Read something a couple of months ago about how only corporate counsels have a path to General Counsel - is this true? Is it harder to become the Head of Legal or Chief Legal Officer of a company if one starts out their in-house career as a commercial counsel?

Posting as :
works at
You are currently posting as works at

I think it’s all about individual experience and got within a company. Last year, I reviewed hundreds over resumes and did tons of interviews for a GC role at my company, and I can tell you that I did not care about a specific title if someone could explain (in both their resume and interview) the practical experience we were looking for.


I’ve heard this too and that commercial counsel positions are often dead-end jobs because all you learn is how to get really good at drafting contracts and nothing else.

I feel like I need to add an addendum to my comment. I’m not trying to diss on commercial counsel, but their role is by definition primarily a contracts one. A GC does little with contracts and is a business-minded issue spot for all kinds of legal risks. Commercial counsel don’t typically get this training, or not much. I’m not saying it’s better to be a corporate counsel, but just pointing out that a GC needs more skills than contract drafting.

It's not the only path. But its the easiest one by far. For a number of reasons really. But ultimately it's bc it's a skill set that is hard to learn in the job while commercial is easy to. On top of that the corporate DGC gets the most board and key exec access, so more face time.

You're obv still early if you can even equate a head of legal with GC/CLO because the role and levels aren't often the same. You start where you can but corporate is the surest track in my book.

Depends on the role. This skills required for a solo GC at an early stage private company are quite different from a GC at a large public company leading a large legal team. The former role will require proficiency in commercial contracting, the latter probably not.

Not enough experience in fundraising, IPO, M&A or able to oversee specialists in other areas like IP, employment, etc. Seen it lots of times where a head of legal got layered over or replaced altogether when the company grew and it's needs grew.

Related Posts

Trying to understand modeling math/mental math better. Trying to break into real estate and more interested in cap rate relationships, how returns change with varying LTV (quick math), irr and equity multiple math. Open to paying for a course or books!!! Thank you everyone!!!

Does anybody here do any side work for extra income using their data expertise? I would love ideas that I could do from ~5-15 hours a week. Tutoring is the only thing that comes to mind immediately. Thanks in advance!


Anyone in international arbitration? Just started a year ago and wondering why so many people want to enter the field. WLB and toxicity seem worse than everywhere else


What do you think about monkeypox so far? Curious to get this community's opinions


At what point do you begin to feel numb (if ever) when you’re done trial and prepping for another trial in a span of 3 months, while mains full caseload of other active litigation cases? Should I be worried that I’m going from engaged and stress to numb and slightly indifferent? Or is this what it feels like to power through? I can’t gauge it anymore? And can’t impose judgment one way or another either.


Pixel or iPhone?


Hi All

Does Pwc revise an offer if we have another offer in hand?


“I think our giveaway just died.”


Any recommendations for a good duvet cover ? Willing to spend ~$150. I am a hot sleeper so looking for something which keeps cool at night


(1/2) Advice needed: I had a fantastic interview exactly 3wks ago. Agency said they liked me and are waiting for new biz pitch results before they can hire. Sent a thank you note a few days after

Is there ever a circumstance where it makes sense to buy a home if you’re not sure you’ll be there 5+ years? What criteria would need to be in place for it to make sense to do that? Currently renting - paying too much - lease is up in Summer 2022 and trying to decide next move. See some townhomes for sale that look great and mortgage would be less than current rent.


Looking to do a Mock interview for Microsoft MBA Aspire program! Microsoft

Is not having 1:1 meetings with your manager a red flag ?


Hi All, My joining date is older in offer letter. I did not get updated letter with new date. Just some screenshot from recruiter in some drop down. When will we get virtual onboarding link. How do they know whether we joined or not.


What is your company's policy regarding jury duty? Is it paid or unpaid? Do they require you to use PTO for it? I work for a small government contractor (under 100 people) and they do not pay for those hours. My last company (under 20 people) paid for that time. I'm a bit conflicted. If you're called for duty I think it's your civic responsibility to serve and should not be shirked but I'm surprised by my company's policy. Appreciate any sharing of other jury duty experiences. Thanks!


Any People Analytics/HR Data & Reporting fishes out there? What would you say are the best things about your role/job, what not so good and how did you get there?


I’m currently completing a third round interview for a marketing agency which has given me the assignment of finding information about a company they had received a Request for Proposal from. The company is private though so finding key information has been tough to find. Any suggestions on where to source this information from?


I ranked #1 on the Whova leaderboard at 2022 NPA Annual Conference! #NPA2022AC - via #Whova event app

Post Photo

Hey! I’m looking to upgrade my personal laptop to MBP M1 chip. However one of the biggest things I keep debating between is the 8GB and the 16GB of ram. My workflow is basically standard print, branding and photo stuff. I don’t do any motion or video work personally. Anyone have any recs on which amount of RAM would work out best?


