How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

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Inhousefuture

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How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

Post by Inhousefuture » Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:18 am

To Review:

0L My Stats: Non-URM LSAT:169 GPA: 3.3

Goal: Working as a in-house attorney within a company

From my research here, I have heard that there are so many factors involved in becoming an In-House Attorney at a good company (I.E Hollywood studio, FAANG company, Well funded startup, Bank, etc). For instance, getting into the right LS, getting the grades needed for Biglaw, getting hired by BigLaw, Getting into the right groups in BigLaw, Finally getting hired by a company.

My questions are:

1. Is becoming an in-house attorney on the West Cost an achievable goal for a 0L with my stats
( In other words, going to LS for the purpose of one day working In-House after punching my ticket in BigLaw) a reasonable goal or is it a crapshoot that is equivalent to going to LS for the purpose of becoming a Supreme Court Clerk, Team Leader at Top Public interest such as ACLU, or any other very competitive goals?

2. Once someone does get hired by Big how much of a crapshoot is it to:

1. Get assigned to a group within BigLaw that will provide relevant experience (IE Tech Trans or General corporate)?

2. Do well in BigLaw?

3, Get hired for an in-house job that one is technically qualified for? In other words, how tough will the competition be?

I want to make sure that my goals are achievable since Going to LS and working the required 4-6 years in BigLaw will involve tons of debt (unless I get a full ride) and use up nearly a decade of my life.

I understand that these are a lot of questions, but I am trying to carefully make some decisions regarding my career and educational plans. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks

dvlthndr

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Re: How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

Post by dvlthndr » Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:34 am

Inhousefuture wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:18 am

1. Is becoming an in-house attorney on the West Cost an achievable goal for a 0L with my stats
( In other words, going to LS for the purpose of one day working In-House after punching my ticket in BigLaw) a reasonable goal or is it a crapshoot that is equivalent to going to LS for the purpose of becoming a Supreme Court Clerk, Team Leader at Top Public interest such as ACLU, or any other very competitive goals?

It is not a reasonable goal. It is very rare to find in-house jobs straight out of law school, much less at half-decent companies. Law schools teach you little about actually being a lawyer. Those first few years in Big Law are when you learn all the useful skills that employers might be interested in (e.g., reviewing and drafting contracts; giving advice on pending litigation and potential deals; navigating employment law and government regulations; etc.). The vast majority of companies hiring for in-house positions will expect to see a minimum 3-5 years of Big Law under your belt.

2. Once someone does get hired by Big how much of a crapshoot is it to:

1. Get assigned to a group within BigLaw that will provide relevant experience (IE Tech Trans or General corporate)?

2. Do well in BigLaw?

3, Get hired for an in-house job that one is technically qualified for? In other words, how tough will the competition be?

Assuming you can get a job in BigLaw, the rest is pretty easy. It's not hart to get exposure to general corporate work and build up a skill set (even if it's not in the perfect sub-field). Firms have an interest in making sure their "alumni" leave on good terms and land swanky in-house roles (don't worry, they will expect you to remember them fondly and throw them some work now and then). Former BigLaw associates, even the mediocre ones, usually seem to land on their feet.

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cavalier1138

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Re: How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

Post by cavalier1138 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:42 am

Just to reiterate the above: Your whole post seems to be based on the assumption that you get biglaw, which is not a guarantee at your likely school options.

The hard part isn't jumping in-house from biglaw; the hard part is getting biglaw to begin with.

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Yugihoe

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Re: How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

Post by Yugihoe » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:55 pm

And why the fascination with in-house? It's a pretty normal outcome, but I mean it entails 3 years of law school and likely 3 years of big law on top of it (if not more). Those latter years in big law are not easy. If you have to take on like 200-300k in debt, it makes the entire process EVEN more burdensome. I would revaluate if you actually want to practice law and if doing so in-house is really what you think it is cracked up to be.

That being said, yes it's possible but would maximize lsat and gpa, minimize debt, go to t14 and then get potentially get big law and try not to quit early.

ETA: Just saw the 169 and 3.3. Not that great. Anyway you can retake LSAT and then try a splitter friendly t14? Problem is you likely won't get that much money in t14.

