Canadian Glossary of Legal Job Descriptions

Integral to the hiring process is an accurate job description. For employers in the legal profession, the job description serves as an important foundation for the resume screening, interview and candidate selection phases of the hiring process. For job seekers, a well-written job description clearly defines the work expectations of the hiring organization, as well as the experience and capabilities required for an open position.

Robert Half Legal's Glossary of Legal Job Descriptions includes an overview of typical skills, educational background and duties for numerous legal positions in law firms and corporate legal departments in Canada. The information was derived from the thousands of full-time, temporary and project placements made through Robert Half Legal and the market knowledge of our recruiting and staffing professionals. While the job descriptions provide an overview of typical responsibilities and skill requirements, job descriptions will vary based on the size of the legal organization and other factors.

U.S. Version

Legal Job Descriptions:

Law Firm Lawyer
Legal Management
Corporate Officer
Corporate/In-House Counsel
Legal Specialist
Contract Administration
Compliance Administration
Litigation Support
Law Clerk
Legal Assistant
General Administrative

Law Firm Lawyer Job Descriptions

Law Firm Lawyer

Lawyers play many different roles in the practice of law. Within a law firm, they generally fall into one of two areas — litigators or transactional lawyers, each with their own range of specialties. Litigators conduct research; write legal briefs or memoranda; and provide advice, opinions and other legal assistance to companies and individuals. Acting for a client, litigators may initiate, prosecute or defend litigation or arbitration on the client's behalf. Transactional lawyers negotiate and draft contracts for a business or financial deal, draft and oversee real estate and probate transactions, and work to keep clients in compliance with provincial and federal laws.

Law firms are generally structured as closely held corporations where partners own equity in the firm. A Managing Partner oversees the running of the firm, akin to a Chief Executive Officer, and an executive committee may perform other executive functions as well. Law firms tend to be hierarchical, with junior associates reporting to senior associates or partners. The Of Counsel role is becoming more common, where senior-level associates with extensive experience eschew partnership and remain in the firm as associates and receive a wage instead of a share of the profits.

Lawyers typically have two to four years in a university program, earn either a bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree from an accredited school, complete a period of articling, and receive bar membership in a Canadian province or territory. Lawyers also need excellent analytical, communication, diplomacy, legal research and writing skills. Employers may require prior experience in a law firm or corporate legal department, depending on the position. Practice areas, such as intellectual property or healthcare, may require advanced degrees in the relevant subject matter.

Typical duties include:

  • Researching and analyzing the law on complex issues and writing briefs for submission to a supervising lawyer
  • Synthesizing legal research and analysis into a coherent written memorandum or brief for submission to a client, court or arbitrator
  • Appearing in a court of law, arbitration or other judicial tribunal on behalf of the firm's client, and presenting well-reasoned arguments to the judicial body
  • Analyzing and summarizing complicated legal documents, including contracts, and suggesting alterations to those documents
  • Performing discovery of various electronically stored data and hard copies of information in preparation for litigation
  • Negotiating with outside parties on contractual issues and legal disputes, including settlement conferences
  • Anticipating and mitigating potential legal problems within the law firm or for a client, and developing strategies to avoid costly litigation and reduce potential areas of risk
  • Performing due diligence in legal matters concerning contracts, agreements, and mergers and acquisitions

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Managing Partner (12+ years of experience)

The Managing Partner is a senior-level lawyer or founding member of the firm. Depending on the size of the firm, the Managing Partner may be a revolving position where all partners with voting rights elect a senior partner for a term. The Managing Partner generally heads an executive committee comprised of other senior partners and helps establish and guide the firm's strategic vision. The Managing Partner is responsible for all aspects of supervising and coordinating the efforts of a legal team, including budget and legal practice area management, case assignment, and the hiring and professional development of staff. Additionally, the Managing Partner is expected to bring in business, assume management responsibilities and maintain a full-time law practice.

The position demands strong initiative as well as excellent skills in management, team building, delegation and problem-solving. The experience required for the position may vary with law firm size. Larger law firms may prefer candidates with more than 12 years of experience, while smaller firms may require less. Managing Partners should possess a bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree and bar membership in the applicable Canadian province or territory. Candidates are required to have experience in a major law firm or corporate legal department where they have held positions of advancing responsibility. Firms may also prefer to hire lawyers with business development experience, particularly the ability to cultivate new clients and expand the existing practice.

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Equity and Non-Equity Partner (12+ years of experience)

Law firm partners are senior-level lawyers who are joint owners and operators of the law firm. Some firms have a two-tiered partnership structure: equity and non-equity. Equity Partners have ownership interests in the firm and share in the firm's profits and losses. Non-Equity Partners do not have ownership interests in the firm and are paid a salary, but they may be vested with certain limited voting rights in firm matters. Generally, Non-Equity Partners are promoted to full equity status in one to three years. They are frequently required to make a capital contribution or "buy-in" to become an equity partner. Candidates are required to have experience in a major law firm or corporate legal department where they have held positions of advancing responsibility. Partners are expected to oversee legal teams within their practice and bring in new clients and business.

