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C-level employees: Your legal needs

Are you a C-level employee? If you are, you know that your legal needs can be as complex as your job. Your responsibilities are probably much greater than a lower-level employee. Depending on your position, chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO) or chief financial officer (CFO), you may be hiring and firing, making stock decisions, doing salary negotiations and overseeing multiple departments or employees.

Your employment contract should be thoroughly reviewed by your attorney before signing. There may be clauses in it that are carefully written and can be incorrectly construed. Look for noncompete agreements that may prevent you from a similar position in another company should you decide to move on. These can be negotiable; don't let them lock you in too tightly.

Also, let your attorney negotiate your contract to get the salary you want and feel you deserve. Be careful of undefined or unrealistic bonus clauses. Make sure all negotiations are final before signing. Once your signature has been placed on the document, it is binding.

Because C-level positions carry with them prestige and notability, you may find yourself at times having to deal with media, depending on the popularity of the company you represent. Your attorney can be useful in helping you avoid or handle media inquiries.

Your attorney will be an important part of your C-level employment career. If you decide to change to another position, there will additional agreements to be drawn up, reviewed or signed. You can also negotiate a severance package should you and the company decide to part.

Making good decisions is what has no doubt gotten you to this high level of employment. Make sure you have a good attorney who is thorough and above board working on your behalf to keep you there.

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