Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

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billbraskysucka

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Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by billbraskysucka » Tue May 05, 2020 1:33 pm

2018 grad here. I went to one of the big 4 firms after graduation to work in the advisory practice. They were actively hiring and recruiting JDs, and offered a decently competitive salary (started folks off generally between 134k-155k). I'm basically doing what other law firm associates do, it's just that I'm traveling a shit ton for client work and am technically an advisory consultant rather than a practicing attorney. It may sound dumb, but the distinction between those really bothers me and I don't feel like I'm practicing law or using my degree in the right way.

I've been trying to find jobs, but it's tough because people see the big 4 name and I guess immediately write me off. That's the general sense I'm getting, and recruiters have told me the same (i.e. that firms don't really understand that the big 4 are pretty much doing the exact same work at a cheaper price and under the guise of advising as consultants only). I really want to go in-house, but I feel like I'm just fucked because no one really gives me a shot because I'm not coming from a traditional law firm.

Anyone else been in this situation as a JD working in consulting, and struggling to get out? Any advice or thoughts would be very appreciated. I really just want to leave the company, and I'm applying all over, but nothing is sticking.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 05, 2020 2:00 pm

Let me ask you a few questions to better understand.

(1) Are you in a major market?

(2) What kind of advisory are you doing? I think there is a distinction between MBB-style management consulting and, for example, tax consulting.

(3) What kind of in-house roles are you looking for? I imagine you're looking for positions with F500 companies (maybe even your clients). However, it's possible that by in-house you mean a position as an associate at a law firm. Assuming the former, Big4 consultants are desirable for in-house positions. I think it's fairly undisputed that Big4 advisory is really just a stepping stone to in-house work.

(4) Are you applying to legal roles? If you're a management consultant for Deloitte and you apply to a front office position (non legal position) at a client, or similar, I would imagine you'd be at least qualified enough to make it to an interview. On the other hand, if you're a Deloitte management consultant and you're applying for a position as legal counsel in a F500, you're probably being rejected because you dont have any true legal experience. In that case, I would suggest you pivot from Big4 consulting to a law firm. I think there are plenty of law firms (probably lower tier amlaw 100-200) that would hire a lateral associate who is an attorney but spent 2-3 years at the big4 if the group you were applying to is directly related to the work you did as an advisory consultant. For example, say you spent 3 years as a tax consultant with Deloitte, you should be applying for tax associate positions with law firms. Or, say you were an international business consultant working with import/export clients. You should apply to law firms for roles in their supply chain practice/import/export group.

2013

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by 2013 » Tue May 05, 2020 2:08 pm

How do I get a job as a consultant at a big 4? That job sounds enticing. decent pay and travel!

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by ChosenOneNow » Tue May 05, 2020 2:33 pm

At the risk of being criticized for stating something obvious, I suggest networking with alumni from your law school or Big 4 firm that work in house or in law firms. Also, stop thinking that you have pigeonholed yourself. From the class of 2018, you are still relatively junior. You should not be precluded from opportunities outside of what you have done for the last two years. Come up with a good story about why you want to transition into whatever it is that the alum from your law school or Big 4 alumni is doing in house or at the law firm.

I think this is just a matter of your networking and putting yourself in front of enough people. You can definitely find something in house or at a law firm.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by nealric » Tue May 05, 2020 2:44 pm

billbraskysucka wrote:. That's the general sense I'm getting, and recruiters have told me the same (i.e. that firms don't really understand that the big 4 are pretty much doing the exact same work at a cheaper price and under the guise of advising as consultants only). I really want to go in-house, but I feel like I'm just fucked because no one really gives me a shot because I'm not coming from a traditional law firm.
The thing is, you are NOT doing the exact same work as at a firm. The biggest difference is that the Big 4 can't draft primary transaction documents. A lot of what you do in biglaw is drafting tax sections of transaction documents. That doesn't mean you aren't getting good tax experience, and that your skillset wouldn't be applicable in biglaw, but there are things that you'd need ramp up time for if you went into a firm.

