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David Markowitz, In-house Attorney

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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.

  1. Why did you decide to work in a corporate legal department?

    After being a successful solo practitioner for 27 years, I sought an environment in which I could display my leadership skills while conveying the knowledge that I acquired over those years to younger lawyers eager to learn.

  2. What is the best part of working in-house?

    Knowing that company policy depends on what I determine is "do-able" or not "do-able" vis-à-vis the law.

  3. What is the worst part of working in-house?

    The double edged sword. Your interpretation of the law affects company policy. Sometimes that's a policy you agree with, sometimes it's not.

  4. What advice would you give to others looking to work in-house?

    Take a stance. The corporate environment looks to you for answers. But sometimes the law, in and of itself, doesn't give them the answer they want. You've made the legal decision. Don't be afraid to make a business decision. If that runs counter to the position corporate is taking, so be it.

  5. What is a typical day like for you as an attorney working in-house?

    You get hit from all directions with questions that start "can we…', "do we have to…". You have to make spot decisions, so it's important to be on you game. The pressure is steady and the questions can be tricky. Exercise, diet and sleep are critical.

  6. What was your title/is your title in your current position in-house?

    Senior Attorney
  7. How does your experience compare with your peers who chose other sorts of legal jobs?

    Equally satisfying if not more. You feel more like a judge analyzing a set of facts than most lawyers. Lawyers generally represent a party as an advocate for one side or the other. In the in house environment, you make decisions based on both sides of the argument in an attempt to avoid ligation in the future. In that sense, you are more like a judge than a lawyer. And it's very gratifying.


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