Transitioning From Legislation Agency Legal professional To Enterprise Guide: Ideas And Methods

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I receive several emails every week with information on transitioning from attorney at a law firm to an in-house attorney and writing a resume that properly teaches these transferable skills. Before you begin writing and refocusing your legal resume, it is important to carefully distinguish between the nuances of the various skills in law firm roles and business advisor roles.

In my legal career spanning more than ten years, I worked in law firms and was an in-house consultant for two companies (one privately owned and one in Fortune 200). Today, more than 60% of my clients are lawyers – 80% are senior management consultants, general counsels and chief legal officers with an average of more than 15 to 20 years experience with multinational corporations, private equity firms and start-ups -UPS. Her career paths often include corporate strategy, financial transactions, contract negotiation, governance, compliance, and leadership of the legal department. Beyond the typical corporate generalist roles, some have special focus areas including data and privacy, work and employment, technology and intellectual property.

While there are overlapping skills for law firm attorneys and in-house consultants, the direction of the resume is completely different. Law firm attorneys are driven by managing case numbers, clearing files, and attracting new clients to grow the firm’s revenue. In contrast, business consultants focus heavily on minimizing risk, lowering legal costs, and making legal departments more efficient for the entire company: 75% of their work is dedicated to corporate governance, strategy and operations, while only 25% is focused on legal advice. Business consultants are ready to seamlessly navigate between the various business areas and legal channels, bringing them right to the intersection of business and law.

With a strong focus on business processes and cross-functional leadership, business consultants are very familiar with communication across the various business channels. This means they must have exceptional relationship building skills in order to be able to communicate effectively at all levels of the organization. In addition, business consultants are familiar with managing outside consultants and serve as a point of contact for all legal matters to move the business forward. This means acting as both a legal advisor and a corporate strategist with an affinity for practical advice.

When considering your legal skills and their positioning on your legal resume for the transition to an in-house role, consider areas where you excel, including contract negotiation, contacting attorneys and non-attorneys, to avoid costly litigation for clients, and overseeing other attorneys . Study job postings for internal consultant roles ( is a great website for researching internal consultant jobs) and see the patterns they contain. Think about how your skills match the requirements for the position.

I also recommend seeking advice from management consultants in your target industry. LinkedIn is the ideal place to start your networking journey as it gives you instant access to business consultancies in specific companies and in specific areas of concentration. If you are an IP attorney in a private law firm, you should network with business consultants who specialize in IP matters in the companies that interest you. You should also invest in the necessary professional development for departments. For example, if you want to take on an in-house role focused on privacy and cybersecurity, register to earn the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification that is most required. Attend training seminars and events that have business consultants around, such as: B. Those sponsored by the Association of Corporate Counsel and the National Association of Women Lawyers.

The professional transition from working in a law firm to working in-house brings with it new skills and strategies. Understanding the nuances between the two roles is the first step in finding a new path in your legal career.

Wendi Weiner is a lawyer, career expert and founder of The writing guru, an award-winning executive resume writing company. Wendi creates powerful career and personal brands for lawyers, executives and C-suite / board executives for their job search and digital footprint. She also writes for major publications on alternative careers for lawyers, personal branding, LinkedIn storytelling, career strategy, and the job search process. You can reach them by email at, connect with her LinkedInand follow her on Twitter @ thewritingguru.

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