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The Corporate Legal Department (internal) oversees a firm's litigation and compliance with internal and external regulations and laws. In some cases, an internal Corporate Legal Group may also handle intellectual property issues (trademarks, copyrights, patents), risk management and/or corporate governance. Certain legal functions may be outsourced to an external law firm.
Common Legal job titles: Chief Legal Officer (CLO)
The Corporate Governance Group is tasked with creating the system of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled (governed). They must balance the interests of and assign responsibilities to many groups of stakeholders in the company, including shareholders, board members, C-Suite staff, upper management (SVP, EVP, VP), customers, suppliers, government entities and community members.
Common Corporate Governance job titles: Paralegal, Document Production Specialist, Licensing Specialist
The Government, or Legislative, Affairs function is responsible for managing relationships with key local, state and federal government officials as well as trade associations. They develop response procedures for possible legislative issues that could arise and assist in developing educational programs for employees to help them to understand relevant public policy issues. In some cases, government affairs staff may manage political contributions and lobbyists.
Common Goverment Affairs job titles: Industry Relations Coordinator, Government Relations Specialist, Government Legislative Analyst
The Intellectual Property Group protects the company's intangible assets such as trade secrets, company slogans and logos (trademarks), inventions (patents), publications and writings (copyright). They are responsible for pursuing unauthorized use of these assets. They are also responsible for ensuring that the company does not infringe on the intellectual property of other companies or individuals.
Common Intellectual Property job titles: Patent Researcher, Knowledge Management Specialist, Intellectual Property Counsel, Intellectual Property Attorney, Intellectual Property Licensing Specialist, Patent Counsel
Legal Administrative Support
The Legal Administrative Support Group is responsible for setting up a structure in which all legal documents (i.e., contracts, NDAs, etc.) are created, shared, organized, stored and secured. They work to set up and maintain document management systems (DMS) that are able to handle both electronic and paper documents. The Legal Administrative Support Group also ensures that employees and business units have attained all necessary licenses/education to operate in their field and provide general support to the company's stable of attorneys.
Common Legal Administrative Support job titles: Paralegal, Document Production Specialist, Document Manager, Licensing Specialist
The Litigation Management Group performs the traditional courtroom work associated with lawsuits on behalf of the company. This includes research, discovery, depositions, settlements and trial work. Typically, the Litigation Management function deals with civil (non-criminal) cases.
Common Litigation Management job titles: Corporate Litigator, Litigation Support Analyst, Corporate Attorney, Corporate Legal Analyst
Mergers & Acquisitions
The Mergers and Acquisitions Group is tasked with defining strategies for potential mergers with other companies and buying out smaller companies. They work to research and define both the risks and advantages of purchasing or combining companies to achieve cost savings, expansion and improved capital structures.
Common Mergers & Acquisitions job titles: Staff Attorney, Business Analyst, Acquisition Analyst, Financial Analyst