance to ensure legal compliance.

If you’re up for the challenge, apply with your up-to-date resume and a cover letter explaining why you’re the perfect fit for this role.”

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

The actual duties and responsibilities of a general counsel will vary from industry to industry.

However, it is still possible to generalize the job description to some extent. Here’s what a GC usually does:

Provide Legal Advice to the Senior Management

As mentioned above, depending on what the organization does and where it’s from, there could be hundreds of statutes and regulations that could dictate how it operates.

There’s only so much that the board of directors can remember. A general counsel is therefore responsible for helping them adhere to the laws, reminding them of their legal rights, and conducting legal research on behalf of the organization.

They have to work closely with the heads of departments, including, but not limited to, human resources, engineering, design, procurement, marketing, sales, and finance.

In short, whenever the company needs legal advice, they turn towards the general counsel.

Provide Legal Representation to the Organization When Required

Another thing that a general counsel is usually responsible for is providing legal protection. 

Depending on the type of organization, they’ll protect the intellectual property, advise management on adhering to various safety, environmental, and copyright laws, and provide legal representation if and when an entity files a lawsuit against the company/department.

Ensure Compliance with Corporate Governance Law

Corporate governance refers to the systems, rules/policies, and structures by which a company operates and governs itself. All of this is mainly controlled and influenced by the company’s board of directors.

There are certain laws in place that ensure corporations operate in ways that aren’t detrimental to the environment, safety of their employees, and privacy of their customers. Furthermore, there are certain laws that prevent fraud, bribery, and tax evasion. 

Some laws vary from state to state. To ensure that the corporation complies with all of the applicable laws, the general counsel works with the board of directors to devise legal strategies and compliance programs. 

Manage Risk

Risk management is a crucial part of a general counsel’s job. 

Running a corporation, agency, or some other government department isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

At all times, you’re exposed to innumerable legal risks. To ensure that you navigate around these legal landmines, and create game plans for when you walk into one, the general counsel is needed.

Oversee Business Transactions and Contractor Agreements

There are certain business transactions and contractor agreements that warrant the involvement of the company’s attorney.

Examples include acquisition of real-estate, merger of companies, purchasing rights to a certain technology or intellectual property, etc.

The general counsel ensures that the transaction/deal is in compliance with the law, prepares legal documents, and negotiates better terms on behalf of their employer.

Lead the Office of General Counsel/In-House Department

Finally, if the organization has a formal office of general counsel/in-house legal team, the general counsel is considered the department head.

They’re responsible for interviewing and hiring candidates, setting expectations, allocating resources, and conducting performance reviews.

Furthermore, when needed, the GC also liaises with the outside counsel for their legal services.

Requirements for Becoming General Counsel [The Roadmap]

Creating a comprehensive general counsel job description is just one part of the challenge. The other part is ensuring that you hire the right person for the job.

Below, we’ve shared the credentials, experience, and skills found in every successful candidate.

Academic Requirement

This is a prerequisite. The candidate applying for the GC role must have 4 years of college education, along with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an American Bar Association accredited law school (which is a 3-year degree).

Furthermore, the candidate must pass the state bar exam.

Legal Experience

This may vary from employer to employer, but candidates are usually required to have at least 4 years of experience at a law firm.

Skills Needed

Lastly, a great general counsel needs to have strong analytical and interpersonal skills. These include:

  • Leadership – a general counsel needs to have a charismatic persona, should have high emotional intelligence (EQ), and just be generally convincing.
  • Communication Skills – they have to work closely with various departments, communicate the law, and set expectations. Therefore, strong written and verbal communications skills are must.
  • Critical Thinking – a general counsel needs to be good at decision making. And to do that, they should be able to think with a clear head. 

Additionally, the general counsel must have great management skills, including time management, compliance planning, and delegation.

Final Thoughts

All things considered, a general counsel is a pretty serious position, which, if not filled by the right profile, could be devastating for the employer.

When creating the general counsel job description, make sure to communicate your expectations clearly, look for attorneys with great track records, and run extensive background checks before you hire anyone.

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Career Path Job Descriptions

What Does an Assistant General Counsel Do?

