Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

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spicyyoda17
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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby spicyyoda17 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP. This is definitely a trend-- I am interviewing for an in-house position with a major corporation next week. The position focuses on M&A and licensing work, and was recruiting T14 grads.

I've also seen at least two other major corporations with similar plans. The recession led some big companies to dump outside counsel for transactional work and put together their own legal teams.

My biggest concern is that I won't be able to lateral after 3 years if things don't go well. Any insights on this OP?


By major corporation do you mean F500?

Also, did they do on-campus recruiting or was it a separate application online?

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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP. This is definitely a trend-- I am interviewing for an in-house position with a major corporation next week. The position focuses on M&A and licensing work, and was recruiting T14 grads.

I've also seen at least two other major corporations with similar plans. The recession led some big companies to dump outside counsel for transactional work and put together their own legal teams.

My biggest concern is that I won't be able to lateral after 3 years if things don't go well. Any insights on this OP?



This is a concern of mine too. I don't think there's any meaningful way of figuring out what the options will be like, given that it's pretty uncommon to start in-house. Lateraling to another in-house counsel seems to make sense, but in-house counsels deal infrequently with other in-house counsels so it's hard to make connections. Plus, there's still many in house-counsels that wouldn't even hire someone with only 3 years experience and may be skeptical of someone who has no experience outside of another IHC. IHC deal much more with firms, and transitioning to become a transactional lawyer on the firm side seems like a possibility, but again I have no clue whether a firm would consider someone with no prior firm experience.

It's sort of uncharted territory, and it's something in the back of my mind since I plan on keeping put for several years. I'm not worried about it at this point, and I've already made a number of very solid connections that for some reason I think that things will work out if I decide to leave in a few years.

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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:51 am

A guy I know went direct to in-house of a sports team almost 20 years ago. He was with the team that entire time, became GC, until they had an ownership shakeup. Guy can't find a job now because he has no firm experience. Just tries to bounce around to GC positions which rarely become available.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby somewhatwayward » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
somewhatwayward wrote:How do you know empirically that GCs are switching to hiring law grads in meaningful numbers? ...blah blah...

I'm not knocking you at all. It sounds like you landed a job that is a good fit for you, so congratulations on that.


Maybe I shouldn't have used the word trend - didn't mean for it to be misleading in any way. I don't have hard data to back up my claim, although I have spoken with the GC about this topic on multiple occasions and he said there is definitely a shift in the way in-house counsels are doing business. They're becoming less reliant on big firms, and more reliant on their ability to do legal research and handle less complicated matters because of better technology. Along with this, some are hiring recent grads to do work they would have farmed out in past years. Whether there's thousands of new job openings - almost certainly not.

My point is, and I tried to make this clear in the original post, is that people should not just assume that an in-house counsel position is only attainable after working several years at a firm. It's true that some companies will never hire a recent grad for their in-house department. However, it makes sense for current law students to speak with in-house attorneys at companies they're interested in, to see what their deal is. As I said earlier, by far the most common track to getting in-house is still after working at a big firm. My path is not by any means a "viable back-up plan" but rather one of many options that students can look into.


Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree that people in law school should go ahead and apply to these types of positions....definitely no downside. But I think people should not rely on them when deciding whether to go to law school until we have more data confirming a big change in in-house hiring practices, like thousands of grads going straight in-house. I know it seems silly that I am belaboring this point, but over in the Choosing a Law School forum we have people left and right wanting to go to Drexel or SH or Pace and go in-house straight out-of-school, looking for evidence that this is a wise choice. Your post was carefully-worded, and the fact that you came from a T25 probably played a role in your getting hired, but 0Ls under the influence of confirmation bias and asymmetric skepticism will skip right over that.

TL;DR: this advice to apply to in-house places is good for current students looking for jobs but not IMO a viable employment plan for 0Ls until we see some more data

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP. This is definitely a trend-- I am interviewing for an in-house position with a major corporation next week. The position focuses on M&A and licensing work, and was recruiting T14 grads.

I've also seen at least two other major corporations with similar plans. The recession led some big companies to dump outside counsel for transactional work and put together their own legal teams.

My biggest concern is that I won't be able to lateral after 3 years if things don't go well. Any insights on this OP?


Three job postings does not a trend make. But good luck with your interview.

TooOld4This
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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP. This is definitely a trend-- I am interviewing for an in-house position with a major corporation next week. The position focuses on M&A and licensing work, and was recruiting T14 grads.

I've also seen at least two other major corporations with similar plans. The recession led some big companies to dump outside counsel for transactional work and put together their own legal teams.

My biggest concern is that I won't be able to lateral after 3 years if things don't go well. Any insights on this OP?



This is a concern of mine too. I don't think there's any meaningful way of figuring out what the options will be like, given that it's pretty uncommon to start in-house. Lateraling to another in-house counsel seems to make sense, but in-house counsels deal infrequently with other in-house counsels so it's hard to make connections. Plus, there's still many in house-counsels that wouldn't even hire someone with only 3 years experience and may be skeptical of someone who has no experience outside of another IHC. IHC deal much more with firms, and transitioning to become a transactional lawyer on the firm side seems like a possibility, but again I have no clue whether a firm would consider someone with no prior firm experience.

It's sort of uncharted territory, and it's something in the back of my mind since I plan on keeping put for several years. I'm not worried about it at this point, and I've already made a number of very solid connections that for some reason I think that things will work out if I decide to leave in a few years.


