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What it Takes to Find the Best General Counsel for a Company

Interview with Blandine CORDIER-PALASSE, News Release – 10/06/2013

General Counsel are increasingly becoming real business partners, involved in strategic decisions and projects in their organisation. Finding the right candidate for each position is critical since the legal function is to add value to and secure the business,” says Blandine Cordier-Palasse, Managing Partner, Cordier Conseil.

An executive search firm, Cordier Conseil will be present at the marcus evans European Corporate Counsel Summit 2013, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, 9 – 11 June 2013.

What recruitment issues do European Corporate Counsel face today?

The recruitment issues they are facing are more and more complex. We need to find lawyers who have a global vision of the business and activities of the company, who are very much business, results and costs oriented. They need to have a wide international, multi- cultural, multi-jurisdictional and multi sites team experience. Thanks to their understanding of the business and their global vision, they will be able to address the legal risks issues, put in place, implement, and appropriately monitor a compliance program.

What skills and competencies are required of this “new” type of General Counsel ?

General Counsel are increasingly becoming part of the executive committee involved in making strategic decisions. They have to anticipate what legal consequences business decisions may have. For that, they need to be part of the business and not just technical experts.

The General Counsel must have a good understanding of the company’s business, global perspective on the company’s role, the stakes involved and developments in the market.

They have to be familiar with the company’s overall strategy in order to align the compliance with the business. The General Counsel should understand the potential risks in order to anticipate them and secure the business.

They must have leadership and communication skills, independence, integrity, be charismatic, communicator and mentor, human and firm.

Legal and compliance are often considered as support functions. Whereas they are more about securing the business, creating value, and building a competitive advantage.

How do you determine what type of person a specific organisation needs ?

We grasp, seize, and understand the company’s needs: culture, competitive environment, and main objectives to define precisely the senior executive position and determine the ideal, suitable profile.

It very much depends on the organisation, culture, environment, and its business activities. It depends on the geographic areas its covers and what technical problems it is facing. I ask a lot of questions to assess the challenges the business, the company, the legal department especially are facing in order to determine the profile of the adequate candidate able to contribute and add value to the performance and success of the department and of the company.

What approach is required to find these individuals ?

An authentic consultative and insightful partnership is established with our clients. Reliable, trusting, sustainable and long-lasting relationships, built on our ability to actively listen to our clients and candidates. We advise in order to match the client’s expectations. Executive search is carried out via a direct approach with complete confidentiality.

Why should companies trust the expertise of firms, such as yours, to find the best person? Can’t they find the right candidate by themselves?

We have in-depth executive expertise of 20 years in various market sectors, industries, and cultural international environments.

We have then a proficient knowledge, expert opinion & assessment of sectors, industries and executive positions and a global approach of the company’s strategy. Companies may not have the time, the external vision, the operational experience, and benchmark to think about what kind of candidate is best for their company.

Legal and compliance are often considered as support functions whereas they are more about securing the business, creating value and building a competitive advantage.

Blandine CORDIER-PALASSE
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