Moving In-House as a Finance Associate Forum

(Discuss Advantages vs Disadvantages, Making the Switch From Private Practice to In-House, Compensation & Hours, Work-Life balance, In-House Reviews & Experiences)

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Moving In-House as a Finance Associate

Post by ThrewItAway152 » Fri Sep 30, 2022 11:50 am

Hi all - to anyone who's moved in-house to a company that's not a bank/investment firm/PE firm, would you mind talking about your journey? Fairly open-ended question, just want to hear about people's experiences.

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Re: Moving In-House as a Finance Associate

Post by Gatriel » Fri May 19, 2023 4:41 am

I went from a high-yield debt team in a T law firm to founding a legal department in a SME some 5 years ago and am still there. Its not a bank/PE/VC and is a completely new field.

My transition was actually pretty smooth - the hardest thing I still struggle with is neither the sales team nor the CEO care at all about documents being "perfect" - they just want to get the job done without exposing the company to undue risk/personal liability.

Irrespective of what part of the growth curve your new employer is - your background in debt/equity will help your employer. Make sure you make yourself known to your superiors that this is something you can do help with.

Most in-house teams report to the CEO/COO - most of the time these people aren't themselves attorneys and actually DGAF about legal theory or perfectly beautiful transaction documents like a partner in a law firm would. You went from being the revenue generator (at the firm) to now being a sunk cost. Make sure you allocate your time as such.

Make contact with your sales team/head of business development as soon as possible. Let him/her know you are there to help and not to make their lives difficult.

If you are coming into an established legal team - spend your first day or two figuring out how they store documents, edit documents, email etiquette there. Odds are the days of clean markups in Word and then running a Redline with Litera are over.

If you are coming into a start-up/scale-up without a pre-existing legal team you should immediately -

1) Find an updated Org Chart and ensure its accurate.
2) Create a table/list of all subs, official registered addresses, filing deadlines, insurance requirements, doctors/officers, cap table (incase they aren't 100% owned), etc., etc.,
3) Figure out the TopCos cap-table. Who owns what, who can sign for who, are POAs for signing lined up, Pooling Agreements, etc., etc.,
4) Get your hands around the insurance topic quickly, when what policies expire, when they renew, who your brokers are, etc., etc.,
5) If you have any dealing with data or employees in the EU - ensure you read up on what GDPR is and find yourself a law firm that can assist with it. Nothing can sink a start-up faster than processing employee data incorrectly and a pissed off employee reports your company to the authorities and you get audited.

TL;DR No one cares about legal theory - pragmatism and picking your battles is key.

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