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Of Counsel (10+ years of experience)

Generally senior-level associates with a book of business, Of Counsel lawyers come about the position in various ways. In some firms, Of Counsel lawyers are independent contractors who provide expertise that the firm is lacking, while practicing under the umbrella of the firm. In other firms, they are senior lawyers who are semiretired from daily practice or who provide occasional consultation. Some Of Counsel lawyers prefer to stay in associate status, rather than taking on the additional responsibilities of partnership.

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Lawyer (10+ years of experience)

The duties, attributes and educational requirements of a senior associate with 10-plus years of experience are generally the same as those listed under the general description for lawyers. However, due to the extensive skills, knowledge and legal practice experience needed for this position, these senior-level lawyers typically perform a variety of difficult and complex legal work and operate with substantial discretion and minimal direction or supervision. An experienced senior associate creates proactive or defense strategies regarding major legal actions and may provide functional advice or training to less experienced lawyers. This position typically requires 10 or more years of increasing responsibility and experience in a law firm or corporate legal department.

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Lawyer (4-9 years of experience)

The duties, attributes and educational requirements of a senior associate are generally the same as those listed under the general description for lawyers. As a senior associate, the lawyer still answers to the partner in charge, but has greater latitude in conducting cases, more access to clients and is generally in charge of managing entry-level associates and professional staff. This position typically requires four to nine years of increasing responsibility and experience in a law firm or corporate legal department.

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Lawyer (1-3 years of experience)

The duties, attributes and educational requirements of an entry-level associate are generally the same as those listed under the general description for lawyers. Entry-level associates perform a variety of tasks under general supervision and should be familiar with standard concepts and procedures within a particular practice area. This position typically requires one to three years of experience in a law firm or corporate legal department.

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First-Year Associate

The duties, attributes and educational requirements of a first-year associate are generally the same as those listed under the general description for lawyers. Entry-level associates perform a variety of tasks under heavy supervision and should be familiar with standard legal concepts and procedures. They should have a bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree and bar membership in the applicable Canadian province or territory.

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U.S. Version

Legal Management Job Descriptions

Administrator/Office Manager

The executive director or law firm administrator is responsible for supervising all administrative functions of the law office, including facilities, human resources and information services. In small and midsize firms, these duties may include financial and facilities management, conflict resolution, contracting with vendors, budgeting, and coordinating a firm's physical relocation. In larger law firms, the law firm administrator may supervise department managers in accounting, human resources, office services, IT services and benefits administration. Many law office managers have experience in finance, management and human resources, and may oversee the branch office of a firm. They typically report to a management committee, executive director or Managing Partner.

Typical duties include:

  • Developing and maintaining a network of vendors for equipment, supplies and human resources, and negotiating contracts and leases for office space and equipment
  • Providing the firm's Managing Partner, managing committee or executive director with regular updates on issues affecting the firm's operations and staffing
  • Serving as a liaison between a law firm's headquarters or main office and its other offices
  • Creating and implementing the firm's annual budget and tracking finances throughout the year
  • Overseeing administrative departments, including (depending on the firm's size) marketing, paraprofessionals, human resources and finance
  • Participating in or supervising strategic planning

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Practice Group Manager

The Practice Group Manager is responsible for creating and implementing the group's business strategy and managing work assignments to ensure superior client service. The position directs staffing and case distribution as well as supports, trains and develops associates and other legal professionals in the practice group. Practice Group Managers are typically lawyers with extensive law firm experience in that specific practice group area or non-lawyers with substantial corporate experience. They should have superior organizational capabilities, management expertise and business knowledge to ensure the practice group operates effectively and is profitable for the firm.

Typical duties include:

  • Creating and implementing strategic initiatives and managing the daily operations of the practice
  • Directing and managing work assignments, staffing and case distribution
  • Supporting, training and developing legal professionals in the practice group
  • Communicating the needs and plans of the practice group to management and overseeing the resource allocation process for the practice group
  • Coordinating matters relating to marketing and client development for the practice group
  • Overseeing the associate and law clerk evaluation process
  • Directing the practice group's annual budget and ensuring the group operates within budget parameters
  • Ensuring appropriate processes are followed for management of conflicts and risk

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Practice Group Administrator/Coordinator

Practice Group Administrators/Coordinators work together with the Practice Group Manager to develop and implement the group's business strategy, support the lawyers and paraprofessionals in the practice group, and manage staffing and case distribution. Practice Group Administrators/Coordinators tend to be lawyers with law firm experience in that specific practice group or non-lawyers with corporate experience. They should possess superior organizational and time-management skills, excellent written and oral communication skills, and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and build credibility with lawyers.

Typical duties include:

  • Working closely with the Practice Group Manager to implement strategic initiatives and oversee the daily operations of the practice
  • Communicating the needs and plans of the practice group to management and overseeing the resource allocation process for the practice group
  • Coordinating matters relating to marketing and client development for the practice group
  • Handling the associate and law clerk evaluation process
  • Preparing the practice group's annual budget
  • Ensuring appropriate processes are followed for management of conflicts and risk

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Business Development Manager

The Business Development Manager is responsible for implementing management's strategic plan pertaining to the firm's expansion into new practice areas or client bases. The Business Development Manager generally liaises with the law firm's marketing department to reach new business opportunities and manage current client relationships. The Business Development Manager should have a bachelor's degree in business, management or business administration, and relevant experience in a law firm or corporate setting.

