What is a Legal Officer?
Legal Officers are responsible for monitoring all legal affairs within their organization. They handle both internal and external legal concerns, and are tasked with doing everything in their power to keep their organization out of legal trouble.
Legal Officers can be employed by corporations, agencies and other types of organizations. They typically report to upper-level members of staff, such as the Chief Legal Officer, while simultaneously leading and supervising a team of lower-level legal staff. According to findings published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall demand for Lawyers, which includes Legal Officers, is rising by 6 percent. This is expected to result in the opening of 43,800 positions through 2024.
Legal Officer Duties and Responsibilities
In order to ensure that the best legal action is taken for his or her organization, Legal Officers perform a variety of important tasks. We analyzed a number of online job postings to determine these core Legal Officer duties and responsibilities.
Provide Legal Advice
Using oral or written platforms, Legal Officers will be expected to brief team of staff members on legal issues, potential liabilities and possible courses of actions. This involves translating complicated legal jargon into language which everyone can understand, as well as taking all possible legal problems into consideration before making any recommendations. All recommendations which the Legal Officer makes must be in complete compliance with the law, and must also strive to minimize risk for their organization.
Any sort of legal work involves a great deal of paperwork, and the job of a Legal Officer is no exception. Legal Officers will frequently need to write and review settlement documents, contracts, agreements, stock certificates and more. This task makes up of a significant portion of the day-to-day work of Legal Officers, and requires both focus and precision.
Since laws and regulations are always changing and being modified, it’s up to the Legal Officer to continuously research legal resources such as articles, codes, statutes, judicial decisions and more. Doing so will allow the Legal Officer to stay up to date on all current laws and make well-educated legal recommendations.
Ideally, legal issues should be nipped in the bud before they even begin. This is why it’s essential for Legal Officers to regularly analyze the actions and decisions of their companies in order to identify problem areas, suggest alternative courses of action and mitigate risk as much as possible.
When a legal matter is underway, it’s up to the Legal Officer to direct all claim adjusters, liability attorneys and other members of the legal staff. With proper leadership, the legal staff can proceed with clarity, efficiency and confidence and hopefully resolve the matter swiftly.
Legal Officer Skills
Successful Legal Officers are stellar multitaskers, analytical thinkers and enthusiastic leaders. They don’t shy from setting aside their managerial duties to perform clerical tasks, and always have their organization’s best interests in mind. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are looking for Legal Officers with the following skills.
Core skills: Based on our analysis of various online job postings, employers are seeking Legal Officers with the following core skills. If you’d like to pursue a career as a Legal Officer, hone in on these.
- Excellent written and verbal communication
- Exceptional leadership skills
- Knowledge of all applicable laws, rules and regulations
- High attention to detail
- Strong negotiation skills
- Ability to prepare complex legal documents
Advanced skills: While most employers do not strictly require the following skills, many list them as being preferred. If you want to expand your career opportunities, focus on these.
- Experience in the specific industry to which an employer belongs
- Ability to speak more than one language
Tools of the trade: Legal Officers use many tools to perform their daily tasks. If you want to become a Legal Officer, you should have a good understanding of the following.
- Recent versions of Microsoft Office software suites
- Standard office equipment, such as copy machines and fax machines
- Telecommunications systems
- Digital communications systems
Legal Officer Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for Lawyers, which includes Legal Officers, is $115,820. Legal Officers in the tenth percentile make $55,870 per year, while those in the 90th percentile make in excess of $187,200 per year. Legal Officers in the District of Columbia, California and New York earn the highest median annual wage in the United States–$158,700, $146,100 and $134,60,0 respectively.
Legal Officer Resources
We compiled the following list of resources to help you continue exploring your career as a Legal Officer. From blogs to LinkedIn groups, this list has it all.
On the Web
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog – This blog comes from the highly-respected Wall Street Journal, and is packed with breaking legal developments from all over the world.
Above the Law – This frequently updated blog features opinion pieces, statistics, industry news and career resources.
Legal Profession Blog – Containing real-world legal stories from across the country, this blog is just as fascinating as it is educational.
Law Jobs Network – With over 261,000 members, this group provides a great place for legal professionals such as Legal Officers to post and find job opportunities.
e-LEGAL – This group of more than 180,000 members makes it possible for legal professionals to connect, network and share ideas.
Legal IT Network – Over 72,000 members come together in this group to discuss and learn about the technologies that make modern legal work possible.
Indispensable Counsel – This book is specifically focused on the role of Chief Legal Officers, but its in-depth coverage of the world of corporate law makes it a valuable resource for any Legal Officer, Chief or otherwise.
Business Law – Contains analyses of legal business cases as well as an exploration of ethical, global and corporate law in general.
Basic Legal Drafting – Great for either aspiring or experienced Legal Officers, this book discusses everything you need to know to prepare excellent legal documents of all kinds.
Legal Officer Resume Help
Take a look at these related job titles from our extensive online library of expert-approved resume samples: