A chief legal officer (CLO) is the highest-ranking corporate officer concerning legal affairs of a corporation or agency. Chief legal officers typically hold the title of general counsel.
Their aptitude should not be limited to the law. In addition to a high level of legal skill, CLOs of corporations should have leadership skills. They must be able to act decisively regarding legal challenges that face a corporation, and competently advise other C level officers. They make sure all actions by the company are legal and typically report to the Board of Directors.
The CLO/General Counsel typically reports directly to the CEO.1 His/her duties to the entire company involve overseeing and identifying the legal issues in all departments and their interrelation, including engineering, design, marketing, sales, distribution, credit, finance, human resources, production, as well as corporate governance and business policy. This would naturally require in most cases reporting directly to the owner or CEO overseeing the very business on which the CLO is expected to be familiar with and advise on the most confidential level. This requires the CLO/General Counsel to work closely with each of the other officers, and their departments, to appropriately be aware and advise.
- ^ The 2011 In-House Counsel Compensation Survey, Question 10, Profiles of In-House Counsel 2006 Who Does Your Counsel Report To? (2001) (The Majority Report to the CEO)