In the United States, a lot of corporations and all government departments have in-house legal teams to provide advice, handle lawsuits, negotiate deals, and more. While the exact job titles may vary, these legal departments can have different positions, one of which is that of the assistant general counsel.

But what is the assistant general counsel responsible for?

Whether you’re a legal professional exploring jobs and researching assistant general counsel jobs, or a recruiter that’s in search of job description templates, keep reading.

In this post, we’ll discuss, in great depth, what a typical assistant general counsel does, provide a ready-to-use job description template, and share some average general council salary figures from different credible sources.

Let’s get started. 

Who is an Assistant General Counsel?

Assistant general counsel is considered a mid-level position in a legal department. They are attorneys who, together with the rest of the corporate counsel team, provide legal support to their organization (usually as full-time employees).

An assistant general counsel is mainly responsible for ensuring compliance with the law, litigation, handling legal paperwork, and providing advice on legal and regulatory issues, among other things.

Different companies have different definitions for this job title. For instance, in some companies, the assistant general counsel reports to the associate general counsel, whereas in some companies, it’s the other way around. However, in every company, the assistant general counsel is above paralegals and other entry level positions.

They may also report directly to the deputy general counsel or the chief general counsel, depending on the organization’s hierarchy.

Why an Assistant General Counsel is Needed

Not all organizations have assistant general counsels. Some companies have one-person legal departments, while a few don’t even see the need to have a formal in-house team (and only rely on outside counsel).

However, certain organizations, with a high need for legal support, require additional manpower for optimal performance, and therefore hire assistant general counsels. They help:

 

  • Assist General Counsel – the general counsel already has a lot on their plate. They can trust the assistant general counsel to take some load off their shoulders.
  • Deliver Legal Support – assistant general counsels are experienced attorneys. The upper management turns towards them to seek expert legal advice.
  • Improve Performance – lastly, assistant general counsels can have a direct impact on the business bottom line by ensuring compliance, improving the productivity of the office of general counsel, and mitigating legal risk. 

 

All things considered, finding the right person for the job can add significant value to the entire organization.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities of an Assistant General Counsel

At first glance, the general counsel job description is very similar to that of an assistant general counsel.

The only difference is in terms of the decision-making power – the general counsel/chief legal officer can directly influence the legal strategy, leads the entire team, and communicates with other department heads. However, when it comes to the core legal support, both the GC and the assistant GC have more or less the same jobs.

Again, this may vary from organization to organization.

With that out of the way, the assistant general counsel is responsible for:

 

  • Furnishing Legal Advice

 

This is the core responsibility of all mid and top-level attorneys in any in-house legal team.

Whenever the management of the organization requires legal advice on any matter (say, a game-changing strategic decision), they’ll turn towards the assistant general counsel.

In most cases, the assistant GC conducts legal research for the main GC at the top, draws up conclusions, and presents their finding to the board of directors.

Whatever the case, the end-goal is to ensure that the organization complies with different laws (such as the equal opportunity act, privacy act, etc.).

 

  • Providing Legal Representation

 

The purpose of having in-house counsel isn’t to just receive legal advice and ensure compliance. The in-house team is also expected to provide legal representation whenever needed (such as when someone files for a lawsuit or the intellectual property of the company is at stake).

Furthermore, they’re responsible for educating the employees of their organization about their legal rights, assisting them with any paperwork they need, and seeking compensation from external parties whenever needed.

While lawsuits are mostly handled by the general counsel, the assistant general counsel may be asked to step in as well. 

 

  • Engaging in Risk Management

 

Corporations and government agencies are constantly under various legal threats.

One misstep could land them in the court. The legal teams therefore take certain measures to mitigate those legal risks – a process known as risk management.

The assistant general counsel is responsible for assessing potential risks, creating strategies to avoid them, and devising corporate compliance plans for every conceivable outcome. 

 

  • Assisting the CLO with Their Tasks

 

As mentioned above, the assistant general counsel works under a chief legal officer/chief legal counsel/general counsel. 

They assist them with their day-to-day tasks, conduct research (if paralegals aren’t available), and help them create and execute legal strategies.