Big4 shouldn't be a deal-killer in-house. In fact, given that most in-house tax departments are run by former Big4 people, it can actually be advantage over biglaw. I'd start by talking to your clients.

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2013

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by 2013 » Tue May 05, 2020 3:03 pm

nealric wrote:
billbraskysucka wrote:. That's the general sense I'm getting, and recruiters have told me the same (i.e. that firms don't really understand that the big 4 are pretty much doing the exact same work at a cheaper price and under the guise of advising as consultants only). I really want to go in-house, but I feel like I'm just fucked because no one really gives me a shot because I'm not coming from a traditional law firm.
The thing is, you are NOT doing the exact same work as at a firm. The biggest difference is that the Big 4 can't draft primary transaction documents. A lot of what you do in biglaw is drafting tax sections of transaction documents. That doesn't mean you aren't getting good tax experience, and that your skillset wouldn't be applicable in biglaw, but there are things that you'd need ramp up time for if you went into a firm.

Big4 shouldn't be a deal-killer in-house. In fact, given that most in-house tax departments are run by former Big4 people, it can actually be advantage over biglaw. I'd start by talking to your clients.
I don’t think OP is in tax consulting. I think they’re in management consulting.

billbraskysucka

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by billbraskysucka » Tue May 05, 2020 3:07 pm

1) Yes -- I'm in D.C.

2) Risk and regulatory advising. We're advising on CCPA, FLBA, HIPAA, etc. Really depends who the client is -- I guess you could say we're regulatory generalists. Everyone on my team is a lawyer. We also help clients with contract reviews and contract audits.

3) I'm looking for in house legal roles. I really want to go in-house and work on corporate transactions. I've gotten to final interviews for 2 companies, but I haven't gotten the job. They ask for 3 years of experience and I'm apply with 2, so maybe that's why. Or maybe it's because I'm not coming from a law firm (which is my hunch).

4) I'm having a tough time applying to law firms. I went to a T25 school and graduated with a 3.2, so obviously not stellar credentials. What sources do you look at for lower tier AmLaw jobs? I've looked on gobiglaw.com and linkedin, but nothing is sticking and I feel like I'm going to be stuck as a miserable JD consultant forever.
Anonymous User wrote:Let me ask you a few questions to better understand.

(1) Are you in a major market?

(2) What kind of advisory are you doing? I think there is a distinction between MBB-style management consulting and, for example, tax consulting.

(3) What kind of in-house roles are you looking for? I imagine you're looking for positions with F500 companies (maybe even your clients). However, it's possible that by in-house you mean a position as an associate at a law firm. Assuming the former, Big4 consultants are desirable for in-house positions. I think it's fairly undisputed that Big4 advisory is really just a stepping stone to in-house work.

(4) Are you applying to legal roles? If you're a management consultant for Deloitte and you apply to a front office position (non legal position) at a client, or similar, I would imagine you'd be at least qualified enough to make it to an interview. On the other hand, if you're a Deloitte management consultant and you're applying for a position as legal counsel in a F500, you're probably being rejected because you dont have any true legal experience. In that case, I would suggest you pivot from Big4 consulting to a law firm. I think there are plenty of law firms (probably lower tier amlaw 100-200) that would hire a lateral associate who is an attorney but spent 2-3 years at the big4 if the group you were applying to is directly related to the work you did as an advisory consultant. For example, say you spent 3 years as a tax consultant with Deloitte, you should be applying for tax associate positions with law firms. Or, say you were an international business consultant working with import/export clients. You should apply to law firms for roles in their supply chain practice/import/export group.

billbraskysucka

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by billbraskysucka » Tue May 05, 2020 3:10 pm

2013 wrote:How do I get a job as a consultant at a big 4? That job sounds enticing. decent pay and travel!
Everyone I work with is a lawyer, and last I heard most of the Big 4 firms are actively hiring lawyers. They're competing with big law for clients in some aspects (Google it if you want to see some articles about Big 4 starting to creep on big law's turf). The pay is good. I started at $145,000 with a $15k signing bonus. Now I'm at $165k. The travel sucks my left nut though sometimes (Mon-Thurs client travel).

