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5 General Counsel Resume Examples...

5 General Counsel Resume Examples & Guide for 2024

Your general counsel resume should showcase your extensive legal kNowledge. Highlight your experience in managing legal risks and providing expert advice. Demonstrate on your resume your ability to lead a legal team. Ensure that it reflects your excellent negotiation and communication skills.

All resume examples in this guide

General Counsel often struggle to concisely articulate their broad range of responsibilities and achievements across various legal domains on their resume. Our guide can assist by providing clear strategies and examples on how to effectively summarize complex legal experiences, and highlight key accomplishments in a manner that is both comprehensive and engaging to potential employers.

Our general counsel guide will help you perfect your resume by explaining you how to:

  • Alight your general counsel resume with the role you're applying for ensuring it will be read by the applicant tracking system.
  • Tailor your specific general counsel experience to get the attention of recruiters.
  • List your relevant education to impress hiring managers.
  • Discover job-winning general counsel professional resume examples to inspire writing yours.

Crafting an impeccable general counsel resume format in four steps

Your general counsel resume format should be both strategic and reader-friendly. Here's a concise guide to help you achieve that:

  • Choose a format that aligns with the job's requirements. If your expertise is directly relevant, the reverse-chronological format is ideal. If you're focusing more on skills, consider the functional or hybrid formats.
  • Header: Ensure it's populated with accurate contact details and any relevant portfolio links.
  • Length: A one-page resume is standard, but if you have extensive experience, extending to two pages is acceptable.
  • File type: To maintain formatting consistency, always opt for PDF.
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Pro tip

If you don't happen to have that much relevant experience for the role, you could select a different format for your resume. Popular choices include:

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Essential components for your general counsel resume:

  • Header: Feature your name prominently. If you have a notable degree or certification, append it next to your name. Include contact details, a link to your portfolio, and a concise headline.
  • Summary or Objective: Align your professional trajectory and standout achievements with the desired role.
  • Experience: Craft concise bullet points, highlighting tangible successes and contributions.
  • Skills: Showcase them throughout your resume and consider a dedicated sidebar for emphasis.
  • Education & Certifications: Reinforce your credibility and demonstrate your commitment to the industry.
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What recruiters want to see on your resume:

  • Relevant Legal Expertise: Recruiters look for candidates with experience in areas relevant to the company's industry and operations. This could include corporate law, commercial law, intellectual property, compliance or litigation.
  • Leadership Experience: Given that a General Counsel often leads a team of lawyers and legal staff, experience in a leadership role is highly valued.
  • Business Acumen: As a part of the executive team, a General Counsel needs to understand business strategy and operations. Evidence of this understanding, perhaps through an MBA or work experience outside of the legal sector, can be quite appealing.
  • Communication Skills: Excellent communication skills are essential, as the General Counsel must effectively communicate complex legal concepts to others in the organization. Recruiters will look for evidence of these skills in the resume and during interviews.
  • Crisis Management: The ability to handle high-pressure situations such as regulatory investigations or major lawsuits is crucial. Evidence of successful crisis management can distinguish a candidate in the eyes of recruiters.

Optimizing the experience section of your general counsel resume

The experience section is pivotal—it bridges the gap between your qualifications and the job's requirements.

To craft an impactful general counsel experience section, consider these guidelines:

  • Review the job posting to identify key requirements and align your past roles with these needs.
  • Go beyond listing skills—demonstrate their impact through quantifiable achievements.
  • Exclude roles that don't enhance your application or showcase relevant skills.
  • While technical expertise is crucial, also highlight soft skills that add value to your role.
  • Use action verbs to articulate your accomplishments and the skills employed to achieve them.


Below, we've provided general counsel resume samples to inspire your experience section, ensuring it adheres to industry best practices.