Typical duties include:

  • Developing and executing a plan for identifying appropriate business opportunities in all applicable practice offerings with new and existing clients
  • Responding to requests for proposal, requests for qualifications and other requests to engage clients
  • Overseeing the implementation of a client satisfaction program throughout the client's representation
  • Building and maintaining relationships with industry leaders, associations and organizations in relevant and new markets

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U.S. Version

Corporate Officer Job Descriptions

Chief Legal Officer

The Chief Legal Officer (CLO) and General Counsel positions are essentially one and the same with respect to job description. However, the CLO is a fairly recent construct in the corporate world because of an evolving understanding that the company's lawyer needs to have a seat at the senior executives' table in order to best advise the company.

The CLO is the head of the corporate legal department and is responsible for the legal affairs of the entire corporation. The CLO provides legal counsel to the board of directors, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and other senior management. As a senior executive of the corporation, the CLO also serves as a strategic business partner by providing advice and oversight in areas such as ethics, privacy, transparency, data collection and storage, and regulatory and governmental changes and compliance. The CLO typically holds other positions within the company as well, such as corporate secretary, Chief Compliance Officer or Chief Privacy Officer.

The CLO must possess strong initiative as well as excellent management and leadership skills and strong business acumen. A bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree and bar membership in the applicable Canadian province or territory are required. The amount of experience required for the position may vary depending on company size: large legal departments of public companies (those employing 50 or more legal professionals) prefer candidates with 15 to 20 years of experience, while smaller companies may find that five or more years of relevant experience is adequate. Companies seek candidates who also possess experience in a major law firm or corporate legal department where they have held positions of increasing responsibility, such as associate general counsel or partner. Experience in the company's specific field is preferred, and broad business experience that aligns with that of the company's is highly preferred. Many employers want candidates with experience representing public companies, including familiarity with periodic reporting and corporate governance mandates.

Typical duties include:

  • Developing and leading corporate legal strategy to promote and protect the company's matters
  • Developing and leading internal audit and corporate compliance programs
  • Overseeing delivery of legal services and resources to accomplish corporate goals, strategies and priorities
  • Maintaining proper corporate interactions with the relevant local, provincial and federal governmental bodies and the community at large
  • Advising the CEO and other senior corporate officers on a variety of issues
  • Participating in the formulation of general management policy as a member of the executive management team

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Chief Compliance Officer/Chief Governance Officer

The Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), also known as Chief Governance Officer (CGO), is responsible for the company's compliance with government regulations. Public companies are much more likely to include a CCO within their legal departments, but this title may appear more frequently within private companies as they face greater ethics and corporate governance concerns. A CCO also is generally responsible for developing a code of ethics and serving as the ethics officer. The CCO works closely with the General Counsel (GC). In heavily regulated industries, the CCO may also report to the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Operating Officer.

The CCO is required to have a strong knowledge of provincial and federal government regulatory, ethics and compliance-related issues. Candidates should have strong communication, collaborative, analytical and strategic skills. Depending on company size, the CCO typically has at least 10 years of experience in either a major law firm or corporate law department. Many organizations prefer applicants with knowledge and experience with provincial or territorial securities regulatory authorities. Candidates should have held positions of progressive responsibility within a law firm or corporate legal department, such as law firm partner or GC.

Typical duties include:

  • Developing and communicating policies and procedures for the company's standards of legal and ethical conduct
  • Providing reports on a regular basis to keep the board of directors and senior management informed of the progress and status of the compliance program, and advising them of new developments in ethics and regulatory compliance
  • Coordinating with the human resources department to develop an effective compliance training program, including appropriate introductory training for new employees and ongoing training for existing staff
  • Instituting a standard reporting mechanism within the company for the reporting of compliance issues for investigation and resolution, including confidentiality measures for reporting employees and reporting of violations to outside authorities as appropriate or required
  • Monitoring possible areas of compliance risk and implementing corrective action plans for the resolution of current and potential problems

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Chief Privacy Officer

The Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) is responsible for developing and enforcing the privacy policies and procedures of the organization, including compliance with any provincial or federal privacy laws. The CPO often works closely with the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) and Chief Security Officer and, depending on the company, may report to the General Counsel (GC) or Chief Executive Officer. The CPO must have strong communication, analytical and management skills, along with at least eight to 10 years of experience dealing with privacy issues in either a company or major law firm. A bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree is often preferred. Depending on the industry, experience with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the Privacy Act or other privacy statutes may be desirable. The CPO is required to have a strong knowledge of consumer protection laws and information privacy best practices.

Typical duties include:

  • Evaluating existing privacy policies and procedures of the organization, and formulating new ones; reviewing all system-related information security plans throughout the company's network to ensure alignment with security and privacy practices
  • Organizing and participating in a privacy oversight committee with the chief compliance officer and other relevant senior managers, and keeping informed about new developments in federal privacy laws and information privacy technologies
  • Managing customer relations, privacy policies and procedures and an appropriate inquiry and complaint process, including ensuring that the organization maintains the appropriate privacy and confidentiality consent forms (i.e., authorization forms and information notices)
  • Providing initial privacy training and orientation to all employees, contractors, business partners, and other appropriate persons
  • Ensuring compliance with privacy policies; the CPO also must ensure that there are consistent consequences for failure to comply with privacy policies for all individuals within the organization

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Chief Security Officer

The Chief Security Officer (CSO) is responsible for both physical and digital security at the organization. The position frequently interacts with the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) and reports to the General Counsel (GC) or other senior executives. Many companies require a bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree for this position. The CSO must have strong leadership, technological, analytical, and communication skills, and generally have eight to 10 years of experience in the information technology department of a corporation or experience in the intellectual property law department of a major law firm. Companies prefer candidates with a background in computer science and an understanding of information technology and security. Candidates should have experience with business continuity planning, loss prevention, fraud prevention and privacy, and experience in auditing and risk management is preferred.

