Working as an In-House Corporate Counsel

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Not all attorneys in the private sector work for law firms. This article out-lines the job of corporate, or "in-house," counsel. Whether serving as a contact point between management and outside counsel or providing direct legal advice, the in-house lawyer can have the best of both worlds and have access to top management at the same time. Author Briney also explodes the myth that in- house corporate practice is sleepier and less lucrative than practice in a private law firm.

Working as an In-House Corporate Counsel

In recent years, the corporate perception of the role and function of in-house counsel has changed, and corporate law practice has been transformed from a relatively unchallenging, mundane existence, limited to "managing" legal work done by others, to a dynamic, challenging role that involves rendering legal advice on matters in virtually every area of the law and participating directly in management decision making on those matters.
Click Here to Read BCG Attorney Search’s Guide to Corporate and Finance Job Search Categories for More Information.

There are essentially three levels at which a corporate legal department may handle individual legal issues confronting the corporation. The first is to have in-house counsel serve primarily as a contact point between management and outside counsel. Under this arrangement, the company's own lawyers seldom participate in ascertaining the merits of, or solutions to, legal problems. They simply determine which outside counsel are best suited to handle the problem and then manage that firm's representation. The second is to rely exclusively on in-house counsel for legal advice or representation in legal proceedings. Finally, a hybrid of these two approaches maybe applied to a particular legal issue.

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