For in-house counsel roles, does firm prestige matter? For example, would the fact that an applicant is from Sullivan & Cromwell vs, say, White & Case matter at all, or is it much more about experience/interview? Does it matter as much as law school credentials? Assuming a mid-level corporate associate seeking to go in-house.

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Depends on company and role. For me personally I’m at a F10 and I don’t care what firm but there are other perspectives within my company especially at higher levels. I’d say take the job where you’ll get the best experience.

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Bay Area Tech company in-house here: I care about your substantive skills for the job, not your firm's vault ranking. Period. And I'd take someone from a lower ranked Valley firm over a NY powerhouse firm any day.

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I’ve told mentees that firm names help rise to the top of the pile, an instant sort of vetting tool. But it’s far away from the most important element, depending on what you’re looking for. Some companies look for pedigree. My experience is most look for skill set and ability to learn and expand skill sets.

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Ditto, we look for skill set at my current company. Firm names generally don’t matter for us, we really try to find someone with the best culture fit and skill set.

I wouldn't say it's meaningful enough to take SullCrom over White and Case for that reason. Most GCs care about pedigree to an extent, but it's going to be a rare case where it's that difference in perceived firm quality that lotse you over the edge.

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It’s really about specialty imo. Like if you’re at a v10 firm that’s meh at labor & employment, and you’re trying to get a labor & employment in-house job, they’re not going to pick random v10 over a lower ranked firm thats well known to do really good employment work. But I’m highly specialized and my industry is a small world, so maybe diff. Not sure how those firms you named rank for corporate and if you are looking at specialist or more general roles.

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Don’t go to White & Case.

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Some offices are terrible/partners are terrible, so much so that my friend had to leave one of their CA offices after just 15 months

Depends on the company and what work you did at the firm. I'm in-house and we do not care at all about prestige of firms or law school credentials. We care about experience and what you offer the company. I would actually prefer someone with government (e.g., AG office) experience as they would be better suited to handle compliance issues that arise. When bringing a former firm-lawyer in house, there's a lot of de-training that has to happen, which can be hard depending on where they come from.

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For context to my question, I’m an associate considering a lateral move to another firm for a number of reasons. The new firm is a much better fit, but slightly less prestigious. Should I stay if my ultimate goal is to move in-house in the next 4ish years?

What about government role (e.g. AG consumer protection division) to in house?

It always matters. The GC’s are still from the firm world.

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