Resources for Exploring an In-House Career

If yesterday’s overview of in-house counsel positions sparked your interest and you aspire to work in-house, one of the best things that you can do now, in addition to internships and externships (see yesterday’s discussion), is to stay current on issues relevant to in-house lawyers.  Check out InsideCounsel and the network’s Corporate Counsel.  Both websites allow you to register for free email alerts that deliver the latest news and trends affecting the in-house counsel world directly to your inbox.  On the InsideCounsel website, click the eNewsletter tab at the top to sign up for email alerts.  To register for the Corporate Counsel alerts, click the alert icon on the homepage.  Also, check out the ABA’s list of in-house counsel blogs.  As the summer winds down, take some time to review these resources and learn more about working in-house to determine whether it is a path you want to pursue.  In addition to checking Symplicity regularly for job opportunities, check out for in-house attorney job postings. includes entry level positions and internships.  Stay tuned tomorrow for advice on making connections with in-house attorneys through networking!

Exploring an In-House Career

If you are interested in working as an in-house attorney, now is the time to learn about the various roles within an in-house legal department and seek out practical in-house experience.  The first step to exploring an in-house career is to learn what an in-house attorney does and consider the pros and cons of working in-house as opposed to traditional private practice. 

In-house attorneys can work for public or private corporations, non-profit organizations, or government agencies, and in-house legal departments come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Large legal departments are usually comprised of a general counsel, an assistant general counsel, and a team of staff attorneys.  The larger the legal department, the more likely the lawyers are to specialize in a particular area such as litigation or mergers and acquisitions.  In smaller legal departments, the lawyers are more likely to be generalists who are responsible for handling a wide variety of legal matters.

According to NALP’s Going In-House: A Guide for Law Students and Recent Graduates, some of the advantages of working in-house include working for a single client, being closely involved in the success of the business, having significant responsibility on a variety of legal projects, and enjoying a higher quality of life.  While in-house lawyers do not have the pressure of billable hour expectations associated with private practice, Going In-House also cites several disadvantages of working in-house, which include job security as in-house lawyers are subject to the successes and failures of the business, lower compensation compared to attorneys in private practice, and a lack of camaraderie with other lawyers, which is particularly applicable to organizations with small legal departments.

Students who are interested in working in-house should take advantage of opportunities for practical experience with in-house legal departments, including internships (paid work experience) and externships (for credit work experience).  Click here to access a listing of Florida Coastal’s externship opportunities.  While the traditional path to a coveted in-house position includes “paying your dues” in private practice, some in-house legal departments, particularly at large corporations, are hiring directly out of law school.  Click here to read an article from InsideCounsel discussing innovative lawyer recruiting and training programs at two large corporations.  The article also highlights four attorneys who landed in-house positions right out of law school. 

For more information about in-house counsel careers, stop by the CSD library.  Some of our resources include NALP’s Going In-House: A Guide for Law Students and Recent Graduates by Donna Gerson, Esq.; Vault’s Guide to Corporate Law Careers; and The 2011-2012 Directory of Corporate Counsel.

Follow my blog throughout the week to learn more about exploring an in-house career!


It Pays to Network

Check out this article from Corporate Counsel, Women GCs Are Networking Their Way to the Topemphasizing the importance of professional networking throughout your legal career.  The article recaps a panel discussion presented by the New York City Bar Association that focused on the increasing number of women general counsel at Fortune 500 companies.  According to the article, forming and maintaining professional relationships is a necessary element for success.

Alternative Career Spotlight: Contract Management

If you are looking for an interesting and challenging career outside of the traditional practice of law, consider the growing field of contract management. The knowledge and skills that you develop in law school are directly transferrable to the contract management industry.  Skills required for contract management positions include analytical skills, problem-solving skills, and written and verbal communication skills.  Additionally, contract management offers a variety of career path opportunities, and it is a growing field, particularly as businesses become increasingly global, demanding more efficient supplier and customer relationships.  Typical job duties in a contract management position include creating proposals, negotiating contract terms, resolving legal disputes, and making presentations. Furthermore, the contract management team works closely with all areas and departments within an organization.  For more information about contract management, visit the National Contract Management Association’s website at  Also, visit the CSD library for additional resources on jobs in contract management. 

The National Contract Management Association (NCMA) offers a significantly discounted membership for students ($25/year).  Benefits of membership include valuable networking opportunities with industry leaders, live webinars covering hot topics in contract management, national educational seminars, access to the NCMA’s job bank, and a monthly subscription to Contract Management Magazine.  Click here for complete details on how to join.

My Life As a Lawyer 2012 Scholarship

Corporate Counsel Women of Color has a scholarship opportunity available to 1Ls and 2Ls.  To be considered for this scholarship, you must submit an essay of no more 350 words detailing how you plan to use your legal education to foster diversity in the legal profession.  Click here for details and to download an application.

Don’t delay!  Please note that all applications must be postmarked (first class mail only) by June 30th, and email submissions will not be accepted.


PAID Summer Work-Study Positions with JALA

Want to get PAID this summer and gain great public interest experience?  Jacksonville Area Legal Aid is currently accepting applications for summer internship positions through the work-study program.  JALA welcomes candidates who are seeking experience conducting legal and factual research, drafting motions, pleadings and memoranda of law, preparing discovery and discovery responses, and assisting with court hearings, depositions and trials and drafting training manuals.

The mission of JALA is to assist low-income neighbors in the community with civil legal problems. With thirty attorneys and a thirty year history of providing high-quality legal representation in a variety of service areas, JALA is an integral part of our community’s infrastructure.  Areas of service include consumer law, elder law, family law, employment law, immigration, benefits, and housing rights.

The application deadline is Monday, June 18th.  Applicants MUST qualify for the work-study program.  (Contact Rita Rosario in Financial Aid ( to confirm your eligibility BEFORE applying.)  Log on to Symplicity for more information about this position and to apply!

Alternative Careers for Lawyers

Click here to register for a live webinar hosted by John Corcoran, Esq. and Basil Plastiras, Esq. on Thursday, June 14th at 3pm Pacific Time (6pm Eastern Time).  Topics include business opportunities for new law grads, networking secrets, and growing industries with opportunities for non-traditional careers. 



Career Self-Assessment

Are you interested in pursuing an alternative legal career, but not sure where to start?  Trying to navigate through all of the available resources can leave you more confused than you were when you started.  There are a number of valuable resources available to assist lawyers and law students who are looking for an alternative to the traditional practice of law, but before you dive into the online abyss, consider starting with a self-assessment, which will provide you with a better understanding of your individual aptitudes and interests.  Then schedule an appointment with a career services counselor who can assist you with creating a strategic job search plan based on the results of your self-assessment.  Check out the Riley Guide for a listing of career self-assessment tools, and send me feedback on your experience using the various self-assessments offered online.  You can email me at  Remember, the CSD is open all summer, and we look forward to working with you!