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There may be nothing more important to the work of the legal department — and its impact on the organization it serves — than the way it plans for and executes general counsel succession. To develop an understanding of how this process can work best, we turned to some of the people most familiar with it — public company GCs, executive search professionals, and a Fortune 100 human resources executive — 20 individuals in all. We also drew on the collective wisdom and robust discussions among nearly 30 other general counsel who attended ACC’s CLO Club “Talent Management and Succession Planning” program at the October 2017 Annual Meeting.

Identifying the candidates

To even be considered a candidate for the GC slot, the experts cited a dozen core competencies critical to succession planning — competencies that go well beyond those they needed just to get to the place where they’d be considered or this role, including:

Good listening skills. Potential candidates who like to hear themselves talk may be more readily noticed but less positively. PJ Harari, partner and global practice leader with Major, Lindsey & Africa, shares that candidates may be passed over because of this. “If you are doing all the talking, you are not getting all the right facts. You are not learning. You are not viewed as approachable, which impacts building strong relationships with others at the company, and you will not be viewed as a good leader,” Harari shares.

This article was originally published by Association of Corporate Counsel July 2018.

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