The primary responsibility of any corporate lawyer is to protect the interests of the business. Finding one who can anticipate and address the specific legal needs of your company, however, can be a challenge. Growing demand for legal professionals can make the hiring process even more difficult: 55 percent of attorneys surveyed by Robert Half Legal say they have trouble locating skilled legal professionals.
When you do identify a prospect for a corporate lawyer role — whether it's through a recommendation or your own search process — apply the following tips to help ensure you're hiring the right candidate for your organization.
Look for relevant corporate lawyer experience
To represent your company effectively, a corporate lawyer must, of course, understand your business. Has the candidate worked with organizations similar to yours? Think about your company size, structure, industry or sector, geographic footprint and more.
For example, if your business is a startup, you'll likely want to find a corporate lawyer with a strong track record of guiding fledging companies — from helping them establish protections for intellectual property to drawing up employment contracts for new hires. And if your company is a large corporation, you may want to hire a corporate lawyer with litigation experience and foreign language skills who also understands the regulatory compliance landscape and, perhaps, the potential legal pitfalls of merger and acquisition deals.
Focus on interpersonal skills
Because legal issues can arise anywhere in the business, a corporate lawyer needs to be able to interact effectively with people throughout the organization. Therefore, it's important to hire a corporate lawyer who has strong communication skills and the ability to collaborate. Other valuable soft skills include displaying tact and diplomacy. Finally, look for a corporate lawyer who is self-assured. You're going to want someone who is prepared to push back on executive management when certain business decisions could pose a legal dilemma.
Evaluate work style and fit with the corporate culture
More than likely, you'll need to seek counsel from and collaborate with your corporate lawyer on a regular basis. That's why having a good rapport with him or her is essential. The problem is, assessing how your relationship will turn out with an untried candidate is impossible. This is why many leading businesses turn to a legal staffing specialist for help in finding a corporate lawyer. This enables them to engage a candidate on a temporary basis to determine if that person's work style and other attributes are the right fit for the business before extending a full-time offer.
Legal recruiters who work for reputable staffing firms will take the time to understand what type of expertise and abilities your organization requires in a corporate lawyer. That insight, along with their firsthand knowledge earned working in the legal industry, will help them to quickly locate a skilled corporate lawyer to handle the specific legal issues your company faces.
Need to engage corporate lawyers for a non-routine project? Find out how Robert Half Legal's integrated solutions can provide your business with dedicated legal support that meets your project timeline and budget.