The role of a legal advisor

two men in suits having a meeting using a tablet to present

Legal advisors are lawyers who are employed by the government, large companies and other organisations to provide legal advice and services to the organisation and its employees.

In other words legal advisors are in-house lawyers, as compared to attorneys and advocates, who provide their services to the public as a whole rather than to an employer. 


Most legal advisors are former attorneys or advocates who want to go into a corporate environment. Therefore, the requirements and training for legal advisors are the same as for advocates and attorneys.

Apart from general characteristics like ambition, dedication and a disciplined approach, a legal advisor also needs to possess special characteristics and skills including:

  • Honesty, decisiveness and integrity
  • Being objective in a matter
  • Being able to distinguish facts from irrelevant detail
  • Confidence
  • The ability to solve problems
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Discretion, diplomacy and tact
  • Working well under pressure

As a legal advisor you can work for large companies or organisations, central, provincial or local government, law schools, legal aid societies, be self-employment or work in private practice.

In South Africa a legal advisor with 1-3 years of experience can expect to earn between R350 - 550k whilst a qualified lawyer with over 10 years experience would earn R1.1m+. For further information on legal salaries access the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey.

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For more career advice please contact:

Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager (South Africa)
+27 (0) 11 881 2414

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