Typical duties include:

  • Developing an organization-wide security plan, including the identification of risks and protection goals
  • Managing a group of internal security professionals and outside vendors to protect the organization's intellectual property and computer systems, as well as its employees, visitors and physical property
  • Implementing security procedures to safeguard confidential data; the job also requires maintaining relationships with government agencies, investigating and documenting any breaches and instituting a system of standard reporting, review and discipline
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of the organization's security plan, including contacting outside consultants to conduct independent audits

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U.S. Version

Corporate/In-House Counsel Job Descriptions

Corporate/In-House Counsel

The term corporate/in-house counsel generally refers to lawyers who are within a company's legal department and take care of its legal affairs. In some instances, corporate counsel, in-house counsel and general counsel are used interchangeably but here, corporate/in-house counsel is used as an overarching term for all lawyers within a legal department, while the term general counsel refers to the head of the corporate legal department. Associate general counsel, assistant general counsel and associate counsel are roles that carry specific responsibilities.

General Counsel

The General Counsel (GC) is the head of the corporate legal department and is responsible for the legal affairs of the entire corporation. The GC provides legal counsel to the board of directors, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and other senior management. The GC typically holds additional positions and responsibilities within the corporate structure, such as Chief Legal Officer, vice president or corporate secretary. With the introduction of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States in 2002 and the subsequent issuance of Bill 198 in Canada, the GC's role in many organizations has expanded to include broader risk management tasks. In many corporate legal departments, and especially smaller ones, the GC is often responsible for duties typically performed by the Chief Compliance OfficerChief Privacy Officer and Chief Security Officer if these positions have not yet been created.

The General Counsel must possess strong initiative as well as excellent management, teamwork, delegation, and problem-solving skills. A bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree and bar membership in the applicable Canadian province or territory are required. The amount of experience required for the position may vary depending on company size: For example, large companies (more than $250 million in revenue) may prefer candidates with 15 to 20 years of experience, while small companies (up to $25 million in revenue) may seek five or more years of relevant experience. Companies seek candidates who also possess experience in a major law firm or corporate legal department where they have held positions of increasing responsibility, such as associate general counsel or partner. Many employers want candidates with experience representing public companies, including familiarity with periodic reporting, regulatory and corporate governance mandates.

Typical duties include:

  • Advising the company and senior management on a broad range of provincial and federal regulatory and compliance matters, including identifying areas of risk and making suggestions for improvement
  • Managing outside counsel and developing strategy for litigation and regulatory proceedings
  • Developing an in-house organization of legal professionals to provide legal assistance to the company
  • Negotiating transactions on behalf of the company
  • Planning the company's strategy for handling government affairs and lobbying efforts

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Deputy General Counsel

The Deputy General Counsel (Deputy GC) is the second-in-command of the corporate legal department and is responsible for the administrative or legal affairs of the corporation that are delegated by the overseeing General Counsel. Typically, the Deputy GC position is found only in large companies and public agencies. Deputy GCs must possess strong initiative as well as excellent management, teamwork, delegation and problem-solving abilities. A bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree and bar membership in the applicable Canadian province or territory are required. The amount of experience required for the Deputy GC position may vary with company size: Large public companies prefer candidates with 15 or more years of experience, while smaller companies may require less experience. Companies require candidates who possess experience in a major law firm or corporate legal department where they have held positions of increasing responsibility. Many employers seek experience representing public companies, including familiarity with periodic reporting, regulatory/compliance and corporate governance mandates.

Typical duties include:

  • Assisting the head of the corporate legal department with administrative or legal matters, including the planning, organizing and managing of work activities assigned to staff lawyers by the general counsel
  • Developing or assisting in the development of budget recommendations for the organization
  • Managing outside counsel to represent the organization in important litigation before courts and administrative tribunals, including preparing or reviewing the preparation of briefs and other court documents
  • Preparing, reviewing and negotiating company contracts, requests for proposals and other legal documents

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In-House Counsel (10+ years of experience)

In-House Counsel with more than 10 years of experience is expected to provide a wide range of legal services and advice to the company, including developing a budget for the legal department. Tenured in-house counsel would also have cultivated a specific area of expertise, such as litigation, mergers & acquisitions, or securities regulation. The position works closely with the GCDeputy GC and senior management, and is responsible for managing outside legal counsel and employees at all levels, assigning cases to legal teams and hiring legal staff.

Candidates should possess strong leadership, analytical, verbal and written communication skills. A bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree and bar membership in the applicable Canadian province or territory are required. Depending on the size and structure of the corporate legal department, this position generally requires more than 10 years of experience in a law firm or corporate legal department. Employers often require candidates to have a background in transactions, intellectual property, labour, real estate, and securities laws. Companies may request experience in compliance and corporate governance issues. Many companies also prefer experience with industry-specific government regulations.

