In-House Counsel

By Fred Dingledy
Revised November 2021

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Related guide: Corporate & Securities Law Research, Corporate Law Career Guide

Books & Narratives

The Corporate Counsel Survival Guide, by William E. Kruse, Chicago: American Bar Association, 2017.

The author, Gallup's in-house legal counsel, advises potential corporate counsels on potential issues they may encounter in the position and how to handle them.
KF299 .I5 K78

The Generalist Counsel: How Leading General Counsel Are Shaping Tomorrow's Companies, by Prashant Dubey and Eva Kripalani, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2013.

This book is based on the authors' interviews with general counsel from several companies. The book describes the transition from a law firm to an in-house position, as well as the duties, responsibilities, and necessary skills that come with the position.
KF1425 .D83

Indispensable Counsel: The Chief Legal Officer in the New Reality, by E. Norman Veasey and Christine T. Di Guglielmo, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2012.
The authors examine the main roles of a company's Chief Legal Officer and how to best achieve those goals.
KF1425 .V43 2012

Inside counsel : practices, strategies, and insights, by Marc I. Steinberg and Stephen B. Yeager, St. Paul, MN: West Academic Publishing, 2d ed. 2020.
Steinberg and Yeager describe what it is like to work as in-house counsel and offer strategies for success in the position.
KF299 .I5 S745 2020 (in Office of Career Services)

Inside straight : advice about lawyering, in-house, and out that only the Internet could provide, by Mark Herrmann. Chicago, American Bar Assn., 2012.
Collection of posts from a blog of the same name on the website Above the Law describing the author's experiences as an in-house counsel.
KF1425 .H47 2012 (in Law Library stacks and in Office of Career Services)

In-House: A Lawyer's Guide to Getting a Corporate Legal Position, by David J. Parnell, Chicago: American Bar Assn., 2012.
A book filled with advice on how to get an in-house position and successfully develop it, as well as descriptions of the work atmosphere.
KF299 .I5 P37 2012

JD advantage jobs in corporations : expanding the legal function, by Richard L. Hermann, Delaware: H Watson Consulting LLC, 2017.
Describes jobs outside the counsel's office in corporations in which a law degree provides an advantage.
KF299 .I5 H47 2017 V.12 (in Office of Career Services)

Soderquist on Corporate Law and Practice, 4th ed., by Linda O. Smiddy, New York: Practicing Law Institute, 2012.
This book contains a chapter called "Approaching Corporation Law". It provides both the detail of corporation law and a broader perspective of the profession.
KF1414 .S57

Ten Things You Need to Know as In-House Counsel: Practical Advice and Successful Strategies, by Sterling L. Miller, Chicago: American Bar Association, 2017.
Advice and everyday practice pointers from an in-house counsel.
KF1425 .M539 2017


Guides & Directories

Directory of Corporate Counsel, [New York]: Law & Business/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Annual.
A directory of corporate and in-house counsel.

National Directory of Corporate Public Affairs, Columbia Books, Annual.
Contains contact information for legal and regulatory affairs officers within corporations, as well as other corporate officials responsible for public affairs.
HD59 .N24 (in Office of Career Services)


Databases & Websites

WESTLAW: The Legal Practice Database
This database contains articles from law reviews, professional publications, and more that focus on the practical aspects of attorneys in all types of practices, including corporate counsel.

WESTLAW: West Legal Directory -- Corporate Counsel
Contains profiles of corporate legal departments, firms, and corporate counsel.

WESTLAW: West Legal Directory -- Corporations and Business Organizations
Similar to above directory, but has a broader scope -- profiles law firms, corporate law offices, and government positions from across the US.

Association of Corporate Counsel Careers

Search for available in-house counsel positions. Searching is free, but must be a member to post a resume. Also has FAQ for job-seekers.

Martindale.com
Online version of the venerable Martindale-Hubbell Directory. Lets you search for corporate legal departments.


Journal Articles

Chambers Associate, "In-house counsel".
Describes the advantages and disadvantages of working as in-house counsel, as well as some of the obstacles you may face in getting an in-house position.

Dhir, Rocky, "An Inside Look at In-House Counsel", State Bar of Texas Podcast (Oct. 9, 2018).
Rocky Dhir interviews William Kruse, in-house counsel for Gallup; and Shruti Krishman, associate legal counsel for Tabletop Media. Kruse and Krishman describe their background before becoming in-house counsels, how they got their current position, and how being in-house counsel differs from their previous legal jobs. The webpage has a transcript of the podcast.

Hechler, David, "Go Ahead, Make His Day. . .", Corporate Counsel (Online) (March 1, 2015).
Describes a program at Hewlett-Packard's in-house legal department to hire and train attorneys directly out of law school. Lexis ID+password required.

Herrmann, Mark, "4 Red Flags at In-House Interviews", Above the Law (Nov. 7, 2016).
Brief blog post that lists some warning signs to look out for while interviewing for an in-house counsel position.

Hirsch, Stewart. "Directions to the GC seat (part 1): Establishing GPS coordinates for the emerging leader", 25(272) InsideCounsel 14 (August 2014).
Executive coach Stewart Hirsch describes some of the things an attorney needs to do five years out if they want to become a company's general counsel.

Law School Transparency, I Am the Law - Corporate.
This podcast series features interviews with lawyers in various positions about their work. Episodes include talks with the in-house counsel at a software company and the Vice President of Legal for a food manufacturing conglomerate.

Okray, John and Diana Lai, "Hiring and Compensation Trends for In-House Counsel", 61(2) The Federal Lawyer 34 (March 1, 2014)
Interview with Heather Fine, managing director of Major, Lindsey & Africa's Chicago Office, who places attorneys into in-house corporate positions. She discusses current trends in hiring and compensation of in-house counsel.

