Large Law Department Compensation Survey (CLCM) Job Descriptions

© 2013 Empsight International, LLC

General Counsel & Corporate Secretary (GC1)

This position is responsible for formulating and implementing the overall legal philosophy and strategy of the organization, nationally and internationally, in support of its long term goals and objectives.  This position provides advice and counsel to the CEO and the most senior executives of the organization on material legal and business matters impacting or potentially impacting the organization.  This position applies both seasoned business and legal judgment while serving as a senior member of the executive leadership team.  This position may also incorporate the role of Corporate Secretary and in this capacity has frequent contact with members of the Board of Directors of the organization.  This position provides oversight on matters of organizational governance and compliance. This position structures and staffs the legal function is the most effective way to ensure the legal goals and objectives are attained.  This position defines and manages the overall budget for the legal department balancing the use and deployment of internal and external legal resources.

This position, depending on the overall organizational structure, may also include leadership responsibility for other corporate staff functions such as Government Relations or Human Resources.

Deputy General Counsel (GC2)

This position supports the General Counsel in the development of the overall legal strategy of the organization and assists in its implementation.  This position may have specific responsibility for providing legal support and advice to a sizeable part of the overall organization based on a combination of legal expertise and knowledge of the business.  This position frequently leverages this knowledge to conduct negotiations of material import to the overall organization, or to eliminate or mitigate significant actual or potential risks or liabilities.  This position provides leadership and direction to a staff of legal executives, professionals, paraprofessionals and support staff who may constitute a large part of the overall legal departments staff.  In addition, this position maintains close working relationships with outside counsel providing them with direction and oversight on important issues or transactions.  This position may stand-in at important meetings or decision points during periods of absence of the General Counsel.  This position may also assist the General Counsel on Board of Directors related issues.

Assistant General Counsel (GC3)

This position provides executive level leadership and direction to a dedicated staff of managing attorneys, professionals, paraprofessionals and other staff who support the legal needs of an important client group (e.g. a business line or a function like HR) within the company.  The position supports the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel in the development and formulation of the overall legal strategy for the corporation.  This position provides advice and counsel on a broad range of legal issues to the operating executives and management of the assigned area.  This position may, in addition, provide practice leadership for one or more important legal specialties and disseminates information on trends and innovations within the specialty to other attorneys throughout the company, on a matrix basis.  This position may select, engage and direct outside counsel to undertake specific and complex work requiring the application of highly specialized legal knowledge.

Top Legal Executive - Division (GC4)

This position is responsible for formulating and implementing a legal strategy for its assigned division, nationally and internationally, to support its long term business goals and objectives and consistent with the legal strategy of the parent company.  This position provides advice and counsel to the Top Division Executive and the most senior executives of the division on material legal and business matters impacting or potentially impacting the division.  This position applies both seasoned business and legal judgment while serving as a senior member of the divisional leadership team.  In addition to other legal responsibilities, this position oversight and guidance on divisional governance and compliance matters consistent with the practice of the parent company. This position has on-going contact with the General Counsel of the corporation on a broad range of legal issues and to ensure consistency of approach and philosophy.  This position provides direction and leadership to law professionals and support staff assigned to the division and facilitates their growth and development both within the division and in the corporation as a whole.   In addition, this position selects and engages outside counsel to provide critical support on complex legal, regulatory and business issues.

 2nd Level Legal Executive - Division (GC5)

This position supports the Top Legal Executive – Division in the development and implementation of the divisional legal strategy.  This position leverages its legal expertise and business acumen to support the division achieve its business objectives.  This position may provide specific on-going support to one or more client groups within the division based on its legal specialty or business or industry knowledge.  This position may provide leadership and direction to a subset of the legal staff of the division consisting of managers, legal professionals and paraprofessionals.  In addition, this position may screen and engage outside counsel, either directly or from an approved list of firms supporting the corporation as a whole, to apply their expertise on legal matters of complexity and materiality.

