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TOP 7 TIPS FOR NEW IN-HOUSE COUNSEL

Fresh graduates coming out of law school have the option to either join a law firm or a corporate organisation. Usually, they prefer joining a law firm first, even if they want to make career in the corporate world. The law schools don’t necessarily prepare you for the real world challenges that you have to face as a lawyer, and new attorneys inevitably join law firms to get hands on experience of law practice. It’s not that everyone takes the same route, there are many who chose to enter the corporate world straightaway.

Companies that have their own in-house legal services, often hold orientation and training program for the newcomers. For those who want to make a move from a law firm to an in-house position, the transition could be a bit complicated. The work culture is quite different in corporate organisations, and adjusting to the new environment may take some time. To make your transition from a law firm to an in-house role easier, here are few tips to help you out.

Learn about the Company

Most in-house roles for lawyers are routine work- government compliance, transactions and contracts etc. Intellectual property and employment laws are few areas which require specialised knowledge. These are some aspects that are common across industries, but if you want to stand out, you need to have a deep understanding of the company’s business. Though the broad skills you need to demonstrate as an in-house lawyer remains the same, you need to learn the nuances of the business to effectively apply your knowledge to a particular situation. For that you will have to interact with the common employees of the organisation to learn the intricacies of the business. Knowledge of business operations and the competition is vital to perform your role efficiently. The more you get involved in the business activities, the better it would be.

Try to be an Asset

Instead of just performing your role as a routine in-house lawyer and being branded as a cost centre, try to think and project yourself as an asset to the company. Keep yourself involved with daily affairs of the company and do not hesitate to offer your advice whenever there is scope. Your in-house clients may have choices, and to keep yourself relevant you have to develop good relationships with them. Market yourself as a valuable asset who can offer important suggestions and advice to address problematic issues.

Take the Right Approach

The general perception about the in-house legal services team is that of one that creates obstacles by raising unnecessary questions. Though it’s a necessary part of the job, be calculated in your approach and work constructively with the rest of the employees. Instead of saying why certain things cannot be done, try to explain how it can be done in a legally compliant way to mitigate the possible risk. Be a facilitator, rather than a hurdle.

Look for Opportunities

Being in-house counsel doesn’t mean just doing the mundane routine work and forget about the intriguing legal challenges. You have to be alert and look for opportunities and come forward to take charge. In-house counsel are the first to know about the legal issues that crop up, so grab the opportunity and take up whatever challenging work you might come across.

Be Flexible.

Flexibility is the most desirable virtue for in-house counsel. So, it’s important that you keep your calendar open and be flexible with your schedule. As it is, you never know what’s going to happen the next day. Unexpected issues are bound to crop up every now and then. Be mentally prepared to encounter unforeseen situations and not get rattled when you are unexpectedly required to attend to some urgent issue immediately.

Look beyond law

In-house counsel is generally considered a part of the senior management and entails taking up added responsibilities. They are expected to participate in overall operations of the company. Besides the legal matters, they have a broader, more interesting role in the affairs of the company. Unlike outside general counsel, the role of in-house legal counsel is not limited to performing legal work only, but goes much beyond that.

View it as a Learning Opportunity

As an in-house counsel, one is likely to be exposed to organizational compliance and regulations, inner working structure of a particular industry, and get opportunities to rub shoulders with professionals from outside the legal field. This is not the case even in the best law firms, and very rarely does a lawyer get these kinds of opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills and grow professionally. It opens up the window for promotions within and outside the legal department, and also to seek better opportunities in other organisations.

Following the above mentioned tips for new in-house counsel, will help attorneys seamlessly transition from a law firm to in-house legal services.

alexjohn
Hi, I am Alex John, A creative blogger and Editor at AsiaPosts - Trending posts Of the World

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