What are the best legal job titles for you and your team? I reviewed 85 legal job titles searched for by candidates (and employers!) to find the best titles for you to choose from. This is the latest chapter in Ongig’s series called Job Titles: The Definitive Guide.
In this article, you’ll find:
- Chief Legal Officer vs General Counsel — Are they the same legal position?
- What does the Legal department do? — The types of tasks completed by Legal.
- Legal Job Titles Hierarchy — The standard org chart for legal department positions with examples from each of the major 6 legal job levels. I include examples of top employers and what they call their titles.
- The Top 20 Most-Searched-For Legal Titles — A column chart of the top 20 legal positions that candidates search for on Google.
- 10 Legal Job Titles and Descriptions — A list of the top 10 legal job titles and descriptions that employers request.
- Creative Legal Job Titles — A couple of funny job titles we found for legal professionals.
Chief Legal Officer vs General Counsel
The legal job titles Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel are sometimes used interchangeably, but they also carry out different roles depending on the size and type of company. Study.com says:
“The Chief Legal Officer is a top executive who works with other chief executives to make business decisions promoting growth. The General Counsel is primarily an advisor who aims to limit the company’s legal risk.”
For example at Crowdstrike, Paul Shinn is the Chief Legal Officer and Cathleen Anderson is the General Counsel. Both are high-level leadership roles, but they manage different parts of the legal processes at Crowdstrike.
A Chief Legal Officer might, for example, work on acquiring intellectual property/patents to launch new products. A General Counsel at that same company might be focused on avoiding getting sued for intellectual property misuse.
What does the Legal department do?
During our search for the most popular legal positions, we found 6 types of tasks managed by a company legal department. Depending on the industry and the company size, the legal team is responsible for one or more of these tasks:
- Intellectual Property
- Regulatory Compliance
- Contract Management
- Legal Conflict Management
A smaller start-up company may only have a single General Counsel or a Legal Consultant, but larger companies often have an extensive legal team. A legal team structure varies at private law firms as well. For this article, we focus on legal job titles at top companies, but also include a few top-searched legal titles for law firms and courts. Let’s have a look at a typical legal hierarchy.
Legal Job Title Hierarchy
Below is a legal job titles hierarchy chart with top seniority listed at the top, down to entry-level jobs at the bottom:
- Chief Legal Officer (CLO) – Chief Compliance Officer, Chief IP Counsel, Head of Compliance, Head of Legal
- Vice President Legal Affairs – General Counsel, Compliance Counsel, Legal Executive, Vice President Head of Privacy
- Legal Director – Director of Legal Affairs, Legal Services Director, Regulatory Affairs Director
- Legal Manager – Compliance Manager, Senior Manager Legal Ops, Regulatory Compliance Manager, Senior Manager Legal
- Individual Contributors -Legal Assistant, Patent Agent, Contract Administrator, Legal Aide, Compliance Specialist, Legal Analyst, Legal Consultant, Contract Analyst, Legal Writer, Legal Strategist
- Entry Level – Legal Secretary, Entry Level Legal Assistant, Legal Clerk, Legal Receptionist, Legal Intern, Legal Trainee Entry Level Legal Associate, Junior Legal Counsel
Here’s a longer list of titles by each row of the pyramid with little more texture on each:
Job Titles for Legal Leaders
Below are the top 10 titles I found candidates and employers using for Legal leaders.