billbraskysucka

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by billbraskysucka » Tue May 05, 2020 3:12 pm

ChosenOneNow wrote:At the risk of being criticized for stating something obvious, I suggest networking with alumni from your law school or Big 4 firm that work in house or in law firms. Also, stop thinking that you have pigeonholed yourself. From the class of 2018, you are still relatively junior. You should not be precluded from opportunities outside of what you have done for the last two years. Come up with a good story about why you want to transition into whatever it is that the alum from your law school or Big 4 alumni is doing in house or at the law firm.

I think this is just a matter of your networking and putting yourself in front of enough people. You can definitely find something in house or at a law firm.
I'm trying. I do feel pigeonholed though. I feel like Big 4 is a scarlet letter and no one really gets what lawyers do there on the client advisory side. It's also tough because I'm not at the 3 year preference for a lot of in house jobs I'm seeing. I know it sounds like I'm complaining a lot (which I am), but it's just been tough out there.

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billbraskysucka

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by billbraskysucka » Tue May 05, 2020 3:13 pm

2013 wrote:
nealric wrote:
billbraskysucka wrote:. That's the general sense I'm getting, and recruiters have told me the same (i.e. that firms don't really understand that the big 4 are pretty much doing the exact same work at a cheaper price and under the guise of advising as consultants only). I really want to go in-house, but I feel like I'm just fucked because no one really gives me a shot because I'm not coming from a traditional law firm.
The thing is, you are NOT doing the exact same work as at a firm. The biggest difference is that the Big 4 can't draft primary transaction documents. A lot of what you do in biglaw is drafting tax sections of transaction documents. That doesn't mean you aren't getting good tax experience, and that your skillset wouldn't be applicable in biglaw, but there are things that you'd need ramp up time for if you went into a firm.

Big4 shouldn't be a deal-killer in-house. In fact, given that most in-house tax departments are run by former Big4 people, it can actually be advantage over biglaw. I'd start by talking to your clients.
I don’t think OP is in tax consulting. I think they’re in management consulting.
Correct. Not in tax consulting. I'm on the regulatory advisory side of things.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by 2013 » Tue May 05, 2020 4:32 pm

OP, since you’re in DC, you should focus on some of the regulatory boutique law firms that do some of the stuff you work on. They’d probably bite. Downside is that I doubt you’ll be going in-house to do contract work if you take that route.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 12:03 am

nealric wrote:
billbraskysucka wrote:. That's the general sense I'm getting, and recruiters have told me the same (i.e. that firms don't really understand that the big 4 are pretty much doing the exact same work at a cheaper price and under the guise of advising as consultants only). I really want to go in-house, but I feel like I'm just fucked because no one really gives me a shot because I'm not coming from a traditional law firm.
The thing is, you are NOT doing the exact same work as at a firm. The biggest difference is that the Big 4 can't draft primary transaction documents. A lot of what you do in biglaw is drafting tax sections of transaction documents. That doesn't mean you aren't getting good tax experience, and that your skillset wouldn't be applicable in biglaw, but there are things that you'd need ramp up time for if you went into a firm.

Big4 shouldn't be a deal-killer in-house. In fact, given that most in-house tax departments are run by former Big4 people, it can actually be advantage over biglaw. I'd start by talking to your clients.
OP, see if you can move to tax consulting in Big4 first (given you have an interest in tax law). Unless you move to a law firm first, an in-house position might be difficult. Like mentioned in the above post, many in-house tax departments are run by former Big 4 people. Also, quite a few BigLaw Tax associates/partners worked at Big4 (M&A/Int Tax/National) at some point. If tax is not your thing and you want to pursue an in-house position, network, mass mail, and apply for law firm jobs. Best of luck!