They also assist CLOs in preparing for lawsuits.

 

  • Overseeing and Negotiating Business Contracts

 

Every once in a while, major corporations and government agencies undergo large-scale business deals/transactions that can decide their future.

These could include the acquisition of new real-estate, procurement of certain machinery or raw material, or merger of companies, among other things.

In a typical organization, the assistant general counsel is responsible for overseeing such transactions, negotiating better deals, and drafting contracts.

 

  • Advising on Corporate Governance

 

Large businesses and government departments can have significant impacts on the environment, the economy, and strategic relations with other countries.

There are certain laws to keep them in line.

These organizations have to conduct their business in ways that comply with those laws. The systems, regulations, and structures that define all of this comes under the umbrella of corporate governance.

The assistant general counsel, together with the general counsel, oversees the corporate governance to ensure the organization doesn’t break any law.

 

  • Liaising with Outside Counsel

 

At times, the in-house general counsel isn’t able to handle all of the legal work for their organization (or don’t have the expertise to deal with unusual circumstances). In such a case, help from outside counsel is needed. 

The assistant general counsel liaises with the external counsel, provides support, and collaborates to create legal strategies.

Assistant General Counsel Job Description Template

All things considered, there’s a lot that an assistant general counsel has to deal with. 

It’s absolutely crucial that you hire the right person for the job. You can tweak the following JD template however you like and use it to create job postings on different platforms:

“We are looking for an attorney with 4+ years of experience at a reputable law firm, with experience in corporate law, to join our organization’s legal department as the Assistant General Counsel. 

As the Assistant General Counsel, you will work under the senior counsel to provide expert legal and regulatory advice to the management, assess legal risks, conduct extensive research, and ensure compliance with the law. 

The ideal candidate must have strong interpersonal skills and should be able to play well with their team members.

You will be responsible for:

  • Furnishing legal advice and educating employees about their legal rights
  • Overseeing business transactions, contracts, and agreements
  • Creating strategies to deal with risks 
  • Providing legal representation to the organization and its employees
  • Work closely with the general counsel to provide assistance with legal matters

Furthermore, you’ll be expected to perform any additional duties whenever needed. If you’re interested, apply with your resume and a cover letter explaining why you’re a perfect fit for this role.”

Assistant General Counsel Salary

The salary packages of assistant general counsels vary from location to location, and from employer to employer.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of assistant general counsel is $152,564/year. As per the salary reports on PayScale, the average is $140,637. Meanwhile, Salary.com estimates the figure to be around $138,231.

As of now, one of the highest paying organizations for this role is Capital One Financial Corp, where an assistant general counsel can earn $183,000 per year.

As far as the locations are concerned, New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Dallas are some of the highest paying cities.

Ending Note

The assistant general counsel is a vital part of the legal department and serves as the right-hand of the chief legal officer.

Considering that, hiring the wrong profile for this critical role can turn out to be expensive for your organization. 

If you’re an employer, spend some time crafting the perfect job description, get your company’s general counsel involved (if you have one right now), and reach out to candidates from different online job portals.

If you’re a candidate, brush up on your knowledge about corporate law, find out what makes a candidate successful, and search for open positions in your state.

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Career Path Culture Job Descriptions

What Is General Counsel? Definition and Examples

With so much legal information becoming available in the public domain, maintaining corporate compliance has become somewhat easier. However, there’s still the issue of correct legal decision-making at the right time, aka the legal counsel role. That brings up the question of what is general counsel, and whether the general counsel position is of any real help to modern executive teams.

Every new and established company knows that the legal department is just as important (if not more) as risk management and successful business decisions. 

The legal expertise they lend to the compliance management team helps prevent failure to comply and other serious legal risks.

If you’re wondering what a general counsel resume should look like, keep reading. In this article, I’ll describe the role of general counsel, and give some examples of the legal services they provide to senior management at companies. 

Let’s get started.  

What is General Counsel? [An Overview]

Simply put, the general counsel is in-house lawyers that provide legal guidance to companies (in the United States) for better corporate governance. 

