When to go In House and How to Evaluate In House Positions

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When to go In House and How to Evaluate In House Positions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:44 am

I am interested in hearing opinions on when to go in house and how to evaluate an in house position with respect to future career options and development. Timing is a subjective question, but I have heard that 3-5 years is a hotspot for going in-house. I am curious as to the pro's and con's of waiting it out and how to evaluate a position.

How does one evaluate the level of support and training that will be provided (other than asking)? How does one evaluate future career options the in house position will provide? My biggest fear is going in house and lacking marketability thereafter (in the event the company goes under or there is no room for advancement). Any tips regarding what should I do as an associate while I am still at a firm to make myself an attractive in house candidate? How can I take advantage of training and other opportunities at a firm to better prepare myself for in house work?

If it matters, I'm a 2nd year corporate associate (almost 3rd year) in a non-NYC major market. My corporate experience is pretty general.

Speaking with other associates, there is a lot of mystery as to what in house life will be like and what will constitute a good position for future growth. I've read articles online but many are extremely vague and not particularly helpful. Thanks for any and all input.

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Bigbub75
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Re: When to go In House and How to Evaluate In House Positions

Postby Bigbub75 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:19 am

As far as timing goes, it probably varies bases on industry. I spoke with the GC for Johnson & Johnson and he said he looks for at least 5 years of Law firm experience when hiring for an in house position. His reasoning was that while J&J employs hundreds of lawyers, the infrastructure is not there to train new attorneys. At 5 years you really begin to take on significant responsibility at many large firms, so he feels when they make the transition In house, they will be able to hit the ground running.

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Re: When to go In House and How to Evaluate In House Positions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:10 pm

Interesting anecdote - thanks for sharing. The philosophy company to company really seems to vary and shift as the years go on. I know of companies that used to only hire lawyers with 7+ years and now hire straight out of law school. To clarify, I guess I am most interested in what firm attorneys feel like is the best time to go in house as opposed to what the companies believe. In other words, when does one have adequate skills to survive the environment with little training (as your story mentioned). To any lawyers who have gone in house, did you feel you went too early or could have gone earlier (firm attorneys also feel free to chime in based on discussions with friends who are in house)?

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Re: When to go In House and How to Evaluate In House Positions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:36 pm

I realize there simply may not be people on the forums able to answer my questions, but am hoping for one last shot at some responses.

I'll share what I've gathered so far. In terms of training and upward mobility, you basically look at the size of the legal department, ask about general turn-over in the department over the past couple of years and ask the interviewees how long they have been there (and what their career path has been). However, this doesn't really get to my biggest questions as to what in-house positions provide for further lateral options. In-house positions can be fragile too. I'd hate to be in a position where I went in-house for a couple of years, lost my job due to redundancies resulting from an acquisition and then wasn't marketable.

I've read in-house lawyers are not as highly sought after as firm attorneys...so I don't want to lose my marketability too early in my career. At the same time, having a life again would be nice.

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Re: When to go In House and How to Evaluate In House Positions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:04 pm

A couple years ago, lawshucks ran a very thorough series of blog posts about this. They discussed how to get an in house position, how to evaluate offers, what to ask for, etc.

http://lawshucks.com/category/columns/jumping-inhouse/




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