Inhousefuture

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Re: How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

Post by Inhousefuture » Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:43 pm

Yugihoe wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:55 pm
And why the fascination with in-house? It's a pretty normal outcome, but I mean it entails 3 years of law school and likely 3 years of big law on top of it (if not more). Those latter years in big law are not easy. If you have to take on like 200-300k in debt, it makes the entire process EVEN more burdensome. I would revaluate if you actually want to practice law and if doing so in-house is really what you think it is cracked up to be.

That being said, yes it's possible but would maximize lsat and gpa, minimize debt, go to t14 and then get potentially get big law and try not to quit early.

ETA: Just saw the 169 and 3.3. Not that great. Anyway you can retake LSAT and then try a splitter friendly t14? Problem is you likely won't get that much money in t14.
A few reasons why I am fascinated by In-house:
1. I prefer the compensation structure of In House to the compensation structure of Biglaw, since Firms only pay a fixed salary and semi-fixed bonus, while some In-House jobs have annual performance bonuses, profit sharing and stock options. I like the idea of there being some variability and upside to my compensation as opposed to just a fixed salary.

2. At an In-House job, I might have some flexibility to devote time to probono social justice work and hobbies on the side if the job is 9 to 5 or nearly 9 to 5.


3. Some In-House jobs have a wider variety of legal work than firm jobs. For instance, I have known an In-House attorney that does primarily contracts for their startup but also does employment law and corporate governance.

4. In some In-House Jobs, there is the chance to do the following:

A. See the actual reality of the industry you are working in. For instance, learn about the movie business if you are actually working at a movie studio, learn about Real Estate and get to the watch the business side do their thing if you work at a Real Estate Development firm.

B. As an In-House Lawyer in a few cases you may get a chance to try out non-legal duties such as HR, sit in on company brainstorming sessions, or do even go to a few high level sales meetings. At the very high end level, some GCs overlap deeply into the business side. The most famous example is George Ross of Apprentice Fame. He is the GC of the Trump Organization yet he did not just draft contracts or supervise the drafting of the contracts. He was a true strategic advisor on most Real Estate deals.

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Inhousefuture

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Re: How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

Post by Inhousefuture » Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:47 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:42 am
Just to reiterate the above: Your whole post seems to be based on the assumption that you get biglaw, which is not a guarantee at your likely school options.

The hard part isn't jumping in-house from biglaw; the hard part is getting biglaw to begin with.
Assuming I get into a T20 School which does offer a coin flip chance of Biglaw, what will affect my chances of getting hired into BigLaw. For instance, I know that 1l grades play a role, but is there a hard cutoff? In other words at a lower T20 school, does a student know by the end of the 1st year if BigLaw will be open to them? If I do meet the general threshold, am I almost locked for Biglaw or do activities like Law Review or other factors play a role?
Thanks

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nealric

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Re: How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

Post by nealric » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:04 am

I am a F500 in-house lawyer.

If you make it to biglaw, your chances of getting some sort of in-house gig are fairly decent. It’s not an easy gig to get, but it’s not a unicorn gig like being a SCOTUS clerk or “international human rights” lawyer.

As for getting biglaw, it’s of course a matter of grades and school. At a T20, there isn’t really a hard cutoff, but you probably need to be top 1/3 of your class to be really competitive at most schools in that range. You may be able to go a bit lower with strong soft factors or a good economy, or need higher with weak sorts or poor economy. You’ll know if you are competitive for biglaw after 1L grades.

Don’t go to law school if you are going to think of the 7-10 years from starting law school to being viable for in-house jobs “wasted.” You also may decide on something different once you get into it.

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cavalier1138

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Re: How Viable is In-House as a career goal for a 0L?

Post by cavalier1138 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:24 am

Inhousefuture wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:47 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:42 am
Just to reiterate the above: Your whole post seems to be based on the assumption that you get biglaw, which is not a guarantee at your likely school options.

The hard part isn't jumping in-house from biglaw; the hard part is getting biglaw to begin with.
Assuming I get into a T20 School which does offer a coin flip chance of Biglaw, what will affect my chances of getting hired into BigLaw. For instance, I know that 1l grades play a role, but is there a hard cutoff? In other words at a lower T20 school, does a student know by the end of the 1st year if BigLaw will be open to them? If I do meet the general threshold, am I almost locked for Biglaw or do activities like Law Review or other factors play a role?
Thanks
It really depends on the school. As nealric said, you would probably need to be top third of your class at a school like UCLA to feel comfortable with your chances at biglaw in this economy. But the cutoff point (and how hard a cutoff it is) depends entirely on your school.

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