These professionals are usually at the head of the company’s law department.

Also called Chief Legal Officers (CLOs), they act as business partners and regulators towards the company leadership. 

Generally speaking, it is a high-profile position, with some counsel working directly with business leaders and senior stakeholders (vice presidents, CEOs, CFOs, etc.). 

General Counsel Roles and Responsibilities

Depending on the size and scope of the company, as well as the individual’s skill set, the general counsel could have a multitude of responsibilities. 

They could be the sole regulatory authority within the company, or they could have an assisting role in all legal matters. 

Whether the individual is in-house counsel or outside counsel, there are some responsibilities that all chief legal officers have to undertake.

These are:

  • Legal Advice: The general counsel is the primary source of advice pertaining to all decisions and processes involving regulations and legal decisions. Corporate counsel is often called upon to provide the best course of action against legal issues.
  • Legal Affairs Management: The company’s internal lawyers ensure that all company operations are in accordance with local, state, and federal laws. They also make sure that management upholds ethical and nondiscriminatory practices. 
  • Conducting Legal Research: The management needs to make certain decisions that involve thorough research into in-effect regulations and laws. The general counsel performs this research and devises the best solutions within the legal sphere.
  • Drafting and Filing Forms: Being the primary legal authority, the general counsel is responsible for analyzing, drafting, and filings all licensing forms and various statutory filings.
  • Intellectual Property Management: The general counsel is responsible for maintaining a record of all the intellectual property belonging to the company, as well as ensuring its safe and legal usage by licensed parties only. 
  • Examining/Drafting Agreements: The head legal officers are responsible for examining any and all agreement documents between the company and other entities. They also draft the majority of these agreements, after covering all legal bases and loopholes.
  • Ensuring Compliance: Being the head of the legal team, the general counsel ensures that the company operates in accordance with all the relevant laws and regulations pertaining to human resources, employment law, and various public policies. 

Additionally, all general counsel officers liaise with external legal resources on all legal work, including acquisitions, mergers, financial transactions, and operational expansion. 

What is General Counsel: Job Examples

The legal profession has experienced an onset of diversity around the world. Lawyers can now function in various capacities and law firms have begun to offers a diverse range of services.

The same is true for anyone working as general counsel for a company or firm of any size. 

Here are some professional examples of general counsel jobs. 

  1. In-House Chief Legal Officer

In-house legal department heads are responsible for overseeing all legal proceedings and functioning in a primary strategic capacity within the company when it comes to legal matters.

​Their individual responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Co-developing operational strategy with the senior management and board of directors.
  • ​Drafting all legal documents and paperwork.
  • Perform due diligence in all acquisition and expansion activities.
  • Maintain operational compliance as per all relevant laws and regulations.

Additionally, the general counsel handles all dealings with external legal counsel such as third-party litigation experts. 

  1. General HR and Legal Counsel

This branch of the legal counsel tree leans more towards the human resource aspect of company-wide jurisprudence. 

In an HR capacity, the general counsel is responsible for:

  • Managing the legal requirements of employee recruitment, onboarding, and dismissal.
  • Developing compensation policies along with HR leadership.
  • Providing technical training to HR staff on proper procedures.
  • Investigating ethical violations, conflicts of interest, fraud, etc.

Furthermore, the general counsel ensures that all employee-specific policies are developed as per the state and federal employment law. 

  1. Senior Regulatory Counsel

A large part of the general counsel’s job is maintaining regulatory compliance in all aspects of company operations. 

The regulatory counsel role expands this further and focuses on regulatory compliance, including tasks such as:

  • Implementing prevalent regulatory codes and practices.
  • Addressing the compliance requirements of specific regional and overseas territories.
  • Drafting and circulating operational codes throughout the company.
  • Monitoring all operations while keeping a record of any additional expansions.

In addition to this, regulatory counsel ensures that every new regulation is implemented in a timely manner throughout the company. 

  1. General Compliance Counsel

Similar to the regulatory counsel, the general counsel for compliance ensure complete adherence to current employment and operation laws.

