Preparing to Move In-House

Moving in-house from a law firm requires some planning. We talk to many law firm associates who want to eventually move to an in-house position but very few have an understanding of the market or how to make that move. Here are our top tips for setting yourself up for an in-house move:

1.    Plan ahead.  On average, the move from a law firm to your first in-house position takes a year and a half.  There are several reasons for this timeframe:

 *Many in-house positions require prior in house experience

 *The positions are competitive due to high demand

*Companies can move slowly, often with upwards of three rounds of interviews for each position (and sometimes as many as ten rounds)

2.    Budget.  If you are coming from an AmLaw firm, you will almost certainly be looking at a pay cut to move in-house. Learn about the pay scale for in-house positions and budget accordingly – when your dream job comes along you will be able to afford to take it.

3.    Tailor Your Resume.  Tailor your resume for each specific position. You may have several working resumes, especially if you are trying to move practice areas. Use language from the job description in your resume and remove irrelevant skills. This will make your resume stand out in a crowd.

4.    Understand the Market.  Because the first in-house position is the hardest one to get, it may not be your ideal position – you may compromise on type of work, title, pay, location, or all of the above. However, for your career as an in-house attorney these compromises will be worth it. The more you know about the market, the more you will understand which jobs are realistic for you and how they will help advance your long term goals.

5.    Network.  This may be the most important point – more than half of in-house positions come through networking! Establish and maintain good relationships a reliable recruiter, clients, and other in-house attorneys. Reach out to other in-house attorneys to hear about their jobs, learn interview tips, and ask for introductions to other people who may be helpful.

Good luck and happy planning!