Work Experience
Senior General Counsel
ABC Corporation
2015-2020
  • Provided strategic legal counsel to executive team resulting in successful resolution of complex litigation cases.
  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive compliance program resulting in a 30% reduction in regulatory violations.
  • Negotiated and drafted various commercial agreements, including mergers and acquisitions, resulting in $10 million cost savings.
  • Led a team of attorneys and supervised outside counsel in managing intellectual property portfolio, resulting in increased patent filings by 40%.
  • Developed and conducted training programs on legal and compliance matters for employees, resulting in improved understanding and adherence to policies.
Work Experience
Corporate Counsel
XYZ Incorporated
2008-2014
  • Managed all legal aspects of corporate governance and ensured compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Drafted and negotiated complex commercial contracts resulting in favorable terms and conditions for the company.
  • Represented the company in negotiations with external parties, resulting in successful partnerships and joint ventures.
  • Advised senior management on legal risks and provided guidance on strategic decisions, resulting in improved business outcomes.
  • Developed and implemented corporate policies and procedures, resulting in streamlined operations and enhanced risk management.
Work Experience
Assistant General Counsel
DEF Enterprises
2019-Ongoing
  • Lead legal advisor for high-profile merger and acquisition transactions, resulting in successful completion of deals worth over $500 million.
  • Managed the due diligence process and identified key legal risks, resulting in informed decision-making by the executive team.
  • Collaborated with cross-functional teams to develop and implement data privacy and cybersecurity policies, resulting in compliance with international regulations.
  • Provided guidance on intellectual property matters, including patent prosecution and trademark enforcement, resulting in increased protection of company assets.
  • Developed and delivered comprehensive legal training programs, resulting in increased awareness and understanding of legal obligations among employees.
Work Experience
Litigation Counsel
GHI Group
2011-2015
  • Managed and oversaw all aspects of litigation, including case strategy, discovery, and settlement negotiations, resulting in favorable outcomes for the company.
  • Advised on employment law matters, including contract negotiation and termination issues, resulting in reduced legal risks and improved employee relations.
  • Drafted and reviewed various agreements and contracts, resulting in enhanced protection of company interests.
  • Conducted internal investigations into allegations of misconduct, resulting in the implementation of corrective measures and improved ethics within the organization.
  • Provided legal support for corporate transactions, including due diligence and contract review, resulting in successful deal closures.
Work Experience
Lead Counsel
JKL Corporation
2017-2022
  • Managed a team of attorneys and paralegals, providing guidance and mentorship, resulting in increased productivity and professional growth.
  • Developed and implemented risk management strategies, resulting in a 20% reduction in legal disputes and associated costs.
  • Negotiated complex commercial agreements and partnerships, resulting in new business opportunities and revenue growth.
  • Provided legal advice and support to the product development team, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and intellectual property protection.
  • Managed outside counsel relationships and litigation matters, resulting in cost-effective representation and successful case resolutions.
Work Experience
International Counsel
MNO International
2012-2016
  • Advised on international trade and customs matters, ensuring compliance with import/export regulations, resulting in smooth operations across global markets.
  • Participated in negotiations with government agencies and external stakeholders, resulting in favorable outcomes and reduced legal barriers.
  • Developed and implemented anti-corruption policies and training programs, resulting in enhanced compliance and minimized risk of legal violations.
  • Managed a portfolio of trademarks and patents, including registration and enforcement activities, resulting in increased brand protection.
  • Provided legal support for corporate restructuring initiatives, resulting in improved efficiency and cost savings.
Work Experience
Associate General Counsel
PQR Technologies
2018-Ongoing
  • Led cross-functional teams in conducting internal investigations into alleged ethical violations, resulting in appropriate disciplinary actions and process improvements.
  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive compliance program, resulting in increased adherence to legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Negotiated and drafted complex commercial agreements, including licensing and partnership agreements, resulting in revenue growth and risk mitigation.
  • Provided legal advice and guidance on employment law matters, resulting in fair and compliant workplace practices.
  • Managed outside counsel relationships and litigation matters, resulting in efficient and cost-effective legal representation.
Work Experience
Technology Counsel
STU Technologies
2016-2020
  • Managed the intellectual property portfolio, including patent prosecution and trademark enforcement, resulting in increased value and protection of company assets.
  • Drafted and negotiated a wide range of commercial agreements, including technology licenses and service contracts, resulting in favorable terms and risk allocation.
  • Provided legal advice and support for corporate governance matters, resulting in compliance with regulatory requirements and best practices.
  • Developed and implemented data privacy and security policies, resulting in enhanced protection of customer data and compliance with global privacy regulations.
  • Managed and coordinated outside counsel in litigation matters, resulting in successful case resolutions and cost savings.
Work Experience
Employment Counsel
VWX Group
2009-2012
  • Advised on labor and employment law matters, including hiring, terminations, and employment contracts, resulting in compliant and fair employment practices.
  • Participated in negotiations and drafting of commercial agreements, ensuring protection of company interests and compliance with legal requirements.
  • Managed the resolution of contractual disputes and claims, resulting in timely settlements and reduced financial exposure.
  • Assisted with mergers and acquisitions due diligence and integration processes, resulting in smooth transitions and successful deal closures.
  • Collaborated with cross-functional teams to develop and implement corporate policies, resulting in consistent and ethical business practices.
Work Experience
Commercial Counsel
YZ Corporation
2014-2018
  • Led a team of attorneys in providing legal support for complex commercial transactions, resulting in successful deal closures and revenue growth.
  • Negotiated and drafted a variety of agreements, including supply contracts and distribution agreements, resulting in favorable terms and risk allocation.
  • Advised on regulatory compliance matters, including FDA regulations and product labeling requirements, resulting in market entry without legal issues.
  • Managed intellectual property portfolio, including patent filings and trademark enforcement, resulting in increased protection of company innovations and brand.
  • Provided legal advice and guidance to senior management on strategic initiatives, resulting in informed decision-making and minimized legal risks.