- Chief Compliance Officer (Upstart)
- Chief Legal Officer (CLO) (Lending Club, Crowdstrike)
- Chief IP Counsel (Ancestry.com)
- Head of Compliance (Ericsson)
- Head of Legal (FitBit)
- Head of Legal and Compliance (Blend)
- Head of Global Litigation (WeWork)
- Global Head of Litigation (Robinhood)
- Chief of Legal Affairs (Colgate Palmolive)
- Chief Legal & Trust Officer (SentinelOne)
VP of Legal Titles
There are a variety of titles at the VP level for Legal job titles. Here are the top titles I found candidates and employers using for Legal Vice President:
- In House Counsel (Autodesk)
- General Counsel (Pinterest)
- Counsel (Google)
- Inhouse Counsel (eBay)
- Corporate Counsel (Lyft)
- Legal Counsel (ServiceNow)
- Compliance Counsel (The RealReal)
- Patent Counsel (Google)
- Intellectual Property Counsel (Accenture)
- IP Counsel (Linkedin)
- Deputy General Counsel (Wikimedia Foundation)
- Legal Executive (Walt Disney)
- Vice President Legal (Linkedin)
- VP Legal Affairs (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
- Senior Legal Counsel (SAP)
- Technology Counsel (The Coca-Cola Company)
- Legal Partner (Zillow)
- VP Legal (sweetgreen)
- Vice President of Compliance (Wells Fargo)
- SVP General Counsel (Belk)
- Vice President Head of Privacy (Ellie Mae)
- VP and Deputy General Counsel (Facebook)
- VP Legal & Compliance (VSCO)
- VP of Compliance (Lyft)
Director of Legal Titles
Here are the 7 most used Legal director titles:
- Associate General Counsel (Facebook)
- Assistant General Counsel (Intuit)
- Regulatory Affairs Director (Genetech)
- Legal Director (Uber)
- Director of Legal Affairs (Cars.com)
- Director of Legal (Google)
- Legal Services Director (Deloitte)
Legal Manager Titles
Here are the top 8 Legal Manager job titles I found candidates and employers using:
- Compliance Manager (DocuSign)
- Legal Manager (Wells Fargo)
- Regulatory Compliance Manager (AT&T)
- Contract Compliance Manager (Sysco)
- Senior Manager Legal (Slack)
- Senior Legal Manager (American Apparel)
- Senior Manager Legal Ops (Salesforce)
- Senior Manager Legal Systems (WeWork)
Individual Contributor Legal Titles
When you get to the individual contributor level of Legal positions, there is more granularity. Here are the top 20 titles I found candidates and employers using:
- Legal Assistant (Macy’s)
- Compliance Officer (Stripe)
- Patent Agent (SunPower)
- Contract Administrator (Twitter)
- Legal Aide (Qualcomm)
- Compliance Specialist (Ripple)
- Legal Analyst (Dropbox)
- Legal Consultant (Apple)
- Contract Analyst (Netflix)
- Legal Writer (Upwork)
- IP Attorney (Private Law Firms)
- Intellectual Property Attorney (Private Law Firms)
- Conflicts Analyst (Deloitte)
- Legal Recruiter (Robert Half)
- Legal Associate (Salesforce)
- Legal Case Manager (Stock Exchange)
- Legal Conflicts Analyst (Private Law Firms)
- Data Protection Officer (Lever)
- Legal Compliance Analyst (Chevron)
- Legal Strategist (Vanguard)
Entry Level Legal Job Titles
Here are the top 12 entry level Legal titles I found candidates and employers using:
- Legal Secretary (Private Law Firms)
- Entry Level Legal Assistant (FedEx)
- Legal Clerk (Private Law Firms)
- Legal Receptionist (Zurich North America)
- Entry Level Patent Agent (Private Law Firms)
- Legal Intern (POPSUGAR)
- Legal File Clerk (Johnson & Johson)
- Litigation Assistant (Twitter)
- Legal Trainee (DIRECTV)
- Legal Document Coder (Robert Half)
- Entry Level Legal Associate (Private Law Firms)
- Junior Legal Counsel (Heineken)
Top Legal Job Titles (Candidates)
Below is a list of the top 20 Legal job titles based on Google queries we found on ahrefs.
Legal Assistant is the top searched-for job by candidates, while Legal Secretary is the most-searched-for by employers. How do you compare a Legal Assistant vs Legal Secretary? The roles are similar but have different qualifications and salary levels. Both provide assistance to legal departments, but according to Learn.org:
“While the roles are similar, a legal assistant tends to have a position of higher authority as compared to a legal secretary and typically receives higher compensation.”
Top 10 Legal Job Titles and Descriptions (Employers)
Below are the top 10 legal job titles employers request on Google, according to ahrefs.
I’ve included a brief description for each as well as the # of job title searches per month by employers.
