{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m a midlevel Big Law associate applying for in-house positions that ask for experience drafting and negotiating agreements. I have negotiated a few agreements, but I am light in the area, though I have the substantive knowledge and I’m comfortable marking up agreements. If asked about my negotiation experience in an interview, I plan to talk about the agreements I have negotiated and some of the issues that came up. How would you recommend I talk about my negotiation skills in an interview?", "post_id": "5f8cc6dbe00d42002b637337", "reply_count": 5, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5dc50686129b3e0021a249b4", "bowl_name": "In-House Counsel" }

I’m a midlevel Big Law associate applying for in-house positions that ask for experience drafting and negotiating agreements. I have negotiated a few agreements, but I am light in the area, though I have the substantive knowledge and I’m comfortable marking up agreements. If asked about my negotiation experience in an interview, I plan to talk about the agreements I have negotiated and some of the issues that came up. How would you recommend I talk about my negotiation skills in an interview?

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I think the way you’ve summarized your experience above makes sense and would work well. My suggestion is to be honest/candid along the lines of what you said above. And you can be specific. E.g., “On many deals at the firm, I’m second chair, so I generally handle the markups and drafting, though I can turn to the partner with questions and for guidance. The partner often leads the negotiations, but I am comfortable with the substantive issues and could speak to them myself. On certain deals and agreements — for example [XYZ], I lead the negotiations myself — though that is a skill I want to develop more, which is part of why I’m so excited about this role.” The folks interviewing you won’t be surprised by that— sounds like you’re right where you should be, and where they’d expect you to be (and likely better) at this point in your career. So I would think you’re in good shape on this point. Good luck!

likeupliftinghelpful

The big difference comes from an understanding of the operations. Outside counsel never really understand how the business works and this is often reflected in unrealistic or unworkable contract provisions. First you will need to understand when and how much leverage your client can exert in the industry. Second you should profess a real enthusiasm for learning about the operations and act on it. Normally I would want to tour the biggest operations (and eventually all of them) but with current events this may have to wait a bit. This will help you immensely. You will need to align with the business people as your job will be helping them meet business goals so ask about that. I always characterize outside counsel as in the stands cheering while in-house counsel is on the playing field. Understanding the business operations is what gives you the ability to negotiate from a position of strength.

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Don’t stress about it. You have the experience, don’t sell yourself short. What did you learn about those few times and how have they shaped your future negotiation strategy? It’s all about how you frame it. Did you have a difficult concession you had to make and how did you weigh the options? How did you determine what items were need to haves and which were want to haves? How did you find mutual areas of understanding?

likehelpful

I really appreciate it! Thank you!

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