Corporate Secretary (Not General Counsel) (GC6)

This position is a central point of contact on a variety of communications and other issues with the Board of Directors of the company.  In addition, this position provides counsel to the Chief Executive Officer, senior executive officers, and Board members on compliance issues.  This position has specific accountabilities for the following: planning and conduct of Board meetings, organizing and managing the agenda and flow of the Annual Shareholder meeting, creating, updating, and preserving important corporate records, overseeing stock transfers and managing external transfer vendors, liaising with securities markets and ensuring compliance with their rules and requirements, dealing with the concerns of Directors, Officers and Shareholders on an ongoing basis, filing appropriate registrations and having an oversight role in relation to corporate compliance and good governance issues.  This position may depending on scale, have other general law department responsibilities for one or more areas of legal specialization.

General Counsel - Subsidiary of Foreign Parent (GC7)

This position is responsible for formulating and implementing a legal strategy for a subsidiary of a foreign owned company operating in the United States. This position advises the executive leadership of the subsidiary on national and international legal issues and risks impacting the subsidiary to support the achievement of long term business goals.  This position ensures that that the subsidiary's legal positions are consistent with the legal strategy of the parent company.  This position applies both seasoned business and legal judgment while serving as a senior member of the subsidiaries executive leadership team.  In addition to other legal responsibilities, this position provides oversight and guidance on subsidiary registration, governance, regulatory reporting and compliance matters consistent with the practices and policies  of the parent company.  This position provides direction and leadership to law professionals and support staff assigned to the subsidiary and facilitates their growth and development both within the subsidiary and in the corporation as a whole.  In addition, this position selects and engages outside counsel to provide critical support on complex legal, regulatory and business issues.

Expert Counsel (GC8)

This position leverages an in-depth knowledge of a legal specialty or area of law to provide advice and recommendations to executives and management on highly complex matters which have or may have a material financial impact on business activities and operations. This position is likely to be regarded as a company and even an industry expert in its area of expertise due to the combination of advanced legal and business knowledge.  This position is self-directed in the conduct of its day-today work.  This position carries out extensive research of legal principles and precedents and consults with outside counsel on legal strategies on particular issues.  This position is generally an individual contributor role but may provide ad hoc work direction and supervision to other legal staff regarding support on active cases, though such leadership is subordinate to the main technical focus of this role. Incumbents are likely to have 10 or more years of post bar experience in a combination of law firm and corporate settings.  May be a member of the bar in multiple states.

Managing Attorney (AT1)

This position is the first management level position in the hierarchy of legal benchmarks.  This position in addition to its own workload of cases and legal issues, manages a group law professionals, paraprofessionals and support staff within a section of the overall legal department.  The focus of the section may be on generalist issues, specialized issues or a balanced blend of the two.  This position provides direction and guidance for its subordinate staff and monitors progress towards the achievement of set goals and objectives.  This position has to balances the allocation of internal and external resources taking into account such factors as, workload, skill base, project schedules, and cost of resources.  In addition to its management role, this position also handles a caseload of files and issues which require seasoned legal judgment and sound business logic.  This position requires excellent communications and people management skills and 10 or more years of post bar qualification experience.

Senior Attorney (AT2)

This position provides legal advice and recommendations for action to executives and management regarding matters of some complexity which have or may have a material dollar impact on business activities and operations. This position combines a knowledge of one or more legal specialties with sound business acumen and knowledge of the business goals and objectives as they relate to the matter at hand.  This position operates under general direction from law department management.  This position may research legal principles and precedents, consult with outside counsel, draft and execute legal documents, gather relevant case related information using multiple sources and methods, provide direction to other professional, paraprofessional and support staff in developing solutions to problems presented.  Incumbents are likely to 8 to 10 years of post bar experience in a combination of law firm and corporate settings.  May be a member of the bar of multiple states.

