As a new or independent General Counsel, building a strong legal department can be a daunting task. However, with the right approach, it is possible to establish a successful and effective team. Here are some tips to help you build a strong legal department:

Define your goals and objectives:

Before you start hiring, take the time to define your department’s goals and objectives. This will help you create a clear roadmap for your department’s growth and ensure that everyone on your team is aligned on what you’re trying to achieve. You could even consider creating a mission statement for your department that encapsulates its purpose and values. This will serve as a guiding principle for your team as you move forward.

Hire the right people:

The people you hire are the foundation of your legal department. Look for candidates with the right skills and experience, but also consider their personality and work style. You want to create a team that has the right mix of expertise and chemistry. Consider conducting behavioral interviews or personality assessments to ensure that you are hiring individuals that will thrive in your organization’s culture.

Develop a strong network:

Building a strong network is essential for any General Counsel. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with other legal professionals. This will help you stay up-to-date on the latest legal trends and build relationships that can benefit your department in the long run. Additionally, establishing partnerships with other departments within your organization to foster cross-functional collaboration and gain a better understanding of the business as a whole is key to the success of any legal department. Despite how busy you are, take the time to build strong, personal relationships with the business teams. This leads to greater understanding of each other’s pain points and therefore better service and greater synergies.

Foster a culture of collaboration:

Collaboration is key to building a strong legal department. Encourage your team to work together and share knowledge and expertise. This will help you build a more cohesive team and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. Consider setting up regular team-building activities or knowledge-sharing sessions to promote collaboration within your department.

Invest in training and development:

As the legal landscape evolves, it’s important to invest in the training and development of your team. This will help them stay up-to-date on the latest legal trends and best practices, and ensure that your department remains competitive. Consider offering training programs, attending conferences, or even bringing in outside experts to provide specialized training to your team.


By following these tips, you can build a strong legal department that is aligned with your organization’s goals and objectives as well as your own goals and objectives for the department. Try to stay flexible and adaptable as the legal landscape evolves, and always be on the lookout for new opportunities to grow and develop your team. Building the department of your dreams, or at least the department of your company’s is a long-term strategy and long-term investment that requires ongoing effort and attention. With dedication and perseverance, you will build a legal department that is a valuable asset to your organization and a fulfilling career option for your team.

If you are seeking comprehensive assistance in building a world-class in-house legal department, our General Counsel 101 program, led by our experienced General Counsel, can be of great help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in your growth!