Chief Officer – Legal and Compliance
LAST UPDATED 17 May 2022
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The role of chief legal and compliance officers today

As the name of the job title suggest, chief legal and compliance officers (CLCOs) operate businesses alongside legal protocols and regulations. CLCOs combine their corporate knowledge of businesses with their excellent legal expertise. Essentially, they assist organisations in complying with legal and compliance frameworks, mitigating any risks associated with business operations.

As the CLCO represents a senior finance job in Malta or elsewhere, it can take numerous years to actualise in this career. Nevertheless, with dedicated practice, you can reach this leadership role. Aside from conducting typical legal duties, CLCOs are also able to work as advisors to companies generally and inform stakeholders on frameworks they must consider avoiding legal risks. A CLCO is typically the highest legal executive within a business.


Summary of steps to become a chief legal and compliance officer


As mentioned above, the CLCO role is one that takes many years of experience in relevant fields. As it is a legal occupation, competition is high, as education can take several years in itself to achieve successfully. Consider the following steps of this finance job to determine whether it would be right for you:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in law and combine course topics alongside business, political science, and so forth,
  • Apply to law school and earn further qualifications in the field, 
  • Pass any relevant exams to receive certifications to practice law,
  • Begin work experience early-on to develop in your career consistently until you reach the senior role of the CLCO. 

In the beginning of your career, you will most likely find a job as a practising attorney. As you gain valuable work experience, you can earn promotions that will gravitate you toward senior legal occupations such as a partner, head of legal, etcetera. As the CLCO role is a leadership one, work on your skill sets and act like a leader—that is, be respectful in the workplace, be analytical in your decisions, become a great problem-solver, and so forth.


Duties and responsibilities of chief legal and compliance officers


The CLCO is a key point of support for internal parties of a business, providing a legal standpoint in any business affair. Whilst their duties may vary according to industry, common duties and responsibilities of this finance job in Malta or elsewhere includes:

  • Remaining up to date with novel or changing laws,
  • Informing personnel and stakeholders on relevant legal and compliance frameworks,
  • Consulting board members on diverse legal advice,
  • Supervise and manage in-house legal staff,
  • Communicate legal frameworks to all employees and ensure they understand these sufficiently,
  • Addressing employee concerns related to legal issues,
  • Organise training material and similar resources for employees regarding legal and compliance matters,
  • Analyse and produce legal documentation regarding company agreements,
  • Construct legal and compliance policies for organisations,
  • Act as the primary source of contact for legal matters on behalf of a company, and
  • Oversee contracts signed by the business.

From the above, you can see that CLCOs work on diverse tasks to ensure the order of company operations through cross-collaboration and legal interpretation. Their role is truly communicative, meaning jobseekers should aim to work on a variety of interpersonal skills to succeed in this finance job in Malta or elsewhere.


Salary expectations 


The demand for CLCOs is rapidly increasing, leading the career with fast-paced growth capabilities alongside impressive salary raises. The Castille Salary Survey is based on the average gross basic salary ranges we have seen offered in the local market over the last 12 months. This survey is updated quarterly, remaining representative of current market trends.  

For a global perspective, it is worth keeping in mind that sources vary and are subject to change with time. Considering these variances, salaries for CLCO jobs consistently reflect an average salary ranging from $117,000 to $205,000 a year. These numbers vary according to level of experience, specialisation, and other associated living costs. 


Education and qualifications of chief legal and compliance officers


As mentioned earlier in this article, becoming a CLCO is no easy feat. Professionals must undergo several years of education before beginning this finance job. A bachelor’s degree in pre-law studies or business law is a minimum requirement before enrolling in law school. Aside from taking up coursework that is generally offered at school, individuals must enhance their competitive edge by taking on coursework relevant to international law and communication courses.

Over time, you will need to specialise in an area of law to further your studies. Corporate law is a popular choice for CLCOs as it prepares individuals to understand business requirements alongside legal and compliance frameworks. Whilst you are studying, it’s also worth seeking internship opportunities to begin your career early-on. Due to the sensitivity and high authority of CLCOs, it can take numerous years to become a leader in this field. However, determination and a positive mindset to the field will help you get there in no time.


Trending technologies and skill sets 


In working across various office functions, CLCOs engage in skill sets that are both technical to their speciality and interpersonal to clearly communicate oftentimes complex legal matters to company personnel. As a leadership position, CLCOs will possess several key skills, including:

  • Leadership: as the highest authority regarding legal and compliance affairs, CLCOs must possess leadership skills to work independently and to supervise others.
  • Communication: this finance job in Malta or elsewhere represents companies and speaks on behalf of their needs in legal affairs. In this way, CLCOs must be able to comfortably engage in public speaking. Even if you do not argue cases on behalf of a business, you must be a natural at writing legal documentation and verbally explaining these to individuals with less legal knowledge.
  • Legal skills: naturally, a successful CLCO will be an expert in the field of law and compliance. Professionals must keep up with novel laws and amending ones, whilst generally understanding ethical concerns and diverse court decisions.
  • Analytical: CLCOs are familiar with making difficult decisions by themselves, typically after conducting an in-depth analysis of legal documentation. Through good analytical skills, CLCOs are able to make strategic decisions for businesses.

The above illustrates the general skills of such a finance job that is focused around supporting business professionals from a legal and compliance standpoint, whilst ensuring internal structures operate well. They understand current business objectives and help amend these during shifting workplace and legal trends. 


Career prospects as a chief HR officer


CLCOs typically work in various office environments, including a work from home job. They collaborate with diverse personnel frequently and facilitate internal and external communications. The consistent use of valuable hard and soft skills employed by the CLCO is transferable across organisations, meaning these individuals are able to work in diverse workplace settings.

For jobseekers interested in pursuing a career path as a CLCO, individuals should work to gain valuable work experience in any preferred industry. Applicants must consider their area of specialisation thoughtfully and apply for jobs that are relevant. CLCOs can continue to improve their technical and soft skills through independent learning and keeping up with legal and compliance affairs.


Begin your chief HR officer career today with Castille 


Now that you’ve critically assessed what working as a CLCO is about and whether it is right for you, you are able to kickstart your career in this ever-growing field. As technology and the workforce continues to rapidly advance, the role of a CLCO remains a career suitable for the long-haul.

Chief Officer - Legal and Compliance