Intermediate Attorney (AT3)

This position provides legal advice and recommendations for action to executives and management regarding matters of intermediate complexity which have or may have a sizable dollar impact on business activities and operations. This position primarily leverages its knowledge of its legal specialty in providing counsel as it builds its knowledge of the business context in which it operates.  This position may receive specific direction from management or more senior law professionals as to the outcomes, process and schedules expected.   This position may research legal principles and precedents, consult with outside counsel, draft and execute legal documents, gather relevant case related information using multiple sources and methods, provide work guidance to other professional, paraprofessional and support staff in developing solutions to problems presented.  Incumbents are likely to 5 to 7 years of post bar experience in a combination of law firm and corporate settings.  May be a member of the bar of multiple states.

Associate Attorney (AT4)

This position supports other, more senior professionals, in providing legal advice and recommendations for action to executives and management regarding matters of complexity and may deal directly with more routine legal matters.  This position is generally focused on applying its knowledge of one or more legal specialties as it develops a deeper knowledge of the business operations of the company.   This position generally receives specific direction from management or more senior law professionals as to the outcomes, process and schedules expected.   This position may research legal principles and precedents, consult with outside counsel, draft and execute legal documents, gather relevant case related information using multiple sources and methods, provide work guidance to paraprofessional and support staff in developing solutions to problems presented.  Incumbents are likely to 3 to 5 years of post bar experience in a combination of law firm and corporate settings.  May be a member of the bar of multiple states.

Developing Associate (AT5)

This position is a new or recent law school graduate, who assists more senior law department professionals. This position builds professional experience and learns the practical aspects of applied law, as well as learning the functions of the business.  Position assists on cases, undertakes research, reviews standard documents and routine contracts, and prepares routine filings.  Position typically reports to the managing attorney.  The position may be recently admitted to the bar or working towards that end and typically has 0 - 3 years working experience.

Paralegal Manager (PM1)

This position is most likely found where paraprofessional resources are under central control rather that managed by individual attorneys.  In this context, this position is responsible for recruiting paralegal staff at all levels, assigning them to projects based on their skills and experience, monitoring and supervising paralegal work assignments and work loads, conducting performance appraisals, dealing with general compensation, promotional and employee relations issues, and enforcing disciplinary procedures or other corrective action processes, as needed.  This position has on-going interactions with the leadership and management of the legal department and with individual contributor attorneys relative to the service level standards expected in the provision of paralegal support.  This position requires an individual with at least 5 to 7 years of experience in managing and motivating paraprofessional staff and specific experience of the paralegal role and the requirements of the department for this type of support service.  Note: this job is not an attorney position.

Senior Paralegal (PL1)

This position, under the general guidance of an attorney or manager, applies a knowledge of legal concepts and processes to assist in the more efficient operation of the law department by undertaking some or all of the following types of work: performing legal research, conducting fact gathering interviews with clients or witnesses, drafting legal documents of some complexity, maintaining and updating files, monitoring case schedules and filing deadlines, drafting correspondence and pleadings, summarizing depositions, interrogatories and testimony, performing statistical analyses an documentary research, and attending court or hearings in support of attorneys. This position may combine generalist legal knowledge with a paraprofessional knowledge of one or more legal specialties such as real estate or intellectual property, amongst others.  In addition to a knowledge of the law and legal processes, incumbents are expected to demonstrate excellent organizational, communications and time management skills.  Incumbents should be qualified in an American Bar Association approved curriculum and, ideally, have Certified Legal Assistant designation or have passed the Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination.  Incumbents in this senior role are likely to have 5 to 7 years of experience after qualification.