Quantifying impact on your resume

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  • Include the total budget managed in your role as General Counsel to show fiscal responsibility and strategic financial management.
  • List the number of contracts or agreements negotiated and drafted, indicating your extensive practical experience and ability to handle complex transactions.
  • Highlight the number of legal disputes successfully resolved, showcasing your expertise in dispute resolution and risk mitigation.
  • Indicate the size of the legal team you've supervised, demonstrating your leadership skills and capacity to manage resources effectively.
  • Quantify any reduction in outside counsel costs under your leadership, demonstrating cost-saving initiatives and financial acumen.
  • Enumerate the number of significant compliance projects led, showing proficiency in regulatory matters and process improvements.
  • Document any percentage decrease in company litigation due to implemented policies, demonstrating your proactive approach and impact on business operations.
  • Quantify any increase in department efficiency or productivity through measures or metrics you’ve implemented, displaying your operational effectiveness and strategic thinking.
  • Navigating the resume landscape without experience

    It's not uncommon for candidates lacking direct experience to secure entry-level positions. Their resumes often share these characteristics:

    • They opt for a functional or skill-based format, emphasizing strengths over chronological work history.
    • Transferrable skills, gleaned from diverse life and work experiences, take center stage.
    • The objective section melds career highlights, the motivation behind the application, and the unique value proposition for the role.
    • Skills are tailored to meet basic job prerequisites while also spotlighting any specialized expertise.
    pro tip icon
    Pro tip

    Use the SOAR (Situation - Action - Results) method for each of your general counsel experience bullets. Reflect on specific challenges you've addressed, the actions you took, and the outcomes. This approach also preps you for potential interview questions.

    Highlighting your general counsel skills

    Recruiters look for a mix of technical and personal skills in your general counsel resume.

    Technical or hard skills are specific tools or software you use for the job. They're easy to spot through your education and work achievements.

    On the other hand, soft skills like communication or adaptability show how you work with others. They come from both your personal and work life.

    To showcase your skills:

    • Have a skills section for technical abilities and another for personal strengths.
    • Be clear about your skills. Name the exact tools you use and describe how you've used your soft skills.
    • Avoid common terms like "Microsoft Office" unless the job specifically asks for them.
    • Choose up to ten key skills and organize them in different sections of your resume.

    Make your resume pop with top technical and personal skills that recruiters value.

    Top skills for your general counsel resume
    HARD SKILLS

    Legal Compliance

    Contract Negotiation

    Corporate Governance

    Litigation Management

    Intellectual Property Law

    Employment Law

    Risk Management

    Crisis Management

    Mergers & Acquisitions

    Regulatory Affairs

    SOFT SKILLS

    Leadership

    Communication

    Ethical Decision Making

    Strategic Thinking

    Problem Solving

    Negotiation

    Attention to Detail

    Time Management

    Teamwork

    Resilience

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    Pro tip

    If the job emphasizes team or organizational culture, dedicate a section of your resume to underscore your strengths and achievements. Top-tier general counsel candidates also highlight their alignment with a company's values and culture.

