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Working as an in-house attorney has both pros and cons, just like any other attorney. Some of the pros include have more control on the projects you work on and having corporate benefits that other types of attorneys don't get. Some of the cons include long hours and often being required to work during weekends in order to help with legal projects in the company.
In-house attorneys enjoy various benefits that private practice attorneys don't have. That being said, there are some downsides to becoming an in-house attorney. While they often have more control over the projects they work on and receive corporate benefits, they also are often required to work long hours which can make it hard to take time off. All in all, you should definitely consider becoming an in-house attorney if it looks like the right fit for you.
Why did you decide to work in a corporate legal department?
The right corporate environment can provide greater stability, flexibility and great potential for professional growth.
What is the best part of working in-house?
Collaborating with colleagues to enjoy differing perspectives. Seeing a scenario from another's point of view provides for greater understanding, development of theories and greater creativity for resolving virtually any matter.
What is the worst part of working in-house?
Personality differences can present challenges, but a corporate environment typically provides sufficient structure to work through whatever issues arise to meet organizational objectives to everyone's satisfaction.
What advice would you give to others looking to work in-house?
Go for it! Become a wizard at Excel and project administration. PPM or Six Sigma certification is nice, but not necessarily required. Working for a regulated entity requires balancing many complex projects simultaneously. No job or environment is perfect, but working in-house provides a wealth of experience you may never find otherwise and each new skill enhances professional value for the next great adventure.
What is a typical day like for you as an attorney working in-house?
Managing email is an ongoing challenge. Work is often exhilarating and can be frustrating at times, as is the case in any role. Either way, nothing beats the feeling of meeting a full calendar head on to manage cases, projects and tasks effectively and sharing success with colleagues. When everyone pulls together, the entire team becomes stronger and more valuable.
What was your title/is your title in your [current] position in-house?
Vice President/Compliance Manager for a financial institution. Though I did not work as counsel per se, I regularly provided counsel and rendered opinions on a wide variety of regulatory affairs. My goal was, and remains, to learn something new every day.
How does your experience compare with your peers who chose other sorts of legal jobs?
Not better; not worse; just different. I've learned that doing what I love allows everything else to fall into place. I've also learned that every job is temporary, which is OK. Each phase of my career has provided the opportunity to learn something new, improve a skill, and explore uncharted territory. I can honestly say that looking backward, the reason for each transition has been crystal clear, offering new and exciting opportunities for professional advancement. Today, I enjoy consulting on regulatory matters and helping talented professionals across the country realize specific objectives, which is extremely rewarding.
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