Paralegal (PL2)

This position, under the supervision of an attorney or manager, applies a knowledge of legal concepts and processes to assist in the more efficient operation of the law department by undertaking a variety of paraprofessional duties.  These duties may include some or all of the following types of work: performing legal research, conducting fact gathering interviews with clients or witnesses, drafting legal documents of some intermediate complexity, maintaining and updating files, monitoring case schedules and filing deadlines, drafting correspondence and pleadings, summarizing depositions, interrogatories and testimony, performing statistical analyses an documentary research, and attending court or hearings in support of attorneys.  This position may combine generalist legal knowledge with a paraprofessional knowledge of a legal specialty such as real estate or intellectual property, amongst others. In addition to a knowledge of the law and legal processes, incumbents are expected to demonstrate excellent organizational, communications and time management skills.  Incumbents should be qualified in an American Bar Association approved curriculum and, ideally, have Certified Legal Assistant designation or have passed the Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination. Incumbents in this role are likely to have 2 to 4 years of experience after qualification.

Contract Negotiator (Non-Lawyer) (CN1)

This position prepares, negotiates, and manages various standard and non-standard contracts for the organization to ensure they comply with business requirements as well as corporate policy.  This position operates under general direction from law department management. The position has authority to negotiate contracts within certain parameters specified by the General Counsel and typically reports to a managing attorney.  Incumbents may have experience working as a contract negotiator from within an organizational business unit prior to working in the law department. Typically requires a bachelors degree and at least 8 - 10 years relevant experience.

Senior Contract Administrator (Non-Lawyer) (CN2)

This position is responsible for managing and coordinating contractual obligations between the organization and its customers, ensuring compliance with the specific requirements of each contract, as well as applicable laws, policies and procedures.  Incumbents may have experience working as a contract administrator from within an organizational business unit prior to working in the law department. Typically reports to a managing attorney and requires a bachelor’s degree with at least 3 - 5 years relevant experience.

Contract Administrator (Non-Lawyer) (CN3)

This position is responsible for coordinating contractual obligations between the organization and its customers, ensuring compliance with the specific requirements of each contract, as well as applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures. Typically reports to a managing attorney and requires a bachelor’s degree with at least 2 - 3 years relevant experience.

Director Administration (AL1)

This position supports the General Counsel in the effective administration of the Legal Department by managing the following sub-functions: legal budget development and monitoring, systems administration, law library, and records management amongst others.  This position may serve as a primary intermediary with other corporate staff functions such as Human Resources, IT, and Finance on issues related to the ongoing management, administration and staffing of the law department.

This position will typically have a business degree and 8 to 10 years of experience in administration.  (Note: This position is most likely found in larger law departments)

Manager of Administration (AL2)

This position may be stand alone or reports to the Director of Administration (in larger law departments) and manages one or more of the following areas for all or part of the department: budget development and monitoring, systems administration, or records management.  Duties may include preparation of the financial aspects of the law department budget, on-going financial analysis, coordination of staffing plans, and other administrative processes with their corresponding corporate functions.  This position manages the day to day details of the assigned area of responsibility. 

Incumbents are typically not lawyers and may have an undergraduate degree in general business or in finance coupled with 5 to 7 years of post qualification experience.

Law Librarian (LL1)

This position serves as a centralized resource within the law department supporting legal professionals and paraprofessionals in identifying and finding information relevant to their work and case activities.  This position plans and secures the necessary research resources need to cost effectively support the law department and sets an appropriate balance between physical and electronic information sources.  This position manages the library budget which includes the acquisition of source materials in multiple media formats. In addition, this position may personally assist law professionals by conducting specialized research or providing advice and training on the use of electronic databases.  Incumbents in this role typically have a formal qualification in Library Science combined with 5 to 7 years of experience.

Executive Assistant to the General Counsel (AM1)

This position supports the General Counsel by performing a variety of administrative and paraprofessional tasks such as: management of the general Counsel’s daily schedule, screening of telephone calls and visitors, processing routine correspondence, coordinating meetings and events, making travel arrangements, processing travel and other expenses through the internal administrative systems, tracking routine budget items, providing periodic, work direction to other administrative support staff and temporary workers, and undertaking ad hoc projects to support the more efficient operation of the office.

