Succeeding in-house can involve different factors than those critical for succeeding in private practice, but there are commonalities and there is no rest for the weary. Those who think that the in-house world is full of sunshine, rainbows and unicorns are often in for a surprise. The physical separation that Biglaw brings may breed more time for pontification and rumination, but in the in-house world, the client is often right down the hall and answers are needed immediately to keep the business moving. Being quick on your feet and offering business-focused practical advice are often key traits for successful in-house counsel in many organizations. For many, the buck stops with them and there is no fallback legal resource to rely upon to issue spot, brain pick or just vent about the complexity of a particular problem the business is facing. Many in-house counsel have to learn leadership skills as part of their early days in an in-house environment, and they are the stewards of their future and must take time to position their careers for success. These challenges are faced not only by staff attorneys but also all the way up the chain to the General Counsel. Indeed, the qualities that make for an effective General Counsel also apply to all members of an organization’s legal department.
“Some may view going in-house as an opportunity to leave the stresses of private practice behind but a panel of experienced general counsel want to set the record straight about that — don’t think it means a lighter load. The client can be just as demanding and so is the work….’Some wildly underestimate what’s required of them and they stick around too long. It’s not a sanctuary for those looking for a slower pace,….'”
Read: Top traits for succeeding in-house at Canadian Lawyer Magazine