The Role of an Associate/In-House Legal Counsel

July 5, 2024

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What is an Associate Corporate Counsel?

An associate corporate counsel, also can be referred to as an in-house legal counsel, is typically an entry to mid-level in-house attorney within a company’s legal department. Their role within the overall in-house team is to help maintain a robust legal department, as they are key in helping to distribute the legal workload to allow more senior attorneys to focus on more complex matters that require more expertise. The role of the associate corporate counsel must also handle day-to-day legal tasks and projects. 

These attorneys often develop deep knowledge of the company’s specific industry, operations, and legal needs over time, making them a great collaborator with other departments. In this role, they work closely with other departments like HR, finance, sales, etc. to bridge the gap between legal considerations and business objectives. Associate corporate counsels are able to gain a deeper understanding of business operations, making them a valuable member of the legal team.

The in-house legal team is composed of various roles, each with specific responsibilities that contribute to the overall legal health and strategy of the organization. Below are other related roles within in-house legal teams:

Associate Corporate Counsel General Counsel
Head of Legal & Legal Department Chief Legal Officer
Corporate Paralegal Contract Paralegal

What are the responsibilities of an Associate Corporate Counsel?

Though the responsibilities of an associate corporate counsel may vary depending on the specific company and industry, they generally encompass a wide range of legal  tasks aimed at supporting the organization's operations and mitigating legal risks. They can include: 

  • Risk management: Within this role, these attorneys engage in issue spotting, risk assessment, and problem-solving on a daily basis to protect the organization’s legal interests. They also are constantly monitoring legal and regulatory trends and identifying emerging risks. 
  • Contract management: An associate corporate counsel is responsible for drafting, reviewing, and negotiating commercial contracts, partnerships, and sales agreements. 
  • Compliance support: They must ensure compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and company policies. 
  • Legal advice: Providing legal advice and support to various business units within the company is an important aspect of this role. This allows them to develop relationships throughout the company and tailor legal advice to the unique needs of different departments. 
  • Corporate Governance: This role is responsible for assisting with the preparation and maintenance of corporate records, including board minutes and resolutions.
  • Litigation Support: An Associate Corporate Counsel assists in managing and coordinating with external counsel on litigation matters, including the preparation of documents such as pleadings, discovery responses, and motions.
  • Intellectual Property: These attorneys expertly manage the company's intellectual property portfolio, safeguarding patents, trademarks, and copyrights while fiercely protecting and enforcing these valuable assets.
  • Policy Development: An Associate Corporate Counsel aids in crafting and implementing company policies and procedures, ensuring they evolve to meet the ever-changing legal and regulatory landscape.

In addition to these responsibilities, Associate Corporate Counsel may also be involved in various other legal and business matters as required by the company.

How can technology help Associate Corporate Counsels advance in their role?

Associate corporate counsel ultimately wants to embrace innovative legal practices and technologies to streamline their legal operations that will help them achieve professional growth and progression within their field. These individuals are always looking for ways to continuously enhance their legal expertise and skills across various specialized areas in the legal field while making a meaningful impact within their organizations by navigating complex legal landscapes. 

Adopting legal counsel software can help associate corporate counsels readily meet their goals by allowing them to significantly reduce the amount of manual tasks associated with their typical workloads. For example, matter management can help these attorneys by centralizing documents and providing better visibility into legal matters that come through the departments. This technology facilitates better information sharing among team members and other departments, helping with relationship building and cross-departmental communication. These systems also have dashboards and reporting that provide full visibility into the status and time it takes to resolve a legal matter. 

Other technology like legal workflow software automates routine tasks and processes, allowing associate corporate counsel to work on more interesting projects. Legal AI chatbot software on the other hand can handle basic legal inquiries from employees, reducing the counsel's workload on routine questions. This helps to improve response times to internal clients' legal requests. 

How can Checkbox help? 

Checkbox provides legal counsel software through intake and matter management for in-house counsel. Our platform centralizes all legal matters, documents, and files to provide lawyers with a single source of truth for their legal operations. This comprehensive view helps them to gain visibility into legal performance and key metrics to assess the workload of their legal departments. 

Discover how Checkbox can help streamline the work of associate corporate counsels by exploring our interactive demo to see the benefits firsthand. 

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