Who is a Legal Counselor?
The other name for a legal counselor is a lawyer. A legal counselor can be either a person or an institution that advises people regarding legal matters, especially those which involve mediation of some sort.
The Meaning of Legal Counselling in North America
A lawyer in North America has the liberty to work in any court of law, which is why s/he is called a legal counselor. Usually large or mid-sized corporations hire such legal counselors to deal with the legal issues and controversies of the corporation. These lawyers take up the title of legal counsel as they work for companies otherwise, they have an educational background in law and are professional lawyers.
Countries like the United Kingdom used the term legal counsel for barristers which is now considered an outdated term and is not being used anymore. The term ‘legal counsel’ is used only for people who work in the legal departments of different firms.
The Difference Between a Lawyer and a Legal Counselor
There is only one difference between a legal counselor and a lawyer. A legal counselor does not work independently. S/he works for a particular firm and is responsible to tackle all the legal disputes of that firm. On the other hand, a lawyer is someone who can work independently as an advocate as and when s/he wants to. A lawyer can also have a firm of his/her own.
Legal counselors work on a salary basis with added incentives and tips when they perform well in any mediation or controversy. However, lawyers get paid according to the number of hours they work for. Their salaries also depend on the result of the cases they work for.
What Does a Legal Counselor Do?
All the legal matters of a company fall into the hands of a legal counselor. His/her works can be pointed out as:
- Outlining legal documents, based on contexts and clients, as per the need of the company.
- Dealing with legal issues with other people and companies.
- Knowing about the rules and regulations of different political and geographic domains.
- Drafting terms of settlement with the concerned people.
- Filing and documenting reports associated with Intellectual Property.
- Tax filing and documentation.
Who Should it Be, a Legal Counselor or a Lawyer?
There are different areas of practice in law, for example, negotiation, bankruptcy, immigration, intellectual property, real estate, etc. Lawyers do specializations in particular areas of practice of their choice. Those companies that do not have legal counselors go for different lawyers for different areas of practice depending on the kind of legal issue the company faces whereas a legal counselor is an all-in-one person.
A legal counselor deals with all the legal matters related to the company. He is a general lawyer fit for any area of legal practice. This way the company is relieved of paying different lawyers for different legal matters and hiring them. Individual lawyers cost more to a company than legal counselors as many of them will be needed for different issues. Therefore, those companies that need to handle legal issues on a daily basis should recruit legal counselors.