Typical duties include:

  • Consulting with management, commercial advisors, tax experts, accountants and marketing staff
  • Coordinating and managing outside counsel and litigation
  • Negotiating and drafting contractual agreements, such as real estate leases, and advising on employment matters
  • Overseeing compliance and corporate governance issues
  • Keeping informed of industry-specific regulations and ensuring that appropriate risk management strategies are in place

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In-House Counsel (4-9 years of experience)

In-House Counsel with four to nine years of experience would have developed some expertise within the legal department, while still providing research, advice and other legal assistance to the General Counsel (GC), Deputy GC and other senior-level lawyers in the corporate legal department. This position also may provide counsel to management within the company, coordinate with outside legal counsel and be expected to take on a more managerial role within the legal department.

In-House Counsel must have a bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree and bar membership in the applicable Canadian province or territory and have excellent analytical, communication, diplomatic, legal research, and writing skills. Employers may require four to nine years of experience working at a law firm or another corporate legal department, depending on the level of the position offered.

Typical duties include:

  • Developing the organization's policies on industry-specific issues, corporate governance or regulatory affairs
  • Researching and analyzing the law on complex issues and writing a brief for submission to a supervising lawyer or executive of the organization
  • Appearing in a court of law, arbitration or other judicial tribunal and initiating, prosecuting or defending litigation on behalf of the company
  • Analyzing and summarizing complicated legal documents, including contracts; making suggestions for alterations of those documents
  • Negotiating with outside parties on contractual issues and legal disputes, including settlement conferences
  • Negotiating and drafting contracts
  • Anticipating and mitigating potential legal problems within the organization and developing strategies to avoid costly litigation and reduce potential areas of risk

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In-House Counsel (0-3 years of experience)

In-House Counsel provides legal research, advice and other legal assistance as directed by the General Counsel (GC)Deputy GC and other senior-level lawyers in the corporate legal department. This position also may provide counsel to management within the company and coordinate with outside legal counsel. Depending on the industry or size of the company, In-House Counsel may be placed in a specialized division within the legal department, such as litigation, real estate or regulatory compliance.

In-House Counsel must have a bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree and bar membership in the applicable Canadian province or territory and excellent analytical, communication, diplomatic, research and writing skills. Employers may hire articling students, recent law school graduates or require that they have one to three years of experience working for a law firm or corporate legal department.

Typical duties include:

  • Researching and analyzing the law for the preparation of legal memoranda
  • Performing due diligence for a potential transaction involving the company
  • Representing the company in a court of law, administrative body or tribunal
  • Analyzing and summarizing legal documents
  • Negotiating with outside parties, outside counsel, vendors and clients
  • Anticipating and mitigating potential legal problems involving the company

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U.S. Version

Legal Specialist Job Descriptions

Lease Administrator

A Lease Administrator is generally found in a real estate practice or in a commercial property management company. The duties and responsibilities of this specialist include creating leases from templates, tracking leases through the process, ensuring compliance with local, provincial and federal regulations for landlords and tenants, reviewing leases and verifying related documents for proper execution, abstracting leases into a database, and maintaining data integrity. Preferred candidates typically have worked as an administrator or office manager before, preferably in a law firm or corporate law department, and have experience managing personnel, benefits, payroll, vendor relationships and financials. Post-secondary education and experience in retail leasing, retail or commercial property development are also preferred. Excellent computer and organizational skills are required.

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File/Records Clerk

A File/Records Clerk is responsible for maintaining electronic and manual systems where cases, evidence and records are organized and filed. This entails developing and maintaining organized filing systems, organizing files and case documents, keeping track of discovery documents, preparing records to be sent off-site for storage, assisting the legal team with document requests and file creation, and disposing of files in accordance with established document retention procedures. Candidates should have excellent organizational skills and proficiency with basic computer programs, and adhere to strict confidentiality rules.

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U.S. Version

Contract Administration Job Descriptions

Contract Administration

Contract administration is the management of contracts made or to be made with customers, vendors, partners or employees. It involves negotiating the terms and conditions in contracts, analyzing and minimizing risk, ensuring compliance with the terms and conditions, documenting and agreeing on any changes or amendments that may arise during implementation or execution, and drafting and executing contracts. Duties may include implementing systems and software to ensure accurate tracking and record-keeping in order to fulfill contractual obligations.

Contract Manager (5+years of experience)

The Contract Manager oversees the contract administration staff and is responsible for contract review, negotiating and drafting any manner of agreements, including procurement and service contracts and leases. This position works closely with lawyers and contracts personnel to review and draft legal agreements and addenda. Candidates must have strong technical knowledge of all aspects of internal contract management software programs as well as an understanding of the business and business needs. A bachelor's degree in business, finance or a related field is required, and a bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree is preferred.

