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How to hire your first legal team member

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How to hire your first legal team member

Building a business is fun…? Well, sometimes, hiring people can be one of the fun parts. Especially when it comes to legal and compliance right? An expanding business with often have growing pains that necessitates having to navigate complex legal landscapes. Whether it’s ensuring compliance with regulations or safeguarding intellectual property, having a dedicated legal team member can be invaluable. In this quick guide, we’ll explore how to hire your first legal team member, ensuring that your business is well-equipped to handle its legal obligations and challenges effectively.

1. Understanding the Need for a Legal Team Member

Importance of Legal Compliance

Maintaining compliance with laws and regulations is essential for any business to operate ethically and avoid potential legal repercussions. This is especially true for certain types of businesses. From employment laws to industry-specific regulations, businesses must adhere to a bunch of legal requirements. Knowing when you need a legal team member can either be a purely financial question – are we spending more on external legal help then it would cost to hire someone? Or a skill based one – are there legal requirements that we have which require and internal person or a person who understands our product and industry in a much deeper level?

Legal Support for Business Growth

If you’re faced by the financial question then you’re probably starting to either burst at the seams with deals coming in or you’re needing your legal help to be much more involved in deals. As businesses expand, they encounter new legal complexities. From negotiating contracts to resolving disputes, having legal expertise on hand (and one that knows your product) can facilitate growth by mitigating risks and seizing opportunities.

2. Identifying Your Legal Needs

Assessing Current Legal Challenges

Begin by evaluating your current legal challenges. Are there ongoing disputes, contract negotiations, or compliance issues that require attention? Understanding your immediate legal needs will help you define the role of your future legal team member. This should be done on a product level (what data does our product use for example), industry level (what compliance issues are their?), team level (what issue do I have with employment contracts) and business level (do I need help structuring my business?).

Anticipating Future Legal Needs

Consider the growth trajectory of your business and anticipate future legal needs. Will you be expanding into new markets? Launching new products? Raising cash? Identifying potential legal challenges in advance will ensure that your legal team member is prepared to support your business’s growth.

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3. Determining the Role of Your Legal Team Member

Legal Expertise Required

Define the specific legal expertise required for the role. Depending on your business’s industry and activities, you may need someone with expertise in contract law, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, or litigation.

Responsibilities and Duties

Outline the responsibilities and duties of the legal team member. Will they be responsible for drafting contracts, conducting legal research, or representing the company in legal proceedings? Clearly defining expectations will help attract suitable candidates.

4. Searching for Candidates

Traditional Methods

Traditional methods of recruitment, such as advertising in legal publications or leveraging professional networks, can help you identify potential candidates with relevant experience and qualifications.

Utilizing Online Platforms

Online platforms, such as LinkedIn or Contract Sent’s legal directory, provide access to a broader pool of candidates. Utilize these platforms to reach qualified professionals actively seeking legal positions.

5. Screening and Interviewing

Essential Qualifications

When screening candidates, prioritize essential qualifications such as relevant legal experience, education, and licensure. Look for candidates who demonstrate a solid understanding of your industry and its legal requirements.

Assessing Cultural Fit

In addition to technical qualifications, assess candidates for cultural fit within your organization. Consider factors such as communication style, teamwork, and alignment with your company’s values and mission.

6. Making the Decision

Evaluating Candidates

Evaluate candidates based on their qualifications, experience, and fit with your organization. Consider conducting multiple rounds of interviews and soliciting input from key stakeholders to ensure a thorough evaluation process.

Considering $$$ Constraints

Balance the qualifications of candidates with your budgetary constraints. While hiring a seasoned legal professional may come with a higher salary, consider the long-term value they can bring to your business.

7. Onboarding Your Legal Team Member

Orientation and Training

Please – please – please (note the three pleases) – give your new legal team member a demo of your product during their onboarding. The number of legal team members that don’t understand the product they are writing contracts for is concerning. Make sure you provide comprehensive orientation and training to familiarize your new legal team member with your business operations, policies, and procedures. Ensure they have access to necessary resources, such as legal databases and software tools.

Integration into Company Culture

Facilitate the integration of your legal team member into your company culture. Encourage collaboration with other departments and foster a supportive environment where they can thrive. Make sure you set up legal ops processes for them to work closely with your sales and finance teams.

Ensuring Success and Retention

Providing Necessary Resources

Support your legal team member by providing the necessary resources and support to succeed in their role. Whether it’s additional training opportunities or access to external legal counsel, invest in their professional development.

Offering Growth Opportunities

Provide opportunities for growth and advancement within your organization. Recognize and reward their contributions, and encourage ongoing professional development to keep them engaged and motivated.

Hiring your first legal team member is a significant milestone for any growing business. By understanding how to hire your first legal team member, defining the role effectively, and conducting a thorough recruitment process, you can find the right candidate to support your business’s legal objectives. With the right legal team member in place, you can navigate legal complexities with confidence and focus on driving your business forward.

FAQ’s

1. How do I determine the specific legal expertise required for my business?

Assess your business activities and industry regulations to identify areas of legal risk and compliance requirements. Consult with legal experts to determine the most critical areas where legal support is needed.

2. What qualities should I look for when screening candidates for a legal position?

Look for candidates with relevant experience, education, and licensure in the areas of law relevant to your business. Additionally, assess their communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and cultural fit within your organization.

3. How can I ensure that my legal team member stays up-to-date with evolving legal regulations?

Encourage ongoing professional development through seminars, workshops, and industry conferences. Provide access to legal resources and publications to help them stay informed about changes in laws and regulations.

4. What role does company culture play in hiring a legal team member?

Company culture influences job satisfaction and retention. Look for candidates who align with your company’s values and can collaborate effectively with other team members, fostering a positive work environment.

5. What steps can I take to retain my legal team member in the long term?

Offer opportunities for growth and advancement within the organization. Recognize their contributions and provide a supportive work environment that fosters professional development and career progression.


Contract Sent is not a law firm, this post and subsequent pages on this website do not constitute or contain legal advice. To understand whether or not the ideas and guidance on the Contract Sent website is applicable to your business, you should consult with a licensed attorney. The use and accessing of any resources contained within the Contract Sent site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the user and Contract Sent.

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