Transferring From Litigation to In-House and General Counsel – 3 Tips for Corporate Success

So you’ve been an associate and now you’re looking to make the transition to in-house or general counsel?

Whether you’re an associate or partner at an AMLAW 100 or work for yourself (or somewhere in the middle) making the transition can be difficult, but rewarding! In our experience working with hundreds of attorneys making the transition to corporate positions such as in-house counsel and general counsel, there are several key factors that come into play. Unlike working in a law firm, when you work at a business you will be interacting with a diverse range of staff members. And, depending on the structure of the company, you may be wearing many, many hats. Whether it is to escape the grind of day-to-day billing, or just want a change, here are some key pointers to help you: Here are 3 IMPORTANT things to remember.

Be Personable: Unlike working in a law firm, when you work for a company, you will be interacting with a diverse range of staff members. While many of the C-Level and senior executives will be used to interacting with attorneys, many of the employees will not. Many of the people you will be interacting with do not understand life at a law firm, why anyone would work 80 hours per week, and why you feel the need to utter profanities under you breath (kidding). In short, remember that the corporate world is a sandbox, learn to play in it!

Wear Many Hats: While you may have been hired to handle the corporate or employment side, you will undoubtedly be asked to assist with several other issues. Unlike working in a law firm, in a company you need to prove to the powers that be that you are dedicated to the company’s success. In a corporate setting, the best way to accomplish that is to try to help out wherever you can; legal or non-legal assistance. Remember, you went in-house to escape the law firm grind and maybe, you can make the transition out of law and into the executive job of your dreams.

Prepare an Effective Resume: When you apply for a law firm job, the hiring partners generally only care about a few things. Do you have clients? Can you generate clients? How much can you bill? What high-profile cases have you worked on. Although this will work in the law firm setting, it will NOT work for a corporate or in-house position. The resume will seem drab and boring. Companies do not like to hire robots, they want to hire people. Remember when you were a person (Before you went to law school). Companies like people with emotions, humor and a sense of self. Be sure that your resume really highlights your experiences, skills, background. With an effective, streamlined legal resume written by attorney certified resume writers, you will shine!

Matthew S. is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and National Resume Writer Association.

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