In-house in a completely different practice area

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In-house in a completely different practice area

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:41 pm

I recently got an offer to go in-house in a practice area I didn’t work in at all before. I had tried switching into the area at my firm and at other firms, but I was unable to. The next best thing was to go in-house.

As happy as I am about the offer, I’m not sure I’m ready to be in-house “for good.” I’m okay leaving my position, but I would like to keep the door back into a biglaw-ish firm in a few years (unless I grow to love in-house). Would going to this firm shut the door on making a return to firm life?

The in-house position is a privacy regulatory position (GDPR, CCPA, etc.) at a fairly large data analytics company. I’ve spoken to mentors and they’ve said that they don’t think it’ll be impossible to move back into a law firm given the area, but they said it may be difficult.

I’m okay with the pay cut and all of that, but I actually really like law firm life and I saw this as my only option of switching into privacy.

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Re: In-house in a completely different practice area

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:42 pm

I work in-house in privacy, after coming from a law firm. I don’t have any specific knowledge about moving back into a firm, and your mentors’ assessment seems broadly right: I doubt it’ll be impossible, but it may take work. My suspicion is that will have more to do with the fact you’ll have a niche skill set that is very valuable, but isn’t something that law firms are constantly hiring for, rather than skepticism about hiring someone from an in-house role.

That said, my guess is you’ll be able to go back if you really want to. My company has been trying to hire an experienced privacy counsel recently, and it’s just very difficult to find people with actually strong substantive knowledge of and experience with privacy law. Even people who claim the experience have mostly dealt with it at a very high level. But it’s a very important risk area for many companies, and it’s only becoming more important. So if you can get truly strong experience on CCPA/CPRA, GDPR etc, the skill set will be highly marketable.

Anonymous User
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Re: In-house in a completely different practice area

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:41 am

Thanks for the advice. I will ask more about what I’d be doing day-to-day. I know it’s more regulatory than transactional, and I was told it would generally be CCPA/GDPR/GLBA (and other new data privacy law) advising. I got the feeling that I’d be getting into the weeds a lot.

Anonymous User
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Re: In-house in a completely different practice area

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:36 pm

You'll certainly be going into the weeds a lot more in most in house roles, but that is going to vary hugely depending on the company and legal department.

I know plenty of people who have transitioned back outside, but I wouldn't expect to do it after a year or two, you're going to need a longer tenure if you don't want to take a step backwards when you eventually do transition.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358486
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: In-house in a completely different practice area

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:37 pm

You'll certainly be going into the weeds a lot more in most in house roles, but that is going to vary hugely depending on the company and legal department.

I know plenty of people who have transitioned back outside, but I wouldn't expect to do it after a year or two, you're going to need a longer tenure if you don't want to take a step backwards when you eventually do transition.

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