The beginning days, weeks and months as a new general counsel or chief legal officer are vital to success. First impressions and chaos control count, and there’s a lot of groundwork to cover when settling in to a position, whether it’s at a different company or the result of a promotion.
Establish Relationships With Peers
Whether the new GCs are joining a business for the first time or were promoted internally, they immediately should start to cement relationships with other members of the C-suite, with a focus on the CEO, said Michael Sachs, a partner in the Chicago office of Major Lindsey & Africa who places attorneys at all levels in corporate and university legal departments.“Having that strong relationship of trust and credibility is paramount. Without it, it’s probably not going to be a good pathway. With it, the job could be terrific and achieve amazing results,” he said.
Demonstrate Credibility and Leadership
Without that respect, “you could have a revolt on your hands,” Sachs said. “Or if you’re not working successfully with them, they won’t achieve the results you want.”
Be a Team Player
“It’s important to build relationships with every person around you that’s in your orbit,” Sachs said.
Michael Sachs is a Partner in the Chicago office of Major, Lindsey & Africa. He specializes in placing attorneys at all levels—from junior counsel to general counsel—in corporate and university legal departments.
Mike is a frequent lecturer at law schools on the topic of career planning and development. He has also authored several articles concerning challenges and opportunities in corporate legal recruiting. Mike has written two screenplays and is an avid runner, tennis player and bowler.
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