Typical duties include:

  • Reviewing contracts for ambiguities and contemplating potential outcomes and creative solutions
  • Providing technical guidance to lawyers and law clerks involved in negotiations

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Contract Administrator (4+ years of experience)

The Contract Administrator is responsible for reporting on the firm's operations, overseeing administrative departments, managing outside vendors and assisting with the firm's budget. With four-plus years of experience, the position is also expected to oversee junior contract administrators and assist the Contract Manager with contract management and negotiation. A bachelor's degree and/or a certificate of completion from a law clerk education program are typically required. Strong computer skills in advanced management software are preferred.

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Contract Administrator (1-3 years of experience)

The Contract Administrator is responsible for reporting on the firm's operations, overseeing administrative departments, managing outside vendors and assisting with the firm's budget. A bachelor's degree and/or a certificate of completion from a law clerk education program are typically required. Strong computer skills in basic computer programs and management software are preferred.

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U.S. Version

Compliance Administration Job Descriptions

Compliance Administration

The Compliance Administration team is responsible for ensuring that the company is following all federal, provincial and local rules, laws and regulations in all its operations and business functions. The team designs internal policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the law, conducts periodic audits to check that the policies and safeguards are working, and works to streamline the controls for maximum efficiency and compliance.

Compliance Director (10+ years of experience)

The Compliance Director heads the Compliance Administration team and is responsible for identifying, establishing, maintaining and reviewing compliance risk controls and compliance strategy throughout the organization. The Director routinely interacts with senior executives, managers, external business partners and regulatory agencies in order to determine specific needs and procedures. Additionally, the Compliance Director supervises internal procedures, processes and programs for compliance.

A bachelor's degree is required for this position, and a master's degree in finance or risk management or a bachelor of laws (LL.B) or juris doctor (JD) degree is often preferred. Most companies want candidates with relevant business experience of 10-plus years and compliance expertise within their respective industries or sectors. The Compliance Director must also have sound leadership skills and demonstrate thoughtful judgment in strategic management of compliance initiatives and efficient, effective operational coordination.

Typical duties include:

  • Developing, directing and executing the company's overall compliance strategy
  • Developing, managing and maintaining corporate compliance policies and procedures to ensure adherence to applicable rules and regulations
  • Overseeing and refining the company's annual compliance testing and monitoring plans, and refining those plans as required in light of evolving regulatory or business requirements
  • Acting as a liaison with regulatory agencies, internal and external advisors, and other internal control groups on compliance and exam-related issues
  • Working with management to establish an appropriate compliance culture throughout the firm, including the development of specialized training programs
  • Preparing compliance reporting to senior management and the company's board of directors

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Compliance Manager (7-9 years of experience)

The Compliance Manager supervises the workflow of the Compliance Administration team or department. This includes planning, overseeing and maintaining the compliance risk controls and reviews throughout the organization, and reviewing and testing procedures, processes and programs, as necessary.

The Compliance Manager should possess a bachelor's degree in a related field and relevant experience, including that of regulatory compliance in the company's respective field. Previous management experience is preferred. Candidates should have excellent organizational and communication skills and the ability to prioritize workload and respond to variability based on organizational needs. Excellent computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Office and legal software programs, are required.

Typical duties include:

  • Assisting with the implementation and maintenance of corporate compliance policies and procedures to ensure adherence to applicable rules and regulations
  • Coordinating the systems necessary for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the company's continued compliance with regulatory standards outlined by federal, provincial and local statutes
  • Collecting and analyzing regulatory compliance trends and data to assist in the development and implementation of improvement initiatives as appropriate
  • Communicating with senior management and legal staff as necessary to ensure the company is informed on regulatory issues and updates
  • Providing tools to managers, directors and staff for continuous survey readiness

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Senior Compliance Analyst (4-6 years of experience)

The Senior Compliance Analyst assists in the development of compliance risk controls and works with the rest of the Compliance Administration team to implement internal procedures, processes and programs. A bachelor's degree or equivalent is required, along with four to six years of compliance or audit experience in the relevant field. Candidates should have excellent organizational and communication skills and the ability to prioritize workload and respond to variability based on organizational needs. Excellent computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Office and legal software programs, are required.

Typical duties include:

  • Identifying potential issues and deficiencies, collecting relevant data to establish facts, and drawing valid conclusions to improve compliance procedures
  • Acting as a resource to the different departments within the company by understanding how compliance requirements affect each department and how to address the issues
  • Assisting the Compliance Manager in identifying compliance training needs and coordinating tasks as necessary
  • Updating the compliance program manuals upon the request of the Compliance Manager
  • Staying apprised of new and proposed laws and regulations

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Compliance Analyst (1-3 years of experience)

The Compliance Analyst typically assists in the development of compliance risk controls and works to implement compliance procedures, processes and programs under the direction of the Compliance Manager. A bachelor's degree or equivalent is required, along with one to three years of compliance or audit experience in the relevant field. Knowledge of data analysis tools is preferred. Candidates should have excellent organizational and communication skills and the ability to prioritize workload and respond to variability based on organizational needs. Excellent computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Office and legal software programs, are required.

Typical duties include:

  • Conducting compliance research on applicable rules and regulations, including specific topics such as privacy regulations, conflicts of interest and records retention policies
  • Analyzing, prioritizing and providing research data, summarized in a presentable format for discussion with management
  • Identifying education and training needs across the company
  • Preparing required audits and reports for submission after review by the Compliance Manager

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U.S. Version

Litigation Support Job Descriptions

Litigation Support

The litigation support professional (also called an eDiscovery professional) is a hybrid law clerk and IT specialist that supports the litigation needs of the law firm by using law office technology to manage voluminous data in various formats so that it is readily accessible.

