Becoming a lawyer is no easy path. One has to dedicate long nights and have to deal constantly with stress because of the numerous amounts of documents and cases that they need to review. However, you can become a lawyer if this is your calling.
If you are in the United States, you could become a San Diego business lawyer, and offer various legal services such as in-house legal counseling, or whichever field of expertise you might want to practice.
In- House Legal Counsel
If you are a newly minted lawyer or a lawyer who has been in practice for years but is looking towards diversifying your practice, then you might want to consider in becoming an in-house legal counsel.
There are lawyers who say that being an in-house attorney has been one of the best decisions that they have made because when you are employed as an in-house legal counsel, this can mean that having those billable hours are no longer necessary as with the booking of billable clients, of long sleepless hours. The fear that you might be out of a job on the next day, and of trying to dig up with more clients will also be eliminated.
There is a caution though, that once you choose to become an in-house legal counsel, there can be a slim chance for you to return to private practice. But, even with that notion, becoming an in-house legal counsel is still one of the most coveted jobs from lawyers out there because of the stability and the reasonableness of the schedule that it offers.
What Type Attorney can be In-House Counsel
Whether an in-house legal counsel is someone who has been employed by a company or as part of a group of attorneys depending on the who pooled in to create a legal department. These in-house legal counsels are the ones responsible for providing legal counsel on business decisions, manage transactions, and then watch over outside legal representation. This kind of positions is not usually available to newly sworn in attorneys because these businesses will tend to look for lawyers who already have the years of experience who wants to make a career shift.
For huge multinational companies, their legal department will usually be composed of a group of lawyers who will handle different kinds of fields like commercial law, employment lawyers, and paralegals and of course, the head of the legal department. The duties of the legal department will then vary depending on the issues being tackled from general legal matters to specialized fields.
As such, one of the main positive notions why choosing to be an in-house legal counsel is good is because your worry as regards to compensation will be lessened because of the steady paycheck that the company is going to pay you. In most of the legal departments, the lead attorney is referred to as General Counsel. He or she is the person whom the other lawyers will report to.
Is In-House Counsel for You?
If you are already pretty convinced that you want to become an in-house legal counsel, then the next thing you will have to think about is as to how you can get the job as an in-house legal counsel.
If you have just recently graduated from law school, chances are, you might not be able to get the job because most of the major businesses will tend to look for lawyers who possess the necessary experience which can especially be related to their pressing issue at hand. So more likely, they will look for someone who can really fit their specific needs.
So if you are a new lawyer, and want to pursue becoming an in-house legal counsel, then you can start to work as clerks in your prospected company as a start. In time you’ll have a higher chance of getting the job because you already possessed the necessary background that they might need.
Most companies will try to look for attorneys who are mid-level laterals because they are already equipped with experience but are not too expensive. These companies also look for lawyers who have experience in corporate law, commercial law, labor laws, intellectual property laws or regulatory laws. Also, those who also have the skill in terms of negotiations, licensing and drafter. Not to forget large-scale companies who hire a litigator to go in-house, but these services are usually being outsourced.
Is it Worth it Financially?
If you are wondering how much do these in-house legal counsels make, well, they certainly earn less than those who are working at law firms. But, of course, the cut in the paycheck is not that drastic that could discourage lawyers to make a shift in their careers. These in-house attorneys might be earning less in terms of a steady paycheck, but there are times when they are being supplemented with equity or bonuses or a more flexible work schedule.
So if you want to see for yourself as to how much should you be paid, you must try to consider the factors like what do comparable positions pay, or how is the company’s profitability, or the salary rates in the organization, or the credentials that the employer require, or as to how much are the other attorney’s in the organization are earning.
If you’ve been hired as the company’s in-house legal counsel, you can start by familiarizing your new environment and the new faces that you are going to meet. You will also have to familiarize yourself first with the documents that you will frequently be using and then get to know who are the key people on your team, or as to whom you will be corresponding the most.
Being an in-house attorney, you will most likely then be more of a generalist by getting both hands with a little bit of everything so it is really important that you can find someone who can mentor you on the job.
When you choose to become an in-house lawyer, of course, this is not a guaranteed success to every lawyer. So if you decide that you want to pursue this path, then try first to evaluate how you want your profession to evolve.