How to Thrive as a Fractional Chief Legal Officer

With the advancement of technology, there’s an increase in demand for advice from chief legal officers (CLO) on legal matters as well as business risks.


Today, law school graduates are trained to put an end to risk, collaborate with business captains in undertaking sensible risks that bring about legal consequences to the business in the field of finance, operation, and reputation. 


Unfortunately this isn’t your cup of tea if you’re a general counsel – it takes more than just advising others on impactful decisions affecting their respective fields. But before delving into what exactly is required by someone holding your position we should first understand its origins…


Who is a Chief Legal Officer? 


A Chief Legal Officer is involved with a company’s legal affairs to ensure minimal losses. This can be done by advising prospective officers and board members on the potential risks of litigation, as well as serving in-house attorneys within the operating committee. In this case, the CEO acts as commander while transferring his commands to CLO who then transfers them into action from lawyers working for him.


Chief Legal Officer Job Description 


The Chief Legal Officer (CLO) is a corporate lawyer that represents the company by working closely with board members and executives. The CLO deals mostly in legal affairs, but also provides counsel to all people associated with the corporation.


To be a competent CLO, you must have strong initiation skills as well as business management leadership skills. You also need to hold an applicable state of license and possess a Juris doctor degree. The position itself depends on the size of your organization; for smaller ones, it can be more manageable than others with larger staffs or divisions that require multiple lawyers at once.


The CLO is responsible for working with the organization to reduce costs, and coordinate financial incentives within the company. The literature remains underdeveloped in this field because it is new compared to other positions of corporate governance.


Marketing companies have a complex framework for managing misconduct. The gatekeepers, referred to as reputational mediators, are responsible for ensuring that marketing companies abide by the law and other legal standards. At the top of this hierarchy is CLO (chief legal officer) who also advises on related issues such as compliance within company management structures like CEO’s board members etcetera.


The CLO has a special role in the firm, as well. Not only does the position help drive value for shareholders by being an efficient vehicle to distribute capital and return excess earnings back into their hands through dividends or buybacks; it also helps facilitate relationships with other stakeholders like regulators, employees etc., which can all affect shareholder value positively.


Gatekeeping allowance can be given to the CLO in order to align his incentives with those of the CEO and CFO. This coordination will help combat company misconduct, while also inhibiting investors from monitoring firms as much.


How to Thrive as a Chief Legal Counsel – Four Faces of CLO


As a corporate lawyer, it’s your dream to become the boss but reaching that point is not easy and staying at the top isn’t much easier.


While they both serve as prominent lawyers in an agency, the CLO and GC have some key differences. For example, while the CLO addresses matters to their CEO directly, the GC does not.


One important distinction between the GC and CLO role is that a general counsel may be more focused on in-house legal matters, whereas a chief legal officer might focus his efforts toward equating those to overall firm objectives.


The goal of this initiative is to improve the sensitivity and performance of corporate lawyers, which will help them advance in their position.


  1. Lead with metrics


Metrics are a major factor in any department. Lawyers use them to measure company efficiency and guidance on its activities. As CLO, he may be concerned with monitoring outside expenses of the council, reducing contract frequency, and adhering to internal service requests.


A qualified CLO will encourage members to impact the corporate objectives through metrics that are enhancing performance. They’ll also initiate these metrics so they meet those goals, thereby contributing more effectively to the company’s success.


  1. Introduce your team to firmwide processes 


In a firm, every employee’s skills differ from the others. This is a natural driver to focus mainly on the company, as each employee centers on his area of expertise. Your goal is to be a master-plan to the company so that your team members are also motivated to work towards improving the firm’s performance.  


To make this goal a success, your team needs to be in coordination with the rest of the organization. Use a formal matrix if it’s suitable for your agency.


  1. Be technology-averse


It’s the dream of every lawyer to be a technology-averse. However, this doesn’t seem to be valid for a CLO, and it certainly shouldn’t be. As a CLO, you need to embrace all the advanced technology that can bring impact to your organization.  


Once you adopt the technology that’s around you, becoming a technology-averse is a no brainer. However, maintaining your initial team members once you’ve become one, will make them more valuable to the firm. You’re equally expected to take more responsibilities and aim towards achieving them. 


Bonus Tips to Thrive as a Fractional CLO 


  1. Have a strategy 


Your goal is to have a master plan that brings about a straightforward legal strategy to your business. As a chief legal officer, your roles include providing the senior members of the executive with legal guidance that leads to the success of the company. 


  1. Be the catalyst


As a catalyst, your role is to enhance the competitive environment by connecting legal terms and critical guidance that will expedite the executive team’s ability towards setting clear goals for their agency.


  1. Act as a guardian


In a fractional CLO role, you’re expected to address legal matters as well as provide guidance to the business. These are some of the responsibilities for an in-house legal executive and chief legal officer.


  1. Be the operator 


Lastly, as an operator you need to spend much of your time strategizing ways for building legal operations that are secure to the firm. You’re also liable in enhancing your team’s talents and capabilities along with their legal structure needed to serve those business incentives best.


Over to You 


Are you an aspiring CLO? The practices mentioned above will help you thrive as a fractional CLO, and become an effective one someday.

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