Any tips for nailing an interview for an in-house position?

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Remember your client is the company so discuss the positives of this such as getting to work day in day out with one client, really getting into the detail and being able to provide more tailored commercial advice.

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This. 100%. Not only is this good interview advice, these things are also all true — these truly are the positives of being in-house.

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Recognize that in house is different from firm work in many ways. Companies are looking for people who can make the transition. Do your research on the company and business lines relating to the role. Try to learn the names of senior employees especially those that might have public profiles. Ask questions about team structure. Emphasize work you have done that is similar to in-house work, e.g., that had a project management flavor, or where you helped implement changes or conduct training. Also emphasize a commercial mindset and understand the difference between risk avoidance advice (like at a law firm) and risk management advice (typical in house). Understand that in house counsel, unlike at a firm, are cost centers and not revenue generating. If you meet with people outside legal, in particular, show a commercial mindset.

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I agree regarding the comment about doing research on the company. You should try to understand the business and industry, who are the competitors, what are the big risks and opportunities in the horizon. I am always surprised unpleasantly when a candidate doesn’t seem to know what our company does and what risks and opportunities there are on the immediate horizon. E.g. if an industry is in turmoil due to Covid 19, and you’re interviewing in that industry, ask some questions about corporate strategy to combat the issues and to grow and “win the recovery.”

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I would emphasize that you will be a deal maker not a deal breaker. You understand how to negotiation and get deals done and not haggle over every minutiae of every contract.

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I just made the jump in house after seven years at a firm. I think the biggest thing TJ stress is how time at a firm makes you capable of recognizing quickly real vs. hypothetical risk. As litigators or firm lawyers were very attuned to what actually ends up in court and what to make a fuss about it. Huge pro. I also found that companies really liked hearing most about how I’d be a business partner and get to know the products rather than a lawyer. Highlighting that your time at a firm made you want to be in a more proactive vs. reactive role and be their for the life cycle of something rather than litigation it. Stressing your ability to wear a business hat is key. And agree with previous poster — deal maker not deal breaker. Have some good examples of deals that looked like they might fall through and what you did with clients to bring it back to life.

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Apologies for all the typos, was typing too fast! GOOD LUCK!

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Here a general tip on interviews: ask questions. Professional questions, questions based on things you see on their desks (sports, family, interests, etc), their professional paths, etc. If it’s in their desk, it’s meaningful to them. Anything that gets them talking about them. Beware of being to brown-nosey because no one likes that. But be genuine and interested and try to find areas that you can relate to and talk about intelligently. The benefit of asking questions is that you get the interviewer to talk about themselves, which for most people in our profession is their favorite topic. They’ll end the interview thinking you’re the greatest candidate. They already know your resume now they just want to see if you’ll be a good fit.

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It’s all about relationships in house. Have examples of how you have built relationships with tough clients or partners and how you’ll do that in house. There are always tough business lines (sales in particular).

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Talk about managing risk and compliance. Compliance is a strategic item that needs to be actively managed to drive the business forward. Understand what your KPIs will be, if any? Will you be asked to manage, draft or implement SOPs? Are you familiar with the governing entities OR laws that touch your business? (OSHA, FDA, HIPAA, TCPA etc.). Will you be asked to negotiate contracts or close deals? Being in-house your job is to make the business profitable and strategically mitigate risk. What are your budgetary restraints? Will you manage your own business unit or P&L? Ask questions, and show BI and BD skills.

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I left in house a little over 6 months ago, but one big thing to understand and stress your understanding of (on top of what has already been said here about being a cost center) is how to say "no" without actually saying no all the time. Also get in the nitty gritty of daily tasks for the position. Ask whoever's interviewing you if there are things that they feel get offloaded onto Legal that shouldn't necessarily be Legal's job. Ask how the legal department in is perceived by the company at large - is there a culture of having to go through legal or is the department largely seen as a small group of curmudgeons that no one wants to deal with and makes every effort not to? Finally, try and suss out what the company's approach to negotiating and settlements is, especially if you're going to be doing any of that as a part of your role. For example, does the company make settling a priority or are they more invested in taking disputes to the mat as a "deterrent"?

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Ask important and relevant questions. These include, but are not limited to, (1) what does a normal day look like? (2) is there a ticketing system to manage tasks? (3) how does the role integrate with other teams? (4) how is attorney performance evaluated? (5) what are some of the short and long terms goals of the role? (6) is the role new? (7) what is the turnover in the lethal department and/or the greater organization? (8) is there a universal on boarding program and is there an attorney specific on boarding program?

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Two hypos I got during in house counsel interviews: 1) the company wants to host a publicity event. You do some research and find out that the event may violate a municipal ordinance. What do you do? 2) would you rather have a rep that a counterparty has all of the intellectual property rights to the thing it is selling you or an indemnity for the same?

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Following.

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Thank you everyone! These are all great suggestions!

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