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by dabigchina » Wed May 06, 2020 12:11 am

billbraskysucka wrote:1) Yes -- I'm in D.C.

2) Risk and regulatory advising. We're advising on CCPA, FLBA, HIPAA, etc. Really depends who the client is -- I guess you could say we're regulatory generalists. Everyone on my team is a lawyer. We also help clients with contract reviews and contract audits.

3) I'm looking for in house legal roles. I really want to go in-house and work on corporate transactions. I've gotten to final interviews for 2 companies, but I haven't gotten the job. They ask for 3 years of experience and I'm apply with 2, so maybe that's why. Or maybe it's because I'm not coming from a law firm (which is my hunch).

4) I'm having a tough time applying to law firms. I went to a T25 school and graduated with a 3.2, so obviously not stellar credentials. What sources do you look at for lower tier AmLaw jobs? I've looked on gobiglaw.com and linkedin, but nothing is sticking and I feel like I'm going to be stuck as a miserable JD consultant forever.
Anonymous User wrote:Let me ask you a few questions to better understand.

(1) Are you in a major market?

(2) What kind of advisory are you doing? I think there is a distinction between MBB-style management consulting and, for example, tax consulting.

(3) What kind of in-house roles are you looking for? I imagine you're looking for positions with F500 companies (maybe even your clients). However, it's possible that by in-house you mean a position as an associate at a law firm. Assuming the former, Big4 consultants are desirable for in-house positions. I think it's fairly undisputed that Big4 advisory is really just a stepping stone to in-house work.

(4) Are you applying to legal roles? If you're a management consultant for Deloitte and you apply to a front office position (non legal position) at a client, or similar, I would imagine you'd be at least qualified enough to make it to an interview. On the other hand, if you're a Deloitte management consultant and you're applying for a position as legal counsel in a F500, you're probably being rejected because you dont have any true legal experience. In that case, I would suggest you pivot from Big4 consulting to a law firm. I think there are plenty of law firms (probably lower tier amlaw 100-200) that would hire a lateral associate who is an attorney but spent 2-3 years at the big4 if the group you were applying to is directly related to the work you did as an advisory consultant. For example, say you spent 3 years as a tax consultant with Deloitte, you should be applying for tax associate positions with law firms. Or, say you were an international business consultant working with import/export clients. You should apply to law firms for roles in their supply chain practice/import/export group.
Surprised you haven't been able to get bites with ccpa experience. My understanding is that it's been a hot area.

That being said, u should stick it out for another year or 2 and see if any of your clients are hiring. If they use you, they know what you can do.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 06, 2020 2:35 pm

I worked in Big4 Consulting out of law school and was able to land a top law firm transactional job. I honestly don't think you will be able to go in-house in a transactions role with no firm experience without being very lucky. It's hard to get those kinds of jobs from a law firm, let alone a consulting gig that doesn't cover M&A/financing/SEC work.

Unfortunately, firm hiring is probably at a standstill right now, so I'd try and network as much as possible and then stay in your current job or just give up the need to do transactions work and and go in-house doing more regulatory work.

I definitely understand hating the travel. That, and the pay (which I admit has gotten substantially better since I left), were the reasons I left. If you really want out, it may be best to take any decent in-house role and try to get over once in to the transactions or commercial teams, but best bet will be going to a law firm.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by merde_happens » Tue May 12, 2020 2:47 pm

IMHO your narrow focus on working in a corporate-focused in-house role is likely hampering you more than having a Big 4 job on your resume. If you had been doing management consulting in an M&A group, for example, then my guess would be that you'd have an easier time leveraging that experience into a corporate counsel position. The type of work that you have been doing isn't really translatable to corporate transactions, and so not only do you have less than the requisite 3 years of experience, but your experience isn't really applicable to the positions for which you're applying (I assume, anyway).