Their individual responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Researching current applicable laws on companies and strategize ways to operate within them.
  • Maintaining detailed records of operational procedures, recruitment, etc.
  • Addressing legal concerns of federal and state regulatory bodies.
  • Drafting and negotiating administrative rules, licenses, and nonpossessory rights (easements).

Furthermore, senior compliance officers develop company policies pertaining to proper resource usage and disposal, as per the laws within their territory. 

  1. General Counsel – Senior VP

While the general counsel role is inherently leadership-oriented, some companies enable chief legal officers to hold the position of senior vice president, with a focus on legal policies. 

This means that they will serve as company leadership, while also helping develop business strategy and defining key objectives.

In this capacity, their responsibilities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Overseeing all major and minor acquisitions and strategic developments.
  • Addressing high-level disputes between company leadership on matters related to company direction. 
  • Working with stakeholders to align company vision with legal guidelines.
  • Assist the company in overcoming hurdles related to large-scale change or transition into a new business model.  

Generally speaking, these officers operate in a similar capacity to assistant vice presidents of other departments, only with the company’s legal interests being at the forefront of their responsibilities. 

It’s important to note that these jobs are most prevalent in the United States. Furthermore, all of these are recognized by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)

Becoming the Ideal General Counsel Officer

The chief legal officer is a role that’s associated with business law. 

Candidates looking to work as general counsel within a company must first take their bar exam and become bona fide legal professionals.

After that, they need at least 5 years of practical experience working in a corporate legal capacity (either as junior legal officers or assistant general counsel).

Once they have accumulated sufficient experience, candidates can apply for seniority within their host company, or apply for the position elsewhere.

Aside from the general qualifications, there are tons of accredited certifications that legal professionals can get, to better qualify for the position. 

These courses can not only broaden the candidate’s knowledge base, but they can prepare the individual for more specific job roles than any degree can. 

Final Thoughts

Becoming a member of the legal fraternity is much easier today due to the plethora of online certifications and courses you can take for extra knowledge.

This additional knowledge and expertise can help legal professionals not only get a job in corporate counsel but move up to the CLO position. 

In conclusion, it’ll be hugely beneficial for all legal officers to expand their professional horizons and instill as many diverse legal skills as they can for greater career success.

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Career Path Job Descriptions

What is a Chief Compliance Officer?

Holding a senior position within a ‘s corporate compliance department, such as the Chief Compliance Officer, can be hugely rewarding for management officers. Wondering what is a chief compliance officer and how they serve their host companies? Read on for a full breakdown. 

Corporate compliance is an important job and the CCO role has significant scope for legal and human resources professionals. 

It’s also a vital aspect of business administration, one that directly  compliance requirements and 

In this article, I’ll be explaining the role of the chief regulatory compliance and what it entails for modern companies. If you’re interested in learning via video, then watch the video below.

https://youtu.be/hiz941LiFAQ

Let’s get into it.

What is A Chief Compliance Officer? [Job Overview]

A chief compliance officer is someone who ensures that companies operate as per the laws, regulations, and guidelines set by the city and state they are in. 

Also called the Chief Risk Officers, they are directly responsible for addressing compliance issues within their host , and developing compliance programs to keep operations on the legal track. 

Some of their fundamental tasks include:

  • Coordinating with regulators and regulatory bodies for routine inspections
  • Researching all applicable laws in their territory
  • Implementing risk management measures
  • Performing -wide internal audits for compliance
  • Developing efficient risk assessment programs
  • Analyzing compliance risk before each new venture 
  • Providing compliance training to junior risk officers

Furthermore, senior compliance professionals oversee the development and renewal of all  policies to make sure they are up to code.

Chief Compliance Officer Responsibilities

As mentioned earlier, the chief compliance officer is in charge of ensuring lawful operation, recruitment, and expansion.

Their responsibilities primarily lie within the legal risk-management sphere and the majority of their career will be spent working in an administrative capacity. 

However, modern companies have to deal with an increasing of regulations. This calls for additional compliance activities, all of which fall on the CCO. 

are some of the primary responsibilities of a chief compliance officer in 2021.

