When hiring and reviewing candidates who don't have in house experience or directly relevant practice experience (e.g. product counsel experience is hard to get at a firm), what do you look for?

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Potential. Ability to see risk beyond legal. Business thinking. Ability to turn legal advice into business action items/advice

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I came directly from a firm doing IP work but with no practical in house or produce counsel experience. I think they were really excited about the fact that I was willing to ask questions and eager to learn about the company and product(s) that I would be supporting. If you’re interviewing, I’d just highlight the fact that you’re really excited about the technology and ability to connect with the folks who are bribing the product to life.

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It would be really rare that you’d hire someone from a law firm with no relevant practice experience and no in house experience. If that happened to me in a candidate search I’d probably use fenwick flex or axiom or something to get a temp and convert them to fte if good or search again in a few months if not. Normally a law firm hire will have some but not all of the substantive skills required for the role.

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I’ve been in three different in-house gigs where I had no direct experience to the segment of the market or product offered. I have hired people who have been fresh out of law school, firms, and from a business line (a barred but non-practicing attorney). I echo the two comments above and look for excitement about the position and cultural fit. Can this person relate to the business line? Can this person thrive here to help achieve our objectives? Are they willing to dig in? If they are taking an initiative by applying, find out what interests them about it. If someone is exited about the job, that beats out experience any day in my book.

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