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The Best Top Legal Executives Exude Calm and Act Decisively, Study Says

Posted Jun 11, 2012 6:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The best top in-house lawyers aren’t paralyzed by fear of risk, according to executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

The firm studied its database of 3,000 executive assessments and identified eight characteristics of successful chief legal officers, Corporate Counsel reports.

The characteristics include: socially bold, persuasive, decisive, not easily excited and “mischievous”—meaning the lawyers devise unconventional solutions and act on partial information.

RRA elaborates on the “mischievous” characteristic in a summary of its findings. “Contrary to conventional wisdom (and lawyer jokes) the best legal executives go well beyond spotting legal issues to helping the business actually take risks and find creative solutions,” the summary says. “The best legal executives are 11 percent more willing to take risks than the average legal executive, and they are almost as likely to take risks as the typical business executive.”

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