Currently, many businesses are aware of the beneficial role of corporate counsel and need to recruit legal executives. Corporate counsel is also a career chosen by many law students after graduating from university because the income for the position is considered stable and often higher than the income of the majority of employees who are working at law firms or law offices. Compared to other jobs at enterprises such as administrative executive, secretary, assistant, etc., the legal executive can do the right jobs with the law major. To give readers an overview of the business legal profession, in today’s article, we will briefly analyze the jobs of corporate legal staff.
1. What is corporate counsel?
Corporate counsel is defined as the role of drafting and developing internal rules and regulations while also regulating and controlling to ensure that the enterprise’s activities comply with legal provisions as well as internal regulations. Corporate counsel includes two types: in-house counsel and outsourcing counsel.
2. In-house counsel at the enterprise
In-house counsel is the focal point in charge of solving legal issues for an enterprise. In-house counsel includes one or a group of lawyers, employees/executives working in the enterprise under the labor contract mechanism. The structure of the In-house counsel is often diverse, depending on the size and needs of the business. The work of In-house counsel at each business will be different, depending on the characteristics of each business.
In terms of business fields and lines, when working at a construction enterprise, In-house counsel is usually in charge of consulting on the legal conditions of investment projects, the legal conditions of contractors; reviewing contracts for construction, procuring contracts for materials and equipment, contracting to supply manpower and construction equipment, etc. And when working as an In-house counsel that manufactures and trades goods, the main job is usually to negotiate, draft, and review principle contracts, purchase and sale contracts, service contracts, etc; register and settle disputes over intellectual property rights…
Considering the size of the enterprise, large-scale enterprises often have a separate legal department, many of which are also divided into a legal department and a compliance department. Legal work has been specialized, and these enterprises have built an internal document system. The new In-house counsel will be guided and will work with the enterprise’s existing internal document systems. As for small-sized enterprises, where there is almost no In-house counsel or there is a small amount, In-house counsel often has to create and build an internal document system for the enterprise. Some In-house counsel, in addition to doing law-related work, also have to be in charge of administrative and personnel jobs such as insurance, employee salaries, clerical and archival work, accountant work, import, and export work,…
However, the work of In-house counsel has certain commonalities, which are classified into the following groups of jobs:
- Work related to supporting internal management and administration activities of the enterprise
– Drafting, preparing documents, adhering to legal procedures, and organizing Board of Directors, Supervisory Board, and General Meeting of Shareholders meetings;
– Amending of the enterprise’s charter; operational regulations of the board of directors; operational regulations of the supervisory board; and other regulations as prescribed by law;
– Advising on procedures for election, appointment, and dismissal of enterprise managers;
– Building shareholder relations and managing shareholders;
– Building a system of internal management documents and control compliance with this document system;…
- Supporting labor-management activities at work
– Developing a system of internal documents on labor such as probationary contracts, labor contracts, information confidentiality agreements, training contracts, collective labor agreements, labor rules, salary regulations, and bonuses;…
– Assisting in the implementation of labor management procedures such as recruitment, probation, signing, amending, supplementing, terminating, transferring employees to non-labor contracts, suspending labor contract performance;…
– Supporting in carrying out procedures for handling labor discipline, forcing employees to compensate for damage;…
- Work-related legal advice for businesses, managers, departments, and personnel in the enterprise
– Advising on legal issues for the competent person to make decisions related to the enterprise’s daily business activities;
– Receiving and handling legal issues from enterprise departments such as sales, tax, human resources;…
– Updating legal documents and legal policies related to business operations and providing business orientation;
- Work involving enterprise contracts and transactions
– Attending meetings with business, department, and partner representatives; customers on business, projects, and transactions;
– Consulting, drafting, or assisting in drafting contracts and cooperation minutes;
– Negotiating, drafting, and reviewing contracts;
- Work-related litigation activities for disputes arising from business activities
– Conducting records searches and advising businesses on lawsuits;
– Collecting evidence and documents; preparing and submit lawsuit dossiers; paying court fee advances;
– Representing enterprises in pre-litigation negotiations and conciliation sessions; meeting to review evidence handover, access, and disclosure conciliation in court; first-instance court sessions in court; dispute resolution sessions at commercial arbitration;
– Consulting, carrying out the procedures for appealing the court’s decision, and participating in the appellate proceedings;
– Request for enforcement of court judgments or decisions, commercial arbitration awards;…
- Work related to the representation of non-procedural work
– Procedures for obtaining various permits and certificates;
– Representing businesses to work with state agencies;
3. Outsourcing counsel
Outsourcing counsel is understood as the legal department outside the enterprise (commonly law firms, law offices) hired by the enterprise to provide regular legal consulting services for the business. Outsourcing counsel is frequently used when an enterprise does not have an internal legal department, or must use outsourcing legal services even if it does.
For businesses that do not have a legal department, because they do not have employees who are knowledgeable about legal regulations, legal risks are very likely to occur and the organizational apparatus of the enterprise cannot operate smoothly. Enterprises should use the regular legal consulting services of law firms/law offices to ensure their operations are always efficient and by the law. In addition, some businesses, even though they have their legal department, still have to hire a lawyer or go to a law firm when they have legal problems. For example, businesses need to deal with litigation-related jobs where In-house counsel is not knowledgeable and jobs that require in-depth expertise such as tax, investment, and M&A,…
Depending on the needs of the business, the work that the law firm/law office can perform includes:
+ Drafting and reviewing contracts, agreements, commitments, or other documents provided by enterprises;
+ Studying the provisions of the law to review risks, and ensure the operation of the business is by the provisions of the law;
- Legal advising on issues that businesses require;
+ Participating in meetings with enterprises to protect the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises;
+ Other jobs may arise at the request of the enterprise.
Legal is a “silent” job, which does not bring directly visible profit like sales and marketing departments, etc. Legal, on the other hand, serves as a “doorkeeper” for legal compliance issues of the enterprise, back-up/preventing/limiting risks for enterprises when disputes arise. Because there is no legal department, many businesses have committed illegal acts, leading them to find law offices and law firms to deal with the legal consequences. Therefore, businesses need to take a new look at the importance of corporate counsel and then recruit In-house counsel or use appropriate outsourcing counsel.