Anonymous User wrote: Kochel wrote: nealric wrote:
At what point did you transition in house? How did you find your position? Which practice area were you in when you were at your firm?
I moved in-house after 4 years in Biglaw. I'd been forced to specialize in investment work after my first year at the firm; fortunately, that proved to be a good exit strategy. (In the big picture, though, the pressure on junior associates to specialize is arguably a bad thing.) I called up a headhunter one day and within weeks had a good offer from my current firm. This was several years ago. The in-house market ITE is just as crappy as Biglaw; my company has laid off lawyers, including one who reported to me. Still, in-house hiring will eventually pick up, and, for corporate lawyers at least, in-house work can offer compelling advantages over Biglaw drudgery.
Thank you for posting. For those of us moving into big law, do you have any recommendations on ways to position ourselves for maximum exit strategies other than doing a good job/networking? Any specializations that seem particularly promising? I worry that specializing in M&A work (assuming it picks up) will make it difficult to move in-house..
There's no one-size-fits-all plan. A lot depends on how early in the process you decide that you can't see yourself at the firm for the long haul. You should think about matching your practice interests with non-Biglaw opportunities. There are a number of practice areas that aren't very reliable for in-house work: tax, trusts, ERISA, bankruptcy, M&A, even litigation. There are in-house lawyers in those areas, but not nearly as many as are needed for other types of corporate work.
Second, review your Biglaw firm's specialties. Learn which of them see lots of associate turnover. For instance, highly regulated industries (financial services, transportation, telecom) always need in-house lawyers with regulatory expertise; these specialties make for good exit avenues. Which clients of the firm have hired former associates? If your firm is well regarded in a particular field, then companies in that field will know what to expect when they see your resume. And there will always be some demand for corporate generalists who can offer a variety of skills (such as contract negotiation, securities work, small-scale M&A, governance).
Still, you want to be thinking about this early. There are plenty of people who specialize in a non-portable field too early, and who then are either trapped in Biglaw or adrift once Biglaw spits them out. Not to scare anyone, though; for some, Biglaw can be both a happy and permanent home.