Your experience with CCPA and HIPAA should be a real boon to you and the HIPAA expertise especially should actually give you a leg up against many big law associates. Privacy is a red-hot topic and digital health is booming right now. That said, you have to actually put yourself in a competitive position. You're going to have better luck pitching yourself as privacy/regulatory counsel than corporate counsel, even at a healthcare company.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by billbraskysucka » Sun May 17, 2020 8:52 pm

How long were you in Big 4 consulting?? And how were you able to land the transactional job at the law firm? Mind if I ask what your GPA was?

PLEASE let me know. My GPA seems to hold me back from big law jobs. 3.2 from a top 25 school.
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 2:35 pm
I worked in Big4 Consulting out of law school and was able to land a top law firm transactional job. I honestly don't think you will be able to go in-house in a transactions role with no firm experience without being very lucky. It's hard to get those kinds of jobs from a law firm, let alone a consulting gig that doesn't cover M&A/financing/SEC work.

Unfortunately, firm hiring is probably at a standstill right now, so I'd try and network as much as possible and then stay in your current job or just give up the need to do transactions work and and go in-house doing more regulatory work.

I definitely understand hating the travel. That, and the pay (which I admit has gotten substantially better since I left), were the reasons I left. If you really want out, it may be best to take any decent in-house role and try to get over once in to the transactions or commercial teams, but best bet will be going to a law firm.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by chruck » Wed May 20, 2020 9:25 am

Also big 4 regulatory consultant but formally practiced (non biglaw) and worked at a regulator. Have you tried applying to a bigfed attorney job? Whoever regulates HIPPA maybe? I feel like government is much more loose with attorney titles than industry. I think a huge issue is that industry is leaning on compliance a lot more for regulatory issues/interpretation. Where compliance used to do much more of the execution/operations. Companies are using legal purely to negotiate contracts/deals. When I was in industry my group was all attorneys starting out and slowly shifted to all compliance officers (even if they were licensed attorneys). Even my boss came from an attorney role at a fed regulator and was considered a compliance exec.

I am currently pretty split between trying to make partner at the big 4, going back to law (in-house or Fed), or jumping into a more pure consulting role (process improvement/strategy/analytics). Let me know if you want to PM and discuss further. Would also be interested in what B4 your at since your comp is higher than mine.

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Re: Leaving Big 4 Consulting to Go In House Legal

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 27, 2020 4:46 pm

billbraskysucka wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 8:52 pm
How long were you in Big 4 consulting?? And how were you able to land the transactional job at the law firm? Mind if I ask what your GPA was?

PLEASE let me know. My GPA seems to hold me back from big law jobs. 3.2 from a top 25 school.
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 2:35 pm
I worked in Big4 Consulting out of law school and was able to land a top law firm transactional job. I honestly don't think you will be able to go in-house in a transactions role with no firm experience without being very lucky. It's hard to get those kinds of jobs from a law firm, let alone a consulting gig that doesn't cover M&A/financing/SEC work.

Unfortunately, firm hiring is probably at a standstill right now, so I'd try and network as much as possible and then stay in your current job or just give up the need to do transactions work and and go in-house doing more regulatory work.

I definitely understand hating the travel. That, and the pay (which I admit has gotten substantially better since I left), were the reasons I left. If you really want out, it may be best to take any decent in-house role and try to get over once in to the transactions or commercial teams, but best bet will be going to a law firm.
I was in my consulting job for about 2 years before I jumped ship to join the first year class at a firm. My GPA was about median, but I had an upward trend and did well in transactional/corporate classes. I also had a lot of friends from law school with firm jobs, so they were more than willing to recommend me when their groups were hiring juniors. Some firms weren't interested, but a few firms were very interested in hiring a first year with a year of MBA level consulting experience and I just sold myself well in the interview.

Sell your consulting experience hard. Most deal work really is project management and if you do a good job of managing transactions, it good for everyone involved, especially clients, which is a lot of what I did as a consultant. I also worked with fortune 500 clients on strategic initiatives, so I was able to pitch it as maturity and experience and that I understood what client services at a high level were, at least better than some random high-GPA 3L.

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