Legal affairs professionals are typically lawyers who work in a company's in-house legal department, advising the company about legal issues related to business operations. Legal affairs professionals often work for banks, insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies, combining legal experience with strong business acumen.
Duties of Legal Affairs Professionals
Specific job duties of legal affairs staff vary by position level, but they typically include providing management with effective legal advice on business issues and company strategies, selecting and overseeing the work of outside counsel, drafting and editing complex commercial agreements, ensuring the company operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and helping prepare briefs, complaints, motions and other court documents. Other tasks may include advising the human resources department on employment law and labor and benefit issues, drafting and negotiating contracts and agreements, such as joint venture agreements, government contracts and sales contracts, and providing litigation support.
Qualifications of Legal Affairs Professionals
Employers typically seek candidates with a law degree and at least five years of legal experience at a private practice or an in-house legal department. Employers may also prefer experience managing the legal function of a company and overseeing outside legal counsel.
Skills of Legal Affairs Professionals
Employers may also seek a number of personal attributes, such as the ability to handle confidential matters with discretion, integrity and ethics and business acumen. Candidates will also possess excellent legal and communications skills, the ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment, and strong analytical and negotiation skills.
Compensation for Legal Affairs Professionals
The median salaries for attorneys was $113, 530 in 2012, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,310, while the highest 10% earned more than $187,000.
BLS predicts a 10 percent growth for attorneys' positions between 2012 and 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. However, predictions also suggest that more work will be handled by paralegals, rather than lawyers, as companies seek cost-saving options.