26 Apr Benefits of working as a Company Secretary
For lawyers new to in-house, still in private practice or with little to no exposure to the company secretary function in a legal counsel role, there is often a negative view of taking on company secretary duties. It is regarded as heavy in administration and quite process driven; however, there are numerous benefits to one’s career as you move up in your journey to a general counsel position.
In almost all cases, you will be dealing directly with the Board of Directors and Executive gaining greater exposure to the inner workings of an organisation & afforded the opportunity to add strategic input.
At these meetings, you will gain an invaluable insight into high-level strategy, and the direction of an organisation and rub shoulders with highly successful business people with who you can form personal relationships; which can only benefit your career long term. In essence, it will build your commercial acumen and ultimately make you a better lawyer as you learn what is most important to the business.
Interacting with higher management will increase your visibility with the organisation and enhance your reputation. Advancement opportunities may presents themselves both in the Office of General Counsel, but also the wider business; not to mention other businesses.
Gaining company secretary experience can open up an alternate career path as the company secretary within a listed environment. These roles are often remunerated well and are very important to the function of the ASX top 100 companies. There is great job security in pursuing this career and quality senior company secretaries are always in demand. Furthermore, taking some time out of a strictly legal role is not necessarily a hinderance to your career when you are looking to move into a combined general counsel/company secretary role.
Often lawyers’ first general counsel role is with a privately owned or newly listed company, where the role covers both the general counsel and company secretary function. Of course they look for strong legal skills in the required fields, however, they also value previous exposure to the company secretary function.
We have recently placed a number of lawyers into their first general counsel role and on all occasions the successful candidate had exposure to company secretary duties.
Gaining company secretary experience, whether it be as an additional part of your role, in an assistant capacity or even as a company secretary, can be enormously valuable to your career. It opens up a new network, increases your commercial acumen and most importantly can be critical to securing an elusive general counsel position.