What is a CLO?
A Chief Legal Officer is the highest-ranking corporate officer concerning all legal affairs of a corporation or agency. The Chief Legal Officer will typically hold the title of general counsel and will responsible for initiating all claims made for or against the underlying corporation. Furthermore, the CLO is responsible for drawing-up and affirming all contracts to ensure they meet legal requirements for a specific business deal. All CLO’s are certified lawyers; that being said, these individuals, in addition to possessing a high level of legal skill, possess considerable leadership skills. A CLO must be able to act decisively regarding all legal challenges that face a corporation. The CLO, in addition to this somewhat overwhelming of a task, must make sure that all actions initiated by the company are legal. The CLO is the chief lawyer of a legal department in a corporation or government agency. The CLO will typically report directly to the CEO for all matters concerning the corporation.
What does a Chief Legal Officer do for a Corporation?
A chief legal officer, or CLO, is responsible for overseeing all the legal aspects of a business. In the majority of instances, the CLO will advise the company on any changes in the law—both local and federal laws—and set up educational opportunities for employee training courses regarding legal matters where applicable. Furthermore, the Chief Legal Officer will also investigate issues of non-compliance and recommend oversight measures when such situations become problematic. In other instances, particularly those where suits are filed against the respective company, the CLO will act as the chief litigator and represent the corporation or organization.
The CLO is required to manage all documents and paperwork associated with the legal issues of the firm; the CLO should ensure that all regulatory codes are adhered to. Perhaps the most important (and difficult) role of the CLO revolves around updating him or herself with the constant fluctuations in legal code. The CLO must be aware of all changes in International, federal and local law and how such changes affect their company’s business. When a new law is passed or when an issue of noncompliance has been found, the CLO may decide to hold an educations outreach event. This event may be something as basic as preparing a document to explain the potential outcomes, the problem and a solution to correct the situation; or it could be something more extravagant, such as an educational workload or assembly so that each affected employee has the opportunity to attend a classroom environment to ask questions regarding the issue.
When a lawsuit arises, either against the company or filed by the company, the CLO may be an active participant in litigation. The CLO is responsible for making pretrial motions, deposing witnesses and taking the case to trial if need be. Furthermore, the CLO may also delegate another attorney to serve in the role as chief litigant, but may also act as an adviser on strategy throughout the process.