In house counsel

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atcushman
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In house counsel

Postby atcushman » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:54 am

I am a 1L and am exploring summer opportunities I spoke with an alumni who works in the field I am hoping to get into (construction law) and he told me it might be a good idea to find a construction company with in house counsel and try and get an internship. He gave me a couple and I have been trying to find other companies but I am striking out, its not like many construction companies advertise on their websites that they have in house counsel. Anyone had experience with an effecient way to figure out which companies (dosen't have to be construction industry) have general counsel?

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notedgarfigaro
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Re: In house counsel

Postby notedgarfigaro » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:10 am

First place to start would be your CSO. Assuming they're halfway competent, they'll know the lay of the land locally, and will have contacts either with in-house counsel in your region or with firms that do business with said counsel. If there's a large construction firm in the area, they'll get your foot in the door and sell your interest in the industry. If you're not looking to stay in the same area as your lawschool, then you basically need to look at the major companies in the region you're targeting, and look at their websites for the GC. If you have ANY connections, use them...it's rare for any but the largest companies to actively seek summer legal interns- rather it seemed (at least to me) to be more of a backdoor/whoyouknow process.

I personally got my in-house internship 1L year through CSO connections; other people I know got them 1L year through a minority program, networking, and offering to work for free (it was a non-profit, so that person qualified for my school's public interest stipend). I will say that it was an enjoyable experience, and I certainly made a lot of nice contacts in the field I wanted to be in. Still, I wouldn't choose it over a 1L SA if you have the chance.

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Re: In house counsel

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:25 am

Do you have a background in construction? This is actually exactly what I did during law school. At the end of my 1L year there was an advertisement for a "contract specialist" on my school's symplicity. Ultimately I chose to switch to the part time program and joined the company for the remainder of law school.

The company was a decent size (about $500 million in revenue year) specialty construction firm. While it started out as mostly contract review it quickly morphed into more. With the recession there was a number of bankruptcy issues with both higher and lower tiered contractors, I became involved with Mechanic's liens and worked with different counsel that were defending our general liability claims in various states. The pay was good, ~90k with generous benefits.

As the previous poster mentioned, it will be difficult to get your foot in the door initially. I would recommend not limiting your search to positions advertised as "in-house", but rather broaden your search. Most companies will have a risk management department - the risk manager may not be a lawyer but will have a very good understanding of lawsuits, worker's compensation, general liability claims etc. Construction involves a great deal of risk, and construction contracts can be extremely complex with the various risk transfer clauses.

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atcushman
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Re: In house counsel

Postby atcushman » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:45 pm

Thanks for the advice guys. Yes I was in the industry for a number of year prior to coming to law school. I have made connections at several of the local boutique firms that handle construction law but have not had much luck with 1L summer positions since most only have the diversity positions. I am not dead set on working for in-house long term but thought there may be another avenue I could explore for 1L summer. Not many of my peers are interested in construction law and i dont think any of them have a background in it, so I am hoping this will at least give me a slight leg up.

I have found through google searches the names of "head general counsel" etc. for some firms how would you guys recommend approaching them. Would it be appropriate just to email and say hey here is my background im interested in the work you do i would be very interested in a summer internship or any other opportunities your company may offer i have attached my resume?




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