In a large firm setting, the litigation support professional typically reports to the practice group manager. In many midsize firms, law clerks with specialized law office technology training may fill the litigation support role. Litigation support professionals typically have a university or college degree, advanced technical skills, and training on database and litigation support applications. Some also have advanced certifications in addition to their degrees. Candidates must have solid IT knowledge, familiarity with document management systems and trial presentation software, and strong communication skills in interacting with lawyers, staff and vendors, as well as excellent organizational abilities, critical thinking skills and attention to detail.

Typical duties include:

  • Using litigation and eDiscovery software to manage evidence and case-related documents
  • Designing and implementing databases for managing, sorting, indexing and abstracting large volumes of data produced in litigation
  • Providing training and user support to lawyers, law clerks and other support staff on litigation technology software and systems
  • Supporting and supervising in-house scanning and processing of electronically stored information
  • Ensuring compliance with provincial and federal rules regarding electronically stored information
  • Implementing litigation hold and document retention procedures within the law firm and within clients' organizations

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Litigation Support Director (10+ years of experience)

The Litigation Support Director oversees the Litigation Support/eDiscovery team and acts as the primary liaison with the litigation practice group, clients' in-house discovery team, opposing law firms and vendors. This position supervises large-scale document review and litigation support projects.

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Litigation Support Manager (7-9 years of experience)

The duties are similar to those detailed for other litigation support positions, but the Litigation Support Manager also serves as the primary liaison between outside firms and vendors. The position manages document-intensive litigation projects and supervises project teams.

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Litigation Support Manager (3-6 years of experience)

The duties are similar to those detailed for other litigation support positions, but the Litigation Support Manager also oversees all project teams and litigation projects undertaken by the Litigation Support department. This position calls for strong project management, professional and interpersonal skills.

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Litigation Support Specialist/Analyst (1-2 years of experience)

The duties for the Litigation Support Specialist/Analyst are similar to those detailed for other litigation support positions, but also include conducting eDiscovery and other data tracking for litigation. The Litigation Support Specialist/Analyst also assists the Litigation Support Manager. This position requires proficiency in case management and eDiscovery software, great attention to detail and project management skills.

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Document Coder/Case Assistant

The Document Coder or Case Assistant receives, organizes and enters data into database programs, imports data to specialized legal software and prioritizes/batches material for data entry. The position often reports to the Senior Law Clerk or Senior Legal Assistant. Candidates are required to have technical proficiency, knowledge of legal concepts, organizational skills and attention to detail.

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U.S. Version

Law Clerk Job Descriptions

Law Clerk

Law clerks directly support lawyers and may be required to supervise other legal staff, such as legal assistants or file clerks. While they cannot offer legal advice, they work closely with lawyers on legal matters, perform basic legal research and draft legal documents for lawyers' review.

While law clerks may train on the job in some jurisdictions, they are increasingly required to attain degrees or certifications from post-secondary law clerk education programs. Often, employers seek candidates with a bachelor's degree and law clerk education. Law clerks should have computer and technical knowledge as well as strong analytical, communication and organizational skills. Larger law firms generally prefer three to five years of law clerk experience in a law firm or corporate legal department. Employers may require previous clerical or administrative experience, or demonstrated knowledge of particular computer software programs.

Typical duties include:

  • Assisting lawyers in preparing for transactional closings, depositions, hearings, trials and conferences; completing many administrative tasks, including individual cases or transactions
  • Investigating the factual evidence of a transaction or case and preparing exhibits, charts and diagrams to display information
  • Drafting legal court documents, such as pleadings, motions, affidavits and subpoenas; transactional documents, such as trusts, wills, contracts and real estate leases; and closing documents
  • Conducting routine discovery
  • Obtaining due diligence materials, such as corporate certificates of good standing, real estate and title information, and securities filings
  • Organizing and tracking files for important transactions or case documents, including pleadings and voluminous discovery documents; creating and maintaining a case-management database

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Senior/Supervising Law Clerk (7+ years of experience)

The responsibilities for the Senior/Supervising Law Clerk are similar to those detailed for other law clerk positions. They also include supervising discovery and litigation support teams, assisting with case management, performing court filings, participating in evaluations and hiring decisions, and working closely with lawyers and clients on high-level matters. The position requires advanced knowledge of the law and legal procedures, along with superior leadership and management skills. Experience in a specific legal practice area is highly preferred.

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Midlevel Law Clerk (4-6 years of experience)

The responsibilities for the Midlevel Law Clerk encompass basic law clerk duties but also include providing advanced litigation support to lawyers and clients, conducting extensive case research, preparing detailed reports and memoranda, assisting with transactional closings, and drafting legal documents. The position often handles technical aspects of case management, and advanced knowledge of legal concepts and procedures is required.

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Law Clerk (2-3 years of experience)

The responsibilities for the Law Clerk encompass basic law clerk duties and are primarily focused on extensive document review and organization. The Law Clerk produces transcript summaries and prepares documents for discovery, performs data entry, document coding and imaging, and other support functions during trial and motion preparations. Candidates must understand legal concepts, terminology, principles and procedures. Experience in one or more specialized practice areas is a plus.

