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Top GCs in Tech Share Advice for Landing Your Next General Counsel Role

Looking for a general counsel role at a tech company? Boost your chances of success with these words of wisdom from established GCs.


  • Meenakshi Baddela


    The L Suite

Career & Brand Building

Featuring Insights From:


  • Damien Atkins

    Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel
    Damien Atkins, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, at Aura
  • Laura Belmont

    General Counsel
    Civis Analytics
    Laura Belmont, General Counsel at Civis Analytics
  • Andy Dale

    General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer
    Andy Dale, GC and Chief Privacy Officer, at Open AP
  • Clint Smith

    Chief Legal Officer
    Clint Smith, Chief Legal Officer, at Discord
  • Mitchell Bompey

    Chief Legal Officer and Chief Risk Officer
    Prove Identity
    Mitchell Bompey, Chief Legal Officer at Prove

As a GC at a tech company, you’re not just a lawyer. You’re a business strategist analyzing how to propel business growth while navigating rapidly evolving regulatory landscapes. You’re a creative, seeking ways to solve problems that perhaps no other company has faced before. And you’re a trusted advisor, partnering with leaders across the organization to ensure they balance risk and responsibility with innovation.

As such, your job search won’t look like it did for past legal jobs. Instead, it’s exactly that mix of strategy, creativity, and relationship-building that will help you land your next role.

To dig in further on what to do differently in your GC job search, we gathered advice from some of the top GCs in tech today. Here’s what they had to say.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consider what elements of your experience and background set you apart from others and build a thoughtful personal brand surrounding them.
  • Expand your knowledge of business strategy and legal issues outside your area of expertise, especially those that directly influence revenue.
  • Look to your network, VC or PE funds, and law firms to find jobs that aren’t yet posted, especially at early-stage startups.
  • Approach your job search with key skills that are needed to be a GC: an appetite for growth, a forward-thinking mindset, and executive presence.

Build a Thoughtful Personal Brand

Having a strong presence in the tech community — whether that’s posting and commenting regularly on LinkedIn or attending and speaking at conferences and events — helps you stay in touch with your extended network and even build new connections that can lead to GC job opportunities.

But to stand out from the crowd, it’s helpful to think strategically about who you are and what you’d like to be known for. “Think about something that makes you different,” says Damien Atkins, Chief Legal Officer at cybersecurity company Aura. “The only way to escape competition and create a brand that’s differentiated from someone else is authenticity.”

To do so, think carefully about your audience (is it early-stage AI startups? More established fintechs?) and what they might be interested in learning from someone with your background. What tends to stand out on your resume when you talk to recruiters? What are the questions you get most often when you’re meeting someone new?

Also remember that building a brand doesn’t mean you have to be the foremost expert in a particular legal area. That’s not the case, explains Laura Belmont, General Counsel at Civis Analytics, who regularly posts on LinkedIn about a wide array of personal and professional interests, from mission-driven work to parenting. “I’m the expert of my own experience,” she says. “[Acknowledging that] is what really started making me feel comfortable about posting to say ‘I’m not going to be someone else. I’m going to talk about my journey. I’m going to tell my stories.’ And I think that resonates.”

Enhance Your Legal and Business Knowledge

While building a brand is all about sharing what you know, it’s equally important to continue expanding your expertise and knowledge, especially if your career has been mostly focused on a specific area of the law. A GC is less of a subject matter expert and more of a business generalist, so if there are gaps in your knowledge, you’ll need to find ways to fill them. Even if your expertise already spans practice areas, having a mindset of curiosity and continuous learning will show tech companies that you’re forward-thinking and adaptable.

“Make sure you’re plugged in to really great sources of information,” says Belmont. Sign up for law firms’ email lists to receive their thought leadership content, attend conferences outside of your area of focus, and learn from other legal leaders in membership groups like The L Suite. (Current GCs can apply for membership here.)

Also seek learning opportunities within your current company. “Stay close to the revenue,” recommended Andy Dale, General Counsel at OpenAP. “That can be contracts, partnership deals, a compliance issue that has revenue impact.” These are the issues that executives care about most, and showing that you’re intimately familiar with the revenue levers at your own company will be powerful in your job search conversations and interviews.

Highlight Your Business Savvy and Appetite for Growth

On that note, you’ll want to ensure your resume and LinkedIn profile don’t only highlight your legal skills, they also clearly showcase your business acumen.

“Maybe you’ve helped launch a product or even suggested product tweaks or changes to the organization,” says Belmont. “That shows that you have sound judgment and an understanding of a business.”

High-growth companies also want to know that you have what it takes to grow with them. A hiring guide written by Clint Smith, Chief Legal Officer at Discord, advises VCs to ask GC candidates forward-thinking questions, such as: “Three years from now, when your company’s ARR is at X and you have Y employees, how will your team be organized? Where will you be focusing your time?” Be prepared to discuss not only how you’d approach the job today, but where you can see taking it in the future.

Lean on Your Network

It’s no secret that your peers are a powerful tool in your job search, and reconnecting with friends, past colleagues, and contacts should be a priority when you’re looking for new positions. But this is especially important when looking for a GC role at smaller tech companies. “So many of these roles … are ones that people want referrals for,” Belmont says. CEOs would much rather hire someone who comes recommended for a role that touches high-profile and sensitive issues, so they often seek referrals even before posting positions online.

Also try connecting with private equity and venture capital firms, which are often on the lookout for early executive hires for their portfolio companies. “The best networks I have seen are from VCs and PEs — many of them have their own placement services for their portfolios, and I have gotten a number of leads [from them],” says Mitchell Bompey, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Risk Officer at Prove Identity. “Some large [VC and PE firms] — Sands Capital and Primary Funds, for example — have their own job boards.”

Demonstrate Executive Presence

When hiring a GC, many executive teams are looking for the “it” factor — they want someone who inspires confidence and has a dynamic personality and ability to influence others. So work on honing your executive presence, whether that’s taking on speaking opportunities in your current role or working with an interview coach.

“Be confident in your skills and abilities,” says Justin Doolittle, former General Counsel at Qumulo. “Realize that you made it to where you are in your career because of the skills you have and the things you’ve done. And accept that you do deserve to be there. Once you have that and aren’t worried about what people think, you will portray that level of confidence, and that’s all people want.”

Currently a GC? Connect with other top attorneys, get job leads, and see real-time salary data by applying for membership here.

About The L Suite

Called “the gold standard for legal peer groups” and “one of the best professional growth investments an in-house attorney can make,” The L Suite is an invitation-only community for in-house legal executives. Over 2,000 members have access to 300+ world-class events per year, a robust online platform where leaders ask and answer pressing questions and share exclusive resources, and industry- and location-based salary survey data.

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