Upwards mobility for commercial counsel?

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Upwards mobility for commercial counsel?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:49 pm

I'm currently a junior biglaw associate and hoping to jump in-house pretty much as "soon" as I can. I was hoping to target tech companies because I find the industry interesting but am concerned given some comments I've seen on here that commercial counsel roles are somewhat of a dead end since, for many large companies, you'd essentially just be doing contract review forever. I'd be going in-house from a tech trans role so commercial counsel is by far the easiest transition and most relevant to my current skillset. Are most commercial counsel roles, particularly those at large tech companies, that limited and am I shooting myself in the foot by not waiting for a potential corporate counsel or product counsel role instead? If so, how readily can people transition from a commercial counsel role to a more substantive position once already in house?

For context, I'm not shooting to be GC of a company one day. It'd just be nice to know that my job might one day be more interesting than marking up vendor agreements all day (although, if the hours are cushy enough I imagine I'd find even that hard to say no to given how many hours I'm currently billing).

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Re: Upwards mobility for commercial counsel?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:17 pm

bump

Anonymous User
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Re: Upwards mobility for commercial counsel?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:49 pm
I'm currently a junior biglaw associate and hoping to jump in-house pretty much as "soon" as I can. I was hoping to target tech companies because I find the industry interesting but am concerned given some comments I've seen on here that commercial counsel roles are somewhat of a dead end since, for many large companies, you'd essentially just be doing contract review forever. I'd be going in-house from a tech trans role so commercial counsel is by far the easiest transition and most relevant to my current skillset. Are most commercial counsel roles, particularly those at large tech companies, that limited and am I shooting myself in the foot by not waiting for a potential corporate counsel or product counsel role instead? If so, how readily can people transition from a commercial counsel role to a more substantive position once already in house?

For context, I'm not shooting to be GC of a company one day. It'd just be nice to know that my job might one day be more interesting than marking up vendor agreements all day (although, if the hours are cushy enough I imagine I'd find even that hard to say no to given how many hours I'm currently billing).
Can reply for my big company, though this is probably colored by having a few hundred lawyers.
As long as someone doesn't join as part of the legal support team (think like contract lawyers), it's fairly easy to swap teams and pursue other interests within the company. It's actually encouraged, as part of career development, as the company wants our lawyers to learn about various groups and find the best fit.

hangtime813

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Re: Upwards mobility for commercial counsel?

Post by hangtime813 » Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:53 pm

OP, I think a lot of your concerns are valid. A lot of my connections who moved to commercial counsel positions pretty much stayed as commercial counsel indefinitely, with the only upward mobility being product counsel (of course there is the occasional exception of them moving to corporate counsel). As you said, its basically vendor or sales contracts review everyday all day. As mentioned in other threads, the pecking order, including pay, is usually corp counsel (including employment etc.), product counsel, then commercial counsel, so it might be tough to become GC.

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