  • Compliance Work Plans: Each needs a checklist of pointers that ensure a ‘s complete compliance with all prevalent regulatory requirements. The chief compliance officer collaborates with the board of directors, chief executive officer, senior management, etc. to develop such a plan with the host ‘s unique audit needs in mind. 
  • Coordination with Regulators: Government regulators need to coordinate with someone within the who understands regulatory compliance and can ascertain the ‘s compliance. The CCO coordinates with outside regulators on each new legal development and implements any required compliance functions as needed. 
  • Risk Program Oversight: The CCO is the main point person for all risk assessment and management tasks. More than that, they help plan all the risk-management programs, develop them in collaboration with the legal team, and then oversee their periodic implementation throughout the , while maintaining lines of communication between shareholders and users.
  • Compliance Training: Due to their seniority and understanding of the compliance framework within their territory, chief compliance officers create all training and development plans for incoming compliance officers. Additionally, they help train human resources personnel who are directly dealing with recruitment and dismissals.
  • Equipment and Process Assessment: Since regulatory compliance laws are applicable on all assets and operations, chief compliance officers are responsible for inspecting all equipment, machinery, and processes to check if they comply with current standards.

Additionally, CCOs are present during all strategic development sessions in order to assess and ascertain the compliance-related viability of each new measure. 

Required Skills for Chief Compliance Officers

Maintaining compliance involves observing, reporting, planning, and implementing, sometimes simultaneously. 

Any modern CCO working on either a full-time or freelance/consultancy basis needs to have some fundamental skills.

These are:

Knowledge of Regulatory Laws

Needless to say, the CCO has to always stay on top of all existing , state, and federal regulatory laws. They need to know what new operational or expansion venture would require regulatory inspection, as well as which new regulations will need to be implemented in the form of changes to the . 

Expertise in Compliance Policies

Knowing the compliance standards and policies for each applicable territory is necessary for CCOs. Even more important is being an expert in making procedures and operations comply with regulatory standards, as well as having practical experience of modern audit techniques.

Regulatory Experience

Industry experience is a major requirement for any compliance officer, let alone the head of the department. In fact, the majority of the knowledge related to compliance strategy and auditing comes from the practical experience of either implementing regulatory change in a ’s operational fabric or working with government departments that devise regulations.

Analytical Skills

Any that hired a senior compliance officer looks for project management ability, analytical skills, and a keen eye for legal developments. The more analytically sound a compliance officer is, the better they will be able to judge where a stands from a compliance point of view, and what changes to implement to make it compliant.

Organizational Skills 

Chief compliance officers need to be capable of organizing regulatory meetings and implement the required measures. this requires a significant amount of organizational skills, especially in companies with a large of assets or employees. Furthermore, they need to be able to call meetings with key stakeholders and multitask in real-time.   

Leadership Skills

The chief compliance officer is the leader of the compliance department. This means that they should have distinct leadership qualities in them in order to perform their due diligence and successfully implement even the most drastic of measures throughout the to ensure compliance. 

Soft Skills

Aside from the obvious working skills, chief compliance officers need to have a range of soft skills, including excellent communication, observation, leadership, and public speaking skills. On top of that, they should be highly observant of their professional surroundings in order to keep an eye on any practices that may not comply with set standards.

Aside from these, chief compliance officers can benefit a lot from a background in legal administration, a certification in a legal field, or some experience working in a , state, or federal administrative office.

Required Qualifications for Chief Compliance Officers

are the primary qualifications required to become a bona fide CCO:

  • High school diploma or a GED certificate
  • 4-year bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (business administration and business law being the two most prominent)
  • Master’s degree in a similar field with a focus on applied business administration
  • At least 4-5 years of experience in a regulatory compliance capacity
  • An extended apprenticeship in a position that directly leads to compliance management

It is important to note that some companies don’t require candidates to have a master’s degree for the chief compliance officer job. 

However, it’s beneficial for candidates to have as many relevant qualifications as they can, in order to shorten the time it takes them to reach their desired position. 

Additionally, the Certified Public (CPA) certification is a requirement for organizations that want a chief compliance officer for primarily financial oversight. Different companies may also have their own specific accreditation requirements.