    Detailing your education and top general counsel certifications on your resume

    Your education section can reflect a variety of skills and experiences relevant to the position.

    • List post-secondary qualifications, noting the institution and duration.
    • If you're currently studying, mention your expected graduation date.
    • Exclude qualifications unrelated to the role or industry.
    • If relevant, delve into your educational background, especially if it was research-intensive.

    Including both relevant education and certifications on your general counsel resume can set you apart. It not only showcases your qualifications but also your commitment to the profession.

    When listing these on your general counsel resume, make sure to:

    • Highlight degrees and certificates relevant to the role.
    • Mention the awarding institution for credibility.
    • Include the start and end dates, or if the education/certification is ongoing.
    • If relevant, incorporate a few keywords from the job advert within the description of the certification or degree.

    If you have additional certifications not directly related to the role, consider placing them towards the end of your resume. This way, they can be viewed as personal interests rather than core qualifications.

    For a quick update, check out our list of popular general counsel certifications curated by the Enhancv team.

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    Pro tip

    Listing your relevant degrees or certificates on your general counsel resume is a win-win situation. Not only does it hint at your technical capabilities in the industry, but also at a range of soft skills, including perseverance, adaptability, and motivation.

    Choosing between a resume summary or objective

    Many general counsel candidates ponder whether to include a resume summary or objective.

    Here's a breakdown:

    • A Resume objective outlines your career aspirations. It tells recruiters why you're applying and the value you can bring.
    • A Resume summary offers a snapshot of your significant achievements, giving a quick overview of your expertise.

    New professionals might lean towards an objective, while seasoned experts might prefer a summary. Whichever you choose, ensure it's tailored to the role.

    For inspiration, review examples from established general counsel professionals.

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    Resume summary and objective examples for a general counsel resume

    • Seasoned lawyer boasting over a decade of legal experience in tech companies. Proven ability to handle complex litigation matters and facilitate corporate transactions. Recognized for delivering clear and thorough advice that has consistently achieved optimal business outcomes, such as reducing potential liability by 75% in the last role.
    • Accomplished attorney with a track record of success in multinational corporations, offering 15 years of expertise in negotiation, risk management, and regulatory compliance. Known for the impressive accomplishment of successfully defending six high stakes litigations without loss.
    • Experienced financial advisor transitioning into general counsel, bringing strong analytical skill set, comprehensive understanding of corporate governance, and an MBA. Previously led a team that managed $500M in assets, demonstrating sharp strategic decision-making abilities.
    • Former HR executive eager to leverage deep understanding of employment law and employee relations into a general counsel role. Holds a JD degree and has successfully settled numerous labor disputes and developed effective HR policies in previous roles.
    • JD graduate with top academic honors seeking to launch a career in corporate law as General Counsel. Combines a solid foundation in law with enthusiasm for ensuring business integrity and adherence to regulations. Eager to apply legal research skills to mitigate potential risks and support business growth.
    • Motivated professional with a master's degree in international business law aiming to transition into a challenging General Counsel role. Aims to offer excellent interpersonal skills, a sharp analytical mind, and a profound understanding of global trade regulations to assist in legal decision making.

    Extra sections to include in your general counsel resume

    What should you do if you happen to have some space left on your resume, and want to highlight other aspects of your profile that you deem are relevant to the role?

    Add to your general counsel resume some of these personal and professional sections:

    • Passions/Interests - to detail how you spend both your personal and professional time, invested in various hobbies;
    • Awards - to present those niche accolades that make your experience unique;
    • Publications - an excellent choice for professionals, who have just graduated from university or are used to a more academic setting;
    • < a href="https://enhancv.com/blog/volunteering-on-resume/"> Volunteering - your footprint within your local (or national/ international) community.

    Key takeaways

    • Effective general counsel resumes are well-structured, weaving a compelling career narrative.
    • Choose between a resume summary or objective based on your experience and the impression you aim to create.
    • If lacking in direct experience, leverage other roles, such as internships or contract positions, to demonstrate alignment with the general counsel role.
    • Be discerning in listing hard and soft skills, ensuring relevance and showcasing outcomes.
    • Always tailor your resume for each general counsel application, ensuring alignment with job requirements.
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