A Legal Secretary, sometimes called a Legal Receptionist, is an important role in a legal team. A Legal Secretary is a specialized administrative assistant that helps coordinate legal tasks for a company. A Legal Secretary does case research, prepares legal paperwork, and completes other office tasks under the supervision of the legal executive.
# of job title searches per month: 800; Legal Receptionist: 70
A Compliance Officer is responsible for ensuring a company runs smoothly while staying within regulations and laws that apply to the business. A Compliance Officer identifies potential risks and managing changes to company policies and procedures. A Compliance Officer also works with senior management to create tools and policies related to risk.
# of job title searches per month: 700; Compliance Manager: 500 Compliance Specialist: 250
A Contract Administrator creates and manages legal contracts for a company. A Contract Administrator also ensures all parties involved in a contract fulfill their obligations. A Contract Administrator usually works for larger organizations with multiple departments. Duties of a Contract Administrator may include:
- assisting with contract negotiations
- analyzing contract risks
- addressing contract-related questions
- creating contract templates and content
# of job title searches per month: 500; Contract Analyst:100
A General Counsel is a senior-level legal executive who works directly with the CEO to manage the legal aspects of a business. A General Counsel is responsible for:
- giving legal advice to senior leaders
- acting as an external legal representative
- negotiating strategic transactions
# of job title searches per month: 350; Corporate Counsel: 150; In House Counsel:100
Chief Compliance Officer
A Chief Compliance Officer, also known is some companies as the Chief Legal Officer, creates corporate policies and procedures to mitigate risks and ensure compliance. A Chief Compliance Officer communicates policies across an organization and leads employee training. A Chief Compliance Officer also monitors compliance and investigates violations.
# of job title searches per month: 200; Chief Legal Officer: 60
A Legal Assistant (a Paralegal in a private law office) is an important role in a company’s legal team. A Legal Assistant is responsible for:
- creating legal files
- maintaining legal files
- drafting legal documents
- doing legal research
# of job title searches per month: 200
A Legal Intern is an entry level legal role that assists the legal team with various tasks. The duties of a Legal Intern include:
- legal research
- client assistance
- legal document preparation
# of job title searches per month: 150
A Legal Analyst does legal research and provides support to a legal team. A Legal Analyst may play a specialized role or work on all aspects of legal items for a company. A Legal Analyst also conducts interviews and prepares legal contracts.
# of job title searches per month: 100
A Legal Clerk performs various entry level tasks for a legal department. Duties of a Legal Clerk include:
- data input
- administrative duties
- document preparation
- file organization
# of job title searches per month: 100
A Patent Agent creates patent documentation and helps companies file for new patents. A Patent Agent also manages any issues that arise during the patent qualification process. A Patent Agent is responsible for staying on top of new patent regulations and policies.
# of job title searches per month: 80
Funny Legal Job Titles
Below are 2 funny and creative legal job titles we’ve found.
- Space Lawyer
- Legal Ninja (Attorney)…Palantir
Want more funny job titles? Check out our 100+ Creative & Funny Job Titles [by Department & Position]
Legal Job Titles Sources
A special thanks to these experts on Legal job titles:
- Learn.org’s article on What’s the Difference Between Legal Assistant and Legal Secretary?
- Study.com’s article on Chief Legal Officer Vs. General Counsel
- Matt Kelly’s blog on What is a Compliance Officer?
- Jessica Alden’s blog on A Day in the Life of a Contract Administrator
- John Amer’s article on The General Counsel as senior leader: more than “just a lawyer”
- Juliana De Groot’s article on Chief Compliance Officer: What CCOs Do (and Why Your Company Should Have One)
- Kshafer’s article on What Do Legal Assistants Do?
- Marie Gentile’s article on Three Skills for a Law Internship Interview
- ZipRecruiter’s article on What Is a Legal Analyst?
- JobHero’s Legal Clerk Job Description
- Thomas Moore’s article on What does a patent agent do?
Why I wrote this?
My team and I share this research on legal job titles to help you optimize your own titles. This supports our mission to transform job descriptions. Check out Ongig.com to see how our software transforms your job titles and job descriptions.