Incumbents in this role require in-depth knowledge of office productivity software, company administrative systems and processes as they relate to the law department, and a knowledge of legal terminology and processes.  This position is exposed to a large amount of highly confidential and sensitive information requiring demonstrated tact and discretion.  Incumbents will generally have 6 to 8 years of Executive Assistant experience and may have an undergraduate degree.

Senior Administrative Assistant - Legal (AM2)

This position provides senior level administrative support within the law department and may be assigned to one more managers and professionals. This position may develop departmental templates for use by others to process routine legal and non-legal correspondence and documents, and maintain the schedule of the more senior legal staff supported.  An in-depth knowledge of office productivity software and internal company administrative systems is required.  This position requires thorough familiarity with legal terminology. Other tasks may include making travel arrangements, event planning, expense tracking, meeting coordination, guest reception, call screening, and other tasks for the supported senior staff.  Incumbents will generally have 5 or more years of administrative work experience and may have an Associates or undergraduate degree.  This position does not require the incumbent to be a qualified paralegal.

Administrative Assistant - Legal (AM3)

This position provides administrative support within the law department and may be assigned to one more managers and professionals.  This position may use departmental templates to process routine legal and non-legal correspondence and documents, and may also maintain the schedule of the supported professional(s).  A working knowledge of office productivity software and internal company administrative systems is required.  This position requires familiarity with legal terminology.  Other tasks may include making travel arrangements for the supported professionals, tracking travel expenses, coordinating meetings with internal and external individuals, screening telephone calls, and other administrative tasks.  Incumbents will generally have 2 to 5 years of administrative work experience and may have an Associates or undergraduate degree.  This position does not require the incumbent to be a qualified paralegal.

Systems Administrator - Legal (SA1)

This position is responsible for supporting the information technology, applications, and computer hardware used in the law department, whether vendor sourced or developed internally.  This position serves as the primary point of contact between the law department and the Information Technology function on legal related systems.  This position ensures the integration of various elements of technology so that they function effectively for legal end users either directly or through a project management process.

This position will typically have a degree in a systems analysis or computer related discipline and have 4 to 6 years of systems related experience.

Records Administrator (RA1)

This position is responsible for filing, securing and archiving important case related and other legal files and documents.  This position applies proven classification and storage and retrieval techniques to ensure the efficient management of a large volume of documents, ensuring that appropriate controls are in place to preserve the integrity of the records.  This position may manage outside archive vendors for both space management and disaster recovery reasons.

This position will likely have an undergraduate degree in an administrative discipline, extensive experience in managing legal files and 5 to 7 years of experience.

Senior Patent Agent (PA1)

Positions are responsible for drafting complex patent claims, filing patent applications, patent enforcement, and maintenance of the company’s patent portfolio.  Positions typically have technical degrees (e.g. science or engineering) and must be registered by the United States Patent Office. Incumbents typically have 5-8 years post degree experience. Note: this is a non-attorney position.

Patent Agent (PA2)

Positions are responsible for drafting basic patent claims, filing patent applications, supporting attorneys on patent enforcement, and maintenance of the company’s patent portfolio.  Positions typically have technical degrees (e.g. science or engineering) and must be registered by the United States Patent Office. Incumbents typically have 2-4 years post degree experience. Note: this is a non-attorney position.

Patent / Docket Assistant (PD1)

This position is responsible for administrative maintenance of some or all of the company's patent portfolio, including updating and maintenance of databases for patents and trademarks, preparing and filing documents regarding patent applications, and implementing administrative processes and procedures to improve operating efficiency.  May have responsibility for routine correspondence with patent office or trademark office, or outside law firms, including payment of issue fees.  Incumbents typically have at a minimum a high school diploma and may have an undergraduate degree, combined with 2 to 3 years of relevant experience.

Top Government Relations (GR1)

This position is the function head responsible for developing and implementing the overall government relations strategy for the organization to support its broad goals and objectives.  This position promotes and advances the interests of the organization at the Federal, State or international levels to shape emerging issues and to enable it to operate in its various markets without undue regulation, taxation or legislative restriction.  This position is responsible for organizing and staffing the government relations department and for providing leadership and direction on strategic, tactical and operational issues on an ongoing basis. 