Becoming a Chief Compliance Officer in 2021

The significance of legal and regulatory compliance has been compounded in recent years.

This is due to the increased role of technology and process automation in recent times.

Technology has eliminated the need for manual regulatory oversight, while automation has resulted in machinery and equipment that can be programmed and set up to run as per regulatory requirements. 

In light of this, it’s necessary for prospective chief compliance officers to expand their skill and qualification horizons to include more diverse certification and accreditation courses.

Courses such as the aforementioned CPA certification will provide some additional knowledge that will make compliance officers more valuable to their host companies. In addition to that, they will help potential CCOs better understand the requirements of more niche jobs, even within their professional scope.

Ending Note

2021 has been all about transformative process changes and the compliance measures being implemented everywhere reflect that to the fullest. 

In light of these changes, it makes sense for any prospective chief compliance officer to upskill themselves and diversify their operational capabilities to such a degree that they become a highly valuable candidate for whichever they apply in.

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Career Path Job Descriptions

What Does an Outsourced Chief Compliance Officer Do?

While every organization needs a strict compliance program and compliance policies, not everyone can afford compliance officers. Some companies hire in-house compliance and legal personnel; others hire outsourced chief compliance officers, legal teams, and compliance professionals. 

The duties and responsibilities of an outsourced chief compliance officer vary according to the CCO services being offered. It also depends on the company, industry, and whether outsourcing compliance is a good idea for the company at the time. 

In this article, we’ll see what a chief compliance officer’s resume usually looks like, as well as the roles, duties, and abilities of an outsourced chief compliance officer. 

What Does an Outsourced Chief Compliance Officer Do – Typical Roles in Organizations 

Every company today needs a corporate compliance program to ensure transparency with regulatory bodies. Bills such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act, and more have changed the position of every firm’s compliance program. 

For example, if a firm’s business is in the financial services, they would have to adhere to regulations on mutual funds, hedge funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other investment management opportunities. The Registered Investment Advisers (RIA) need to have a chief compliance officer if they need to continue their business. 

It has become crucial for companies to adhere to SEC, FINRA, and CFTC requirements, especially when the OCIE (Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations) keeps an extremely close eye on all companies. Even something as simple as filling out the mandatory Form ADV is required to be managed by someone in the CCO role. 

All of the above is just for companies in the financial industry, specifically in the investment business. There are similar laws and regulations for every industry, and they all have their own ongoing compliance requirements. 

That is why many companies have resorted to CCO outsourcing for all chief compliance officer services. An outsourced CCO typically works the same as an in-house CCO; however, their role depends on the company and industry. Most importantly, it depends on whether the broker-dealer CCO is an independent contractor or with a law firm or compliance company. 

In any case, the outsourced chief compliance officer has to ensure regulatory compliance, enact enforcement actions on the compliance program, and do annual reviews of the organization’s compliance rules. 

The outsourced chief compliance officer has to avoid any conflicts of interest and work directly with the executives and board of directors. 

What Does an Outsourced Chief Compliance Officer Do – Duties and Tasks 

When you outsource a prominent position such as the CCO role, you have to make sure you have lined up all the duties and responsibilities for them. That doesn’t mean you need to tell them your compliance issues; that will be the CCO’s job; you have to clearly define what they have to do at your organization according to your industry. 

In any case, the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities are what the typical outsourced chief compliance officer has to manage. 

  • Work with and report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the board of directors, and senior management. Offer advice and recommendations to the executives on all compliance functions. 
  • Collect and analyze compliance information and data from all stakeholders and internal/external systems using compliance software
  • Check the business practices, operations, processes, and systems to ensure all compliance needs are taken care of. 
  • Provide assistance with compliance reporting to meet all regulatory requirements. 
  • Perform routine analysis on all compliance operations with the help of additional compliance professionals. 
  • Oversee, organize, and present scheduled compliance reviews that portray all compliance risks with the help of continuous risk assessments. 
  • Develop compliance manuals for all the organizational departments and employees. 
  • Ensure all marketing materials are acceptable by regulators and within the business model. 
  • Update any current compliance policies according to new regulations and organizational direction. 
  • Help establish risk alerts for compliance issues to develop an early warning system. 
  • Draft complete compliance and regulatory calendars to formalize the yearly compliance program. 
  • Offer continuous compliance consulting and support with any regulatory issues. 
  • Help new registrants (new companies) develop an understanding of the compliance world. 