Anyone has any recommendations for good PCP in Seattle?


Additional Posts in In-House Counsel

Hi Fish. Recently moved in-house to a newly public tech company. People are great, but the team is really understaffed. No paralegal or assistant- we are doing everything ourselves. Is this normal for in-house? Have been working close to big law hours in addition to doing all basic admin for the group. Seriously considering a return to biglaw. Am I being crazy?


Made a counteroffer a week ago and it’s been crickets ever since. Unsure whether it’s being run up the chain or whether I’m being ghosted. Companies and recruiters, why are you like this? 🚩


I prefer transactional law but ended up with a litigation firm out of school (still inside yr 1). Too soon to look for in-house gigs or should I try switching firms first?


Which would you choose: a similar job at Apple, Microsoft, Meta or Google. Ranking?


What’s the best way to prepare for a transition to a new company with a new in-house team and a new manager? I have two weeks before I start and trying to get a head start before my new work load piles up. Should I focus on refresher books, or courses for soft skills or technical skills? What may be helpful to think ahead of time for smooth integration once the roller coaster starts?


Does anyone work as counsel with Amazon? What was your experience interviewing? Any tips? What sort of job did you leave? How do you feel now as part of the company? Appreciate your thoughts!


Regretting moving in-house. I was an 8th year associate at a v10 biglaw firm but moved in house six months ago and am regretting it. The pay has been hard to stomach but the bigger concern is that the hours and work are not what I expected. Is it too late to go back to a firm since I was so senior when I left? Should I just stick it out a while longer and then find a new in house job? Appreciate any advice.


When in the interview process should I bring up salary expectations and remote work discussions? I don’t want to waste my or the company’s time if we aren’t aligned.


Love that I can actually call out sick from work now that I’m in house (vs before in big law)!


I'm a 3rd-year corporate transactional attorney with a private firm. Around 50 attorneys, which is as big as it gets for the state I'm in. I've become disillusioned with the partnership track career path fairly quickly and don't think it's for me. Before taking a large pivot and leaving the law entirety, I've thought about going in-house.

(1) Are there any downsides to going in-house too early?

(2) Would it make it more difficult to go back to private practice if I don't like that experience?


I’m currently 8 months in doing M&A in big law and I’m miserable. Prior to this role, I did litigation for a year and a half. I think in house would be a better fit for me and I’m starting to apply to those types of roles. Any advice on the job search or insight into life in house?


What companies make you do a take home test when interviewing?


If anyone here works at Meta, how many hours a week do you typically work? And what’s the breakdown between time spent in meetings and time spent working solo?


How common is it to see people getting hired and leaving after a few weeks/months. I’ve noticed quite a few employees have done this at my new company and am curious if I should be alarmed.

Side note: I love my legal team and have had a great experience so far.


Third round of interviews for in house privacy counsel role at Fortune 500 company and unsure what questions to ask to panel of interviewers. I’m coming from 8 years of law firm experience and can only come up with questions that are applicable to firm structure. Help!


moving in house soon from biglaw (where I've practiced for 10 years). How do you keep track of your CLE requirements? At my firm we have someone who reminds us when certain requirements are due/ missing. Anything else I should be aware of? Thanks!


When should a litigation hold be distributed company wide versus only key players? Should it always be limited distribution?


Just starting to interview for in-house positions, looking to leave Big Law as a 6th year after bonus this year, but a little wary with the looming recession. If companies are hiring now knowing that is potentially on the horizon, you would think you’d be safe in 6-9 months when it hits. Any advice on how to broach the recession topic in an interview?


In house counsel who were ip litigators, what do you do now? When did you go in house and how is your total comp in house? How is work life balance?


Hey there! Interested to know if anyone has worked with an executive or career coach. If yes, did you find the experience helpful? Why did you go and what did you learn/do? Thanks!


New to Fishbowl?

Download the Fishbowl app to
unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.
That was just a preview…
Sign Up to see all discussions
  • Discover what it’s like to work at companies from real professionals
  • Get candid advice from people in your field in a safe space
  • Chat and network with other professionals in your field
Sign up in seconds to unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.

Already a user?
Login here


Embed this post

Copy and paste embed code on your site


Download the
Fishbowl app

See what’s happening in your industry
from the palm of your hand.

A phone with Fishbowl app

Send download link to your phone


Scan your QR code to download
Fishbowl app on your mobile

By continuing you agree to Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Messaging rates may apply

Download app

Sign up for free to view this conversation on Fishbowl

By continuing you agree to Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Already have an account? Log in

Sign up for free to continue using Fishbowl

By continuing you agree to Terms of Use(New) and Privacy Policy(New)
Messaging rates may apply

Already have an account? Log in

For account settings, visit Fishbowl on Desktop Browser or