In-House Counsel

How did current in-house attorneys find their positions? I am currently in big law with 3 years of experience. Seems that most recruiters can only help me lateral to other big law firms.

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I came in house after 5 years in BigLaw, but had quite a few years of relevant experience prior to law school that probably sealed the deal. FWIW, legal departments at the big tech cos in the Bay Area have a ton of lower-level positions on offer and tend to be growing so quickly that they look at less experienced candidates (many take folks straight out of law school into the training programs). If you are in Austin or are willing to relocate, you might consider looking at them. Also, lean hard on whatever specialized experience you've gotten. There are plenty of transactional lawyers out there, so look at what you can say differentiates you and look for those companies that would need that. Selling yourself as a 3rd year general transactional lawyer is going to be tough going unless you've got an in or something else going for you.

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That’s helpful, thank you!

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Start with the Fortune 500 and scour their postings. Many larger legal departments are fairly well staffed at the top and need to fill in at the bottom (negative connotation need not be inferred).

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I only had 3.5 years of experience in a small firm. I landed a job with a Fortune 50 company who was looking for someone with a very specialized background. So, between that and lots of prayers, I'd say find the wrinkle that allows you to express your best talents.

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From my experience smaller companies are looking for someone with more experience but the Fortune 500 with bigger legal teams have jobs for attorneys 4-7 year range to serve under senior counsel. I’d suggest starting by looking on LinkedIn there are a ton of in-house positions posted there and you can filter by experience. Also networking, ACC is a great place to meet people who could potentially hire you.

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Association of corporate counsel. I can’t speak for every city but our group is fairly active and most of our speakers are from firms.

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I got recruited by my company after 2.5 years in big law. I know this is not the most helpful but many of my colleagues both at the firm and the current company had the same path.

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I only spent 3 years in house at a fortune 500 before leaving, but when I landed the position, I was a 5th year and found it through a recruiter. Ultimately, that life wasn't for me, but I left with a ton of connections that helped me build a book I otherwise wouldn't have been able to. I would not discourage anyone from seeking an in-house opportunity if they wanted to, but I warn you of all the false friends you'll quickly make once you have that title.

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Check out goinhouse blog. Lots of resources.

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What region and what area of practice are you in?

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Transactional law in Texas

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