CLO stands for Chief Legal Officer. A CLO is the head of the legal department in an organization and part of the senior management. They tend to all legal matters internally as well as externally. Every organization needs to have a legal head with a team to avoid possible liabilities.
Basic responsibilities of a CLO
The CLO role and the number of members of their team depending on the size of the organization. The bigger the organization, the greater number of employees, the more at external risk an organization can be regarding matters. One of their major responsibilities is to make sure the company is filed under correct ordinances and are also filing their taxes accurately. They have to make sure that the company isn’t liable for any lawsuits legally. A CLO has to give accurate and up to date advice to the board members regarding filing and taxes.
A CLO has to ensure that the contracts that employees or clients sign are free of loopholes and can’t hurt the organization later on. They tend to translate legal jargon into layman language for the board and employees. Since the CLO is in charge of legal documents, it means they are in charge of a lot of paperwork. Usually, it’s done by their team; however, it falls on the CLO themselves in smaller organizations.
Every organization has to take risks to expand, which means before any such decisions occur, a CLO has to conduct research regarding plans and identify risks to save the company from potential liabilities. They offer legal advice and draw up papers regarding new ventures.
A CLO is authorized to conduct training to keep the employees apprised of legal proceedings and updates to avoid any internal or external misdemeanours. In case the company faces legal problems, the CLO represents the company in the court or during settlements. In a way, it can be said that the CLO represents the legal face of the company.
Importance of a CLO
There are rules and regulations in place for companies to follow, laws they need to abide by. An adequate CLO in place makes sure that the company does not face any clients’ lawsuits or face any mishaps regarding taxes. Having a CLO among senior management is crucial as they draw up contracts in a lawyer’s capacity and other legal documents.
How to become a CLO?
To become a CEO or a COO, qualifications don’t matter. However, to become a CLO, a law degree is a must, and a few years of experience in corporate law as not many organizations would want fresh graduate lawyers as their head of department. The CLO must have complete knowledge of the possible lawsuits a company may face in different situations and resolve legal problems.
A CLO should also have good communication skills and an aptitude for research and maintaining documents. And last but not least, it should be a good negotiator, mainly when the company deals with external clients.
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