This position is generally based at Headquarters and typically reports to the General Counsel.

Top Government Relations Federal (GR2)

This position, guided by the organization’s overall government relations strategy, is responsible for developing and implementing strategic and tactical plans at the Federal Government Relations level.  Responsibilities include protecting and advocating the organization’s interests with regard to current or proposed federal tax, regulatory, or legislative issues that may have material significance for the organization, its customers and other stakeholders.  This position may manage a staff of managers and specialists in federal government relations and related support staff.  In addition, the position may engage and instruct outside consultants and lobbyists where needed.  This position reports to the Top Government Relations Executive and is typically based in Washington, DC.

Top Government Relations State (GR3)

This position, guided by the organization’s overall government relations strategy, is responsible for all aspects of the organization’s state government relations activities including: developing and implementing state strategic and tactical plans to include local legislative and regulatory entities. Responsibilities include protecting and advocating the organization’s interests with regard to current or proposed state tax, state regulatory, or state legislative issues that may have material significance for the organization, its customers and other stakeholders.  This position directs and manages a regional staff of managers and specialists in state government relations and in addition may engage outside consultants and lobbyists where needed.  This position reports to the Top Government Relations Executive and may be based at headquarters, Washington, DC., or some other location.

Top Compliance Executive (Worldwide) (CM1)

This position is responsible worldwide for ensuring the company meets its compliance and reporting requirements and inquiry response with regard to external regulatory agencies.  The position develops the necessary strategic architecture, policies, processes and infrastructure to ensure that reporting and other compliance requirements are accomplished in both a comprehensive and timely fashion to minimize the risk of censure or fines to the company. Additionally, this position organizes periodic audits to identify areas of risk from a compliance perspective and works with the business area to resolve these risks in a timely fashion with minimal exposure to the company.

This position requires a thorough knowledge of the regulatory environment with regard to the company and its industry.  This position will likely have 15 or more years experience in dealing with regulatory agencies balanced with a thorough knowledge of the business operations of the company.  Individual incumbents in this role may typically have one or more qualifications such as and MBA or a law degree. (Note: this position may be located in the Law department, the Finance department, or may be head a stand-alone function depending on the company’s organizational approach to compliance).

Second Level Compliance (CM2)

This position supports the Top Compliance Executive in ensuring that the company meets its compliance and reporting requirements and inquiry response with regard to external regulatory agencies.  This position may be responsible for compliance for a sub-set of the larger entity requiring the incumbent to develop policies, processes and infrastructure to ensure that the reporting and other compliance requirements are accomplished in support of the overall company goals.  This position may audit and evaluate compliance risks as they apply to the assigned business areas and work with the business units in their resolution.

This position requires a thorough knowledge of the regulatory environment with regard to the company and the assigned business area.  This position will likely have 10 or more years of experience in dealing with regulatory agencies balanced with a thorough knowledge of the business operations of the company.  Individual incumbents in this role may typically have one or more qualifications such as and MBA or a law degree.

Top Regulatory  Executive (TR1)

This position is responsible developing very strong and pro-active relations with regulatory agencies at both the State and Federal level, with a view to transforming the relationship between the regulator and the company.  The objective is to move beyond the traditional pattern of compliance and advocacy to one where regulators view the company as a source of innovative ideas and objective information on matters impacting the industry and the agency.  This position directs the development of arguments and ideas based on a rigorous analysis of interests of various stakeholders involved; the agency, the company, competitors, customers, shareholders, interest groups and others. The position may also direct the development and implementation of initiatives and campaigns based on quantitative analysis with a view to promoting the building of consensus around core objectives of change and regulatory transformation.  This position requires an executive with in-depth knowledge of the company, the industry and its stakeholders and the structure and processes of the regulatory agencies.  This position may have a legal, regulatory, or business operations background and will likely have 15 or more years of experience.