This is a legimate concern. Training in house is not usually as good as it is in firms. In house legal teams are very often very lean and mangers don't have time to train or let you figure things out. If it gets complicated, it usually gets outsourced. For that reason junior attorneys in house tend to deal with the easy stuff, the repetitive stuff, or the business particular stuff. Neither of these things makes it easy to develop transferable skills. You might be getting great access to business people and autonomy on helping them out with particular types of tasks, but without a firm background, it can be harder to reinvent yourself for the next job. If you happen to find a job that is looking for almost exactly what you have been doing, you are in really good shape. If you don't (and this is more the norm) it can be much more difficult to get considered over someone who has firm experience (because associates very often see a very wide range of issues for a wide range of clients cross their desks).

Also be on the look out for a stigma attached to entry level positions. It is not unusual for people who are hired out of law school to have a cap on their advancement internally. At a certain level, the company may primarily hire by looking outside, rather than at internal candidates.

Superstars will be superstars where ever they land, but there can be institutional obstacles to be overcome if you aren't following the tried and true path.
Last edited by TooOld4This on Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TooOld4This
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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:A guy I know went direct to in-house of a sports team almost 20 years ago. He was with the team that entire time, became GC, until they had an ownership shakeup. Guy can't find a job now because he has no firm experience. Just tries to bounce around to GC positions which rarely become available.


I seriously doubt his difficulties have anything to do with a lack of firm experience. GC positions are not common, and since he was one, he is not likely to be considered for any job that is not a top position (either GC, or the top legal position within a business unit). Those jobs are few and far between and it generally takes awhile to match people and position.

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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:27 pm

I meant to say he was looking to do firm work after a long career in-house. couldn't lateral in anywhere.

TooOld4This
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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I meant to say he was looking to do firm work after a long career in-house. couldn't lateral in anywhere.


Again, this likely has nothing to do with the fact he has no big law experience. He is too senior to be an associate. Firms have little to no need for counsel these days, and he likely has no credible book of business or potential to develop one in the next year or so. There is no business case for going him. Having worked at a firm early in his career would not change this.

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romothesavior
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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby romothesavior » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:57 pm

romothesavior wrote:Not sure if you've had much exposure to this, but what would a GC of a sports team be looking for in outside hires? (think 3-5 year associates coming from firms)

Not sure if you saw this OP. Still curious.

TooOld4This
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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:03 pm

romothesavior wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Not sure if you've had much exposure to this, but what would a GC of a sports team be looking for in outside hires? (think 3-5 year associates coming from firms)

Not sure if you saw this OP. Still curious.


Not OP, but generally complex contact negotiation and interpretation. Especially in labor/employment. (Not workmanship comp or discrimination). Check the firm bios of the partners and associates who do sports law at big firms and you will see the skill set.

Anonymous User
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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:58 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Not sure if you've had much exposure to this, but what would a GC of a sports team be looking for in outside hires? (think 3-5 year associates coming from firms)

Not sure if you saw this OP. Still curious.


Not OP, but generally complex contact negotiation and interpretation. Especially in labor/employment. (Not workmanship comp or discrimination). Check the firm bios of the partners and associates who do sports law at big firms and you will see the skill set.


OP here. I don't know much outside of my organization, but all the senior lawyers including the GC were transactional / M&A lawyers at a big firm - none did litigation. When they came in-house, they sort of developed their own specialties within the department.

Our GC likes business backgrounds, just for the basic reason that we deal so much with management, marketing, finance, etc and need to be on the same page.

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Re: Trend - In-House Straight out of Law School

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:18 am

TooOld4This wrote:
This is a legimate concern. Training in house is not usually as good as it is in firms. In house legal teams are very often very lean and mangers don't have time to train or let you figure things out. If it gets complicated, it usually gets outsourced. For that reason junior attorneys in house tend to deal with the easy stuff, the repetitive stuff, or the business particular stuff. Neither of these things makes it easy to develop transferable skills. You might be getting great access to business people and autonomy on helping them out with particular types of tasks, but without a firm background, it can be harder to reinvent yourself for the next job. If you happen to find a job that is looking for almost exactly what you have been doing, you are in really good shape. If you don't (and this is more the norm) it can be much more difficult to get considered over someone who has firm experience (because associates very often see a very wide range of issues for a wide range of clients cross their desks).

Also be on the look out for a stigma attached to entry level positions. It is not unusual for people who are hired out of law school to have a cap on their advancement internally. At a certain level, the company may primarily hire by looking outside, rather than at internal candidates.

Superstars will be superstars where ever they land, but there can be institutional obstacles to be overcome if you aren't following the tried and true path.


There are some good points here and articulates some of my concern. Within our organization, the GC has decided to take the approach I've described - hire a new grad every few years when the need arises and have them work with senior members, and slowly transitioning junior members into senior members. He hasn't hired a senior member straight up in the 10+ years he's been GC. This may be very uncommon. Also, it's not much of a sample size, but one person who was hired out of LS and worked with the team for 4 years transitioned to become senior counsel at a well-known media group. In retrospect, it may have been helpful to go for the JD-MBA which would have given me other options within the organization or elsewhere in the industry.

TooOld, if you don't mind sharing, what's your background? You seem to know what the deal is.




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