Rasmussen, Kristen, "From Orcas to Elephants, PETA Foundation's Landmark Litigation Leads to Banner Year", 23(6) Corporate Counsel 56 (June 1, 2017).
Interview with PETA's legal team describing their office environment, the personality traits found in people who work there, and the type of work their office does. Lexis ID+password required.

Ready, Frank, "GCs Looking for Jobs Post-Pandemic Should Flex Cybersecurity and Crisis Management Muscles", Corporate Counsel (Online) (August 20, 2020) (available on Lexis).
CEO of a staffing company discusses the skills in-house counsel will need to demonstrate to move up the ranks to General Counsel in the wake of COVID-19.

Reisinger, Sue, "Cleaning Up with Clorox's Legal Team", 23(6) Corporate Counsel 44 (June 1, 2017).
Interview with the leaders of Clorox's in-house legal department. Interviewees describe their career history before working at their current position and the type of work they do at Clorox. Lexis ID+password required.

Reisinger, Sue, "UPS GC: 'We Want to Be Problem Solvers, Not Issue Spotters'", Corporate Counsel (Online) (Jan. 6, 2016).
Brief interview with UPS's General Counsel. Describes structure of UPS's legal department and issues they face. Lexis ID+password required.

Reisman, Sam, "15 Minutes with Target's General Counsel", Law360 (Apr. 23, 2018).
Q&A with Don Liu, Target's head legal and risk officer. Among other things, Liu talks about the most rewarding part of his job and what he looks for when hiring for his department. Lexis ID and password required to read.

Respass, Helen. "10 Things To Know About Being An In-House Generalist", Above the Law (Apr. 18, 2017).
In a brief Q&A, former Assistant General Counsel for Sojitz Corporation describes the qualities needed to be a in-house general counsel. She describes the pros and cons of GC work, common paths towards a GC position, and a typical workday.

Ruiz, David, "How to Get a Job at Apple", The Recorder (Online) (March 20, 2015).

The author analyzes data from LinkedIn and California Bar profiles of 191 in-house attorneys at Apple Inc. and offers some demographic analysis as well as a description of some of the career paths the attorneys took to get there. Lexis ID+password required. 

Sloan, Karen. "The In-House Shortcut; New law school graduates are finding 'associate' jobs in law departments", Corporate Counsel 18 (Feb. 2014).
Discusses "associate" positions that some in-house departments have created for recent law school graduates. Lexis ID+password required.

Smith, Anne & Alexa Baltodano, "Is an In-House Counsel Job Right for You? A Guide for Law Grads", Before the Bar (posted Dec. 18, 2017).
This article describes the differences between an in-house position and working at a firm. The authors also list some of the traits in-house employers look for in candidates and offer suggestions for people applying for in-house positions.

, "How to Survive a Move In-House: Tips from a Lawyer Who's Been There", Corporate Counsel Online (Aug. 30, 2018).
Interview with William Kruse, in-house attorney for Gallup Inc. and author of The Corporate Counsel Survival Guide. Kruse offers advice for attorneys moving from a law firm position to working in-house for a corporation. Lexis ID+password required.

"What Is It Like To Work As The General Counsel Of A Startup Company?", Above the Law (posted August 14, 2014).
Summary of an Above The Law-sponsored panel discussion with several general counsels for startup companies. Includes discussions of how to get such a position, least and most favorite aspects of the job, and what it is like to work with outside firms.

Williams-Alvarez, Jennifer. "When Moving In-House, Office Politics Can Be A Struggle", Corporate Counsel (June 30, 2016).
Summary of a panel discussion in which three attorneys discuss what it was like to move from a law firm to working as in-house counsel. Lexis ID+password required.

Periodicals

There are numerous legal periodicals that cover the topic of in-house corporate law. Those listed below are a representative selection of titles that discuss issues related to being a practitioner in the field.

Bloomberg Law News: In-House Counsel
Available through Bloomberg Law (Bloomberg Law ID+password required).

The Business Lawyer
4x per year.
Chicago: American Bar Association Section of Corporation, Banking, and Business Law.
SHELVED IN PERIODICALS
Available on Hein Online.
Westlaw: BUSLAW
Available on Lexis.


Organizations

The following organizations are active or maintain an interest in in-house corporate law. They offer membership opportunities, information on the industry, and possible employment opportunities. Most of them sponsor seminars or conferences on relevant topics.

American Bar Association Section of Business Law
321 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654
website: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/business_law.html
Provides a number of resources for those considering business law in addition to membership benefits.

Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)
1001 G St. NW, Suite 300W
Washington, DC 20001
tel: 1-(866)-868-9092
website: http://www.acc.com
Lawyers practicing law in corporate law departments. Represents corporate counsel on public policy issues before the courts, legislatures, and agencies at the local, state, and national levels. Provides programs and other activities covering the areas of law department management, business law, corporate law, and litigation and dispute management. Has established a corporate group enrollment program. Maintains numerous committees including Corporate and Securities Law; International Legal Affairs; Law Department Management; and Small Law Department.

Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC)
610 Freedom Business Center
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Elmhurst, IL 60126
tel: (610) 992-0022
website: http://www.thefederation.org
Professional society of attorneys actively engaged in the legal aspects of the insurance industry; insurance company executives; corporate counsel involved in the defense of claims. Conducts research through Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Foundation. Maintains numerous law sections and committees. Conducts seminars and educational sessions.

Minority Corporate Counsel Association
1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
phone: 202-739-5901
website: https://www.mcca.com
Created to advance diversity in corporate legal departments as well as in law firms serving corporations. Website includes magazine Diversity and the Bar and a Career Center with a job bank and educational materials, among other things.

Photo: Associated Press