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U.S. Version

Legal Assistant Job Descriptions

Legal Assistant

Legal Assistants are trained in law office procedures, law office technology and legal terminology. While the position provides a wide range of clerical support to the lawyers and law clerks, candidates are expected to have specialized skills and knowledge pertaining to the legal profession.

For senior-level positions, law firms may require 12-plus years of experience as a legal assistant in a law firm or corporate legal department. Employers prefer candidates with at least some postsecondary education. More experienced legal assistants are expected to be competent in software applications, word processing, spreadsheets and database management. Legal assistants must have excellent written and oral communication skills. They should be technically savvy and pay strong attention to details and time management. Employers also value good judgment, discretion, a proactive work ethic and well-developed interpersonal skills.

Typical duties include:

  • Attending and taking notes at meetings and assisting lawyers in collecting legal and factual documents
  • Communicating by phone with opposing counsel and other parties, clients, judicial administrative staff and vendors
  • Scheduling depositions, site inspections, hearings, closings and meetings for lawyers and other legal staff
  • Preparing legal documents and notices, and updating transactional documents with the most recently negotiated language
  • Transmitting legal correspondence to clients, witnesses and court officials by electronic filing, mail, fax or messenger
  • Completing administrative forms, such as time cards and expense reports for supervising lawyers. Other duties include arranging travel plans and organizing and maintaining case and correspondence files

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Senior/Executive Legal Assistant (12+ years of experience)

In addition to handling legal assistant duties, the Senior/Executive Legal Assistant may also interact with clients and assume a supervisory role by managing legal support teams or secretarial departments. This also includes overseeing day-to-day workflow and scheduling, as well as monitoring evening and weekend support for lawyers and law clerks. The Senior/Executive Legal Assistant often is responsible for hiring general administrative staff.

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Midlevel Legal Assistant (7-11 years of experience)

The duties of a Midlevel Legal Assistant include the basic legal assistant responsibilities as well as taking on a supervisory role of the legal support staff. The Midlevel Legal Assistant can oversee day-to-day workflow of legal support staff and scheduling, provide support for lawyers and law clerks, assist with case management, and manage administrative functions. Candidates should have precise knowledge of court forms and filing procedures and experience and in-depth understanding of one or more specific practice areas. A Midlevel Legal Assistant must have exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail, as well as the ability to multitask and prioritize.

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Legal Assistant (3-6 years of experience)

The responsibilities of a Legal Assistant with three to six years of experience encompass basic administrative duties, as well as additional tasks, such as court filings, maintaining lawyers' calendars, scheduling lawyer time and completing billing sheets. Candidates should possess precise knowledge of court forms and filing procedures and an understanding of one or more specific practice areas. The ability to multitask and prioritize is critical, as the position may support up to five lawyers. Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail are required.

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Legal Assistant (1-2 years of experience)

A Legal Assistant provides legal and administrative support for lawyers and law clerks. Duties include transcribing dictation, producing letters and court documents and coordinating mailings. This position works directly with the legal support supervisor. The position requires exceptional computer skills, including knowledge of Microsoft Office, as well as law office technology such as legal calendaring software.

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Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistants prepare administrative documents and correspondence and oversee day-to-day office operations and administrative support activities. They may support receptionists or other support staff as needed. Administrative Assistants work directly with the legal support supervisor and must maintain a professional working relationship with lawyers and legal staff. Employers generally prefer two to five years of work experience. Administrative Assistants must be detail-oriented and have excellent communication and organizational skills.

Typical duties include:

  • Managing budgetary information and coordinating the ordering of office supplies and facility maintenance
  • Preparing a variety of documents necessary for the administrative operations of the law office, such as time cards and expense reports, and fulfilling check requests
  • Preparing, organizing and maintaining correspondence and administrative files
  • Scheduling and coordinating meetings and conferences
  • Providing relief to receptionists by answering incoming phone calls or assisting legal assistant staff by handling word processing, filing and document transmission

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U.S. Version

General Administrative Job Descriptions

Legal Word Processor

Legal Word Processors scan, clean and repair documents, as well as and transcribe notes and dictation from Lawyers to produce correspondence, pleadings and other legal documents. They may report to the Senior/Executive Legal Assistant. The position requires outstanding typing skills (at least 75 words per minute) and the ability to type tables of authorities for lengthy briefs. Legal Word Processors need to be proficient in Microsoft Office programs and transcription software and equipment. A secondary education diploma is required, but employers may prefer a bachelor's degree and prior law firm experience.

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Office Clerk

Office Clerks distribute mail and perform filing, copy and clerical work for LawyersLaw ClerksLegal Assistants and other legal staff. Office Clerks typically report to the Senior Law Clerk and require excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, along with the ability to multitask and meet deadlines.

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Legal Receptionist

Legal Receptionists are responsible for managing a multi-line phone system — placing, receiving and directing calls. They may report to the Senior/Executive Legal Assistant and are responsible for responding to requests from callers, relaying messages, coordinating with mail delivery services, and greeting clients and other visitors. Legal Receptionists may be responsible for the receipt, logging and distribution of legal documents. The position requires typing and computer proficiency, along with strong interpersonal skills.

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U.S. Version