Lawyers at Tech Companies?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar
stompa
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:28 pm

Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby stompa » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:22 am

Hey Guys

I have always been interested in the IT/Technology field (my second major is in Management Information Systems) and I hope to eventually become a lawyer (specifically Tax law). I know there are IP attorneys who specifically specialize in technology innovation ordeals by companies like these, but I was wondering if there are other specialty attorneys (moreover tax lawyers) at tech firms or companies such as IBM or Microsoft or is it extremely rare?

Thanks

pillowpet
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:08 am

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby pillowpet » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:55 pm

From the tech in house legal departments that I've looked into so far, I haven't seen any lawyers that specifically handled tax law. Most of them are either general lit, patent, corp trans, or contracts management. Maybe u should look into a company like pwc and work in their tax department since they'll likely be working with a lot of tech companies.

anom217
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:58 pm

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby anom217 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:06 pm

Can IP/patent attorneys eventually work in-house for a tech company as legal counsel, or do those jobs generally require a more general/corporate law background?

pillowpet
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:08 am

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby pillowpet » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:50 pm

general legal counsel only requires a law degree. but you'll have to convince the interviewer that you are capable and interested in making the switch and doing general litigation.

anom217
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:58 pm

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby anom217 » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:25 pm

does in-house counsel primarily do litigation? i figured they usually advise on the direction of the company, its business initiatives, potential acquisitions, etc. from a legal perspective?

pillowpet
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:08 am

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby pillowpet » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:15 pm

in house will probably have a lit team and a corporate team. the corporate team will handle the M&A, securities, licensing, etc. matters. I'm not sure how much say they have on the direction of the company, this is probably something left up to Management. it really depends on the size of the legal dept of the company. Some companies like Cisco's or Google's are pretty much like a law firm with its own small practice groups. On the other hand, smaller tech companies and start-ups will have a small team overseeing everything and have more responsibility.

User avatar
Lincoln
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:27 pm

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby Lincoln » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:19 pm

Wow. The 0Ls really need to stop commenting on things like this.

anom217
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:58 pm

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby anom217 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:49 pm

any non-0Ls want to comment then?

User avatar
englawyer
Posts: 1270
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:57 pm

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby englawyer » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:05 pm

anom217 wrote:any non-0Ls want to comment then?


if OP is interested in actually doing tax law it is better to be at a firm than in-house. My impression is that the in house department's main job is to select and manage outside counsel who do the actual legal work (monitor budgets, status updates, etc). This is why firms view transitions to in-house favorably: they know their former associates are more likely to hire their friends and keep the client connected to the firm.

re: business strategy or whatever, the very top of the in-house dept is the "General Counsel". This person is a very high level exec (usually CFO level i think) and surely has some strategic pull. But your run of the mill in-house attorney will be much lower in the food chain and more or less just managing the outside firm's execution of some legal matters.

anom217
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:58 pm

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby anom217 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:17 pm

englawyer wrote:
anom217 wrote:any non-0Ls want to comment then?


if OP is interested in actually doing tax law it is better to be at a firm than in-house. My impression is that the in house department's main job is to select and manage outside counsel who do the actual legal work (monitor budgets, status updates, etc). This is why firms view transitions to in-house favorably: they know their former associates are more likely to hire their friends and keep the client connected to the firm.

re: business strategy or whatever, the very top of the in-house dept is the "General Counsel". This person is a very high level exec (usually CFO level i think) and surely has some strategic pull. But your run of the mill in-house attorney will be much lower in the food chain and more or less just managing the outside firm's execution of some legal matters.


What is the compensation/hours like for "run of the mill" in-house attorneys at large companies? About the same as someone with equivalent experience in a biglaw firm?

User avatar
englawyer
Posts: 1270
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:57 pm

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby englawyer » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:29 pm

anom217 wrote:
englawyer wrote:
anom217 wrote:any non-0Ls want to comment then?


if OP is interested in actually doing tax law it is better to be at a firm than in-house. My impression is that the in house department's main job is to select and manage outside counsel who do the actual legal work (monitor budgets, status updates, etc). This is why firms view transitions to in-house favorably: they know their former associates are more likely to hire their friends and keep the client connected to the firm.

re: business strategy or whatever, the very top of the in-house dept is the "General Counsel". This person is a very high level exec (usually CFO level i think) and surely has some strategic pull. But your run of the mill in-house attorney will be much lower in the food chain and more or less just managing the outside firm's execution of some legal matters.


What is the compensation/hours like for "run of the mill" in-house attorneys at large companies? About the same as someone with equivalent experience in a biglaw firm?


it is less. i think its like high 100's + cost-of-living raises. basically about what junior associates make.

User avatar
Emma.
Posts: 2401
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:57 pm

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby Emma. » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:40 pm

Lincoln wrote:Wow. The 0Ls really need to stop commenting on things like this.

03121202698008
Posts: 3002
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby 03121202698008 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:46 pm

pillowpet wrote:in house will probably have a lit team and a corporate team. the corporate team will handle the M&A, securities, licensing, etc. matters. I'm not sure how much say they have on the direction of the company, this is probably something left up to Management. it really depends on the size of the legal dept of the company. Some companies like Cisco's or Google's are pretty much like a law firm with its own small practice groups. On the other hand, smaller tech companies and start-ups will have a small team overseeing everything and have more responsibility.


No. Few companies have legal depts that big outside of the insurance industry. They retain BigLaw firms and their legal team farms stuff out to them. As for tax, I don't know of many companies with in-house tax lawyers. They wouldn't have enough work. Plus, their auditors are required to be independent companies and their tax lawyers may need to be as well unless they want to carry their own insurance.

UzerName
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:21 am

Re: Lawyers at Tech Companies?

Postby UzerName » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:52 am

If you want to practice tax law, you will significantly help yourself by being a CPA. Not sure why you would have an IP background and try tax. I'm not sure there are very many businesses that have in house that deal specifically with tax law. (Places w/in house usually hire those w/10+ years of experience).

Instead of a tax lawyer, they get an accountant. I don't have a CPA, but those with them have attributed the entirety of their job interviews to their accounting background.

OP should be able to make better money as an IP attorney w/hard science background.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests