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legal team hires
7 min read

What to Look For in Your Next Legal Hire

Legal teams are often small, but mighty. According to ACC, smaller businesses tend to have around three legal staff, two of whom are lawyers. 

But as the company scales and its risk profile becomes more diverse, you need more legal talent to handle your increasing contract volume. And because your legal team will likely be among the smallest in your organization, it’s crucial to be selective about your legal hires. 

Not sure where to start? Here are five qualities to look for in a legal hire. 

Qualities of Excellent In-House Counsel

Don’t fall into the elitist trap of only hiring counsel that went to top law schools and spent the formative years of their legal career climbing the Big Law ladder. It’s very much like judging a book by its cover. 

Instead, when hiring in-house counsel, assess them by both hard and soft skills: by their experience as well as intangibles like culture fit and work ethic. 

Let’s break these down.

Area of Specialty and Experience

It’s in the best interest of smaller companies to hire legal generalists, rather than specialists. If you have a three-person legal team, it might be better to hire commercial counsel over, say, a data privacy specialist. 

You want to hire talent that can handle the different types of issues that might arise, rather than one who will always need to seek outside counsel for standard issues like commercial contract review.

Boost Your Legal Team's Reputation

Industry Expertise

For smaller teams, look for a candidate that is knowledgeable about your industry. As your company grows, this becomes a little less important since you’ll be in a better position to afford the learning curve. But to start, knowledge of your industry is important.

This is especially true if you work in a highly regulated industry, like biotech or pharmaceuticals. In these industries, there are so many nuances that are easy to miss for the uninitiated, and a more experienced lawyer can be better at mitigating risks. In-house counsel hires should be able to handle the specific needs of your company.

Innovative Problem Solver

In modern business, team members that can solve problems on their own are a major asset. The same goes for legal talent. Your next in-house legal hire should be someone who is good at meeting challenges head-on and finding innovative solutions without consistent hand-holding.

In the hiring process, find out their approach to problem solving. What is a major challenge they faced in their previous role, and how did they arrive at the solution? Legal departments these days are part of the strategic business unit of a company, and therefore they need to be able to address any number of business problems quickly and accurately.

Technology Competence

Your legal team needs to be able to move as quickly as the business does. Thankfully, this is doable because of technology like contract management software. When looking for your next in-house legal hire, take their competence and comfortability with technology into consideration.

While they don’t need to have previous experience working with specific software, understanding the basics of legal tech makes the learning curve less steep and shortens the onboarding time, allowing them to start delivering value quickly.

Culture Fit

And of course, like every other role you hire for in your company, it’s important that your legal hire is a good culture fit. Do they mesh well with your company’s overall values? Do they buy into your company’s mission and work well with your team? Are they a good communicator? 

If they have all the skills in the world but don’t fit in well with the rest of your employees, that’s not the best fit t.


Your next legal hire needs to be an asset to your team. Since most legal teams operate lean, the few team members you have should be able to provide value quickly. 

See how LinkSquares can provide value as a member of your legal team. Request a demo today.

Christina Sullivan is a Content Marketing Manager at LinkSquares.