The duties, responsibilities, and tasks listed above are often part of the chief compliance officer services. However, you can include more tasks and duties according to your industry and organization. 

What Does an Outsourced Chief Compliance Officer Do – Skills and Abilities 

While outsourced chief compliance officers can have varying tasks and duties, they require the same skills and abilities. However, different industries may ask for slightly different qualifications and knowledge expectations. 

On average, the outsourced chief compliance officer is expected to have the following qualifications, skills, and abilities. 

  • A bachelor’s degree in a law-related field is required. It’s preferable to have a Juris Doctor degree as it shows that you have an excellent understanding of the laws and regulations. 
  • At least ten years of experience is needed in law and compliance. It’s better to have prior experience in the same industry consistently, giving the CCO more insight into the regulatory requirements. 
  • Some companies prefer that the outsourced chief compliance officer passes industry-specific exams and certifications, such as the SEC exam. 
  • An excellent understanding and knowledge of all local, state, and federal regulations is required. 
  • The outsourced CCO is expected to have rudimentary computer skills. The CCO should have a strong understanding of Microsoft Office products, such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and SharePoint. 
  • Outsourced chief compliance officers should have an idea of organizational compliance standards and how they work. It’s crucial to ensure that the client develops compliance-ready policies, benefits packages, and more. 
  • It’s crucial to have excellent research and analytical skills to find and analyze new and existing regulations, laws, and rules that may affect clients. 
  • As a service provider, the outsourced chief compliance officer needs to have strong management and functional skills. 
  • Excellent communication skills are needed to work with internal and external stakeholders. 
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills are needed to develop good relations with relevant authorities. 

The skills, qualifications, and abilities listed above are what is expected from an outsourced chief compliance officer. It’s crucial for outsourced CCO’s to stand above and beyond to justify their role. 

How to Become an Outsourced Chief Compliance Officer 

Outsourced chief compliance officers are a cost-effective solution when companies don’t want an in-house CCO. However, it still doesn’t change how much a chief compliance officer earns over the year. 

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for chief compliance officers in the United States is $149,943. That is true for outsourced chief compliance officers too. As a result, the typical salary range is between $83,000 and $218,000, with the upper end being offered in major hubs like New York and Los Angeles. 

The outsourced chief compliance officer’s salary varies according to the industry too. For example, outsourced CCOs in the financial services industry tend to charge more per contract or per hour of consultation due to the increased complexity of compliance standards. Outsourced chief compliance officers in other industries that have less strict regulatory requirements may charge less. 

However, all chief compliance officer jobs are considered to be at the executive level. Therefore, outsourced chief compliance officers need to have years of experience before offering their services. It’s advisable to work in an organization as an in-house compliance officer and CCO before offering outsourced CCO services. 

Usually, smaller companies outsource their compliance matters. Therefore, it’s best to work towards getting experience at handling the compliance matters of smaller organizations. Furthermore, it’s also best to focus on any one single industry and build your knowledge base around it. 

It’s also best to continually brush up on the latest updates related to new or modified laws, rules, and regulations. You should also consider developing a working relationship with regulators and the State Bar Association. 

In any case, you should portray yourself as a dependable, knowledgeable, and reliable outsourced chief compliance officer. 

Becoming a Great Outsourced Chief Compliance Officer 

You can’t become a great outsourced chief compliance officer by only doing your due diligence. You need to rack up years of experience, understand the intricacies of various laws, and understand how to ensure complete regulatory compliance. 

Developing good relationships with the relevant internal and external stakeholders, such as the board of directors and regulatory bodies, helps. 

It’s also advisable to communicate with fellow compliance officers and attorneys and take their opinion while developing compliance programs and recommendations. 

Most importantly, it’s critical to avoid conflicts of interest when working as an outsourced chief compliance officer.