Let's Play the In-House Lawyer Name Game

Source: Corporate Counsel

By Rebekah Mintzer

Are you looking for a (deep breath now) senior vice president, general counsel, head of M&A and corporate secretary? How about an executive vice president, chief legal officer and general counsel? Sometimes it's hard to decide what's longer: the search for the perfect candidate or the long-winded title.

It seems as though in-house counsel, particularly those toward the top of the food chain, possess titles that wouldn't fit on most business cards. But while it might be tempting to assume that using all of these names for one lawyer is redundant or silly, experts say that there is a method behind the naming madness.

"It's more a matter of internal status than anything," said Bob Graff, a partner and recruiter at legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, who explains that lawyers taking an in-house job want to know that they are aligned with their peers. If the head of another department is an SVP, the general counsel might be disappointed if he or she only gets VP status.

Giving a lower-level VP status to the head of legal can also be perceived as a statement about the legal team's standing within the larger organization. "It can send a signal that compliance or legal are not as highly regarded and as important," Graff says.

Read more of this feature at Corporate Counsel.

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