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We are In-House Lawyers - Ask Us Anything


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#26 Uriel

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 07:21 AM

Are you with the parentco or Canco?  I'd find it surprising if Canadian GCs have this much of an international travel requirement.



#27 steel_shot

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 07:44 AM

Are you with the parentco or Canco?  I'd find it surprising if Canadian GCs have this much of an international travel requirement.

 

I can't comment on much more, but I talked to a GC awhile back who traveled a lot for work. I don't think as much as LCL, but I remember being shocked at the amount. It was global travel as well, to lots of really interesting places! 



#28 Uriel

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 08:25 AM

That's surprising.  I wonder why the GC of Canadian operations would need to crisis-manage internationally in person.



#29 goldencuffs

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 08:39 AM

Yes, senior.

It has it's OMFG I can't believe they pay me to do this moments. And then it has some big black SUV and Kevlar vests WTF am I doing here without my own weapon moments. And then it has which airport is this again moments (like today).

Wanna trade? :)

 

Yes...your job sounds like a hollywood movie.



#30 Uriel

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 09:41 AM

I've had partners that have had similar experiences, although they were given a bit more leeway by private security.  (S)he was handed a Beretta and told to shoot at anyone that isn't us.

 

You'd think LCL would have been given the benefit of a firearm due to his military experience.  I'd certainly send a formal, desperate request to the QM for a carbine if I was going to be in a kevlar situation.  I remember my lanes of fire!  Where are my mags, guys?


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#31 john grisham

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 09:46 AM

Are you with the parentco or Canco?  I'd find it surprising if Canadian GCs have this much of an international travel requirement.

Edit: I poked fun at you in my original post, but then actually read what you wrote and my post didn't make sense.  My bad.  :)  


Edited by john grisham, 25 September 2014 - 10:13 AM.


#32 Canadiens117

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 01:16 PM

What kind of practice area involves lawyers actually being in the "kevlar situations" mentioned above?

And do most in-house lawyers travel a lot? International travel is something I've always considered a big plus as part of a job.



#33 Uriel

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 01:57 PM

I think "practice area" is generous.  Highly unique situations tend to put you in highly unique situations, not practice areas.  This lawyer had to go because the VIP he had to see in person was located in a war zone and could not be extracted.  I can't specify for a number of reasons.  Could have been anything from executing his will to assessing the evidence of terrorism for the sake of an insurance claim.

 

As I frequently have cause to repeat, there is no such thing as Sexy International Adventure Law.  You can't sign up for advanced courses and specialize in it.



#34 SaulGoodman

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:04 PM

I think "practice area" is generous.  Highly unique situations tend to put you in highly unique situations, not practice areas.  This lawyer had to go because the VIP he had to see in person was located in a war zone and could not be extracted.  I can't specify for a number of reasons.  Could have been anything from executing his will to assessing the evidence of terrorism for the sake of an insurance claim.

 

As I frequently have cause to repeat, there is no such thing as Sexy International Adventure Law.  You can't sign up for advanced courses and specialize in it.

 

An experienced JAG in an active military maybe?


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#35 artsydork

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 04:32 PM

Anyone in-house at something cool like a society? I'd be curious to see the difference between the above scenarios.


Edited by artsydork, 25 September 2014 - 04:33 PM.


#36 Little Chicken Little

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 05:39 PM

What kind of practice area involves lawyers actually being in the "kevlar situations" mentioned above?
And do most in-house lawyers travel a lot? International travel is something I've always considered a big plus as part of a job.


Transaction negotiation in a big sandbox, circa 2012.

#37 Little Chicken Little

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 05:42 PM

I've had partners that have had similar experiences, although they were given a bit more leeway by private security.  (S)he was handed a Beretta and told to shoot at anyone that isn't us.
 
You'd think LCL would have been given the benefit of a firearm due to his military experience.  I'd certainly send a formal, desperate request to the QM for a carbine if I was going to be in a kevlar situation.  I remember my lanes of fire!  Where are my mags, guys?


On the few occasions it's been relevant I've had full faith in our protection. But I've always let them know that I have a military background and can assist if needed.
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#38 Little Chicken Little

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 05:47 PM

Are you with the parentco or Canco?  I'd find it surprising if Canadian GCs have this much of an international travel requirement.


Parentco.
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#39 Little Chicken Little

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 05:48 PM

And I'm not the GC.
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#40 steel_shot

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 06:14 PM

That's surprising.  I wonder why the GC of Canadian operations would need to crisis-manage internationally in person.

 

I got the impression that he didn't do a ton of crisis-management but more of going to check stuff out. I never really asked, which I am regretting now though. 



#41 whereverjustice

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 06:19 PM

Oh hey I just saw that movie, Chris Pine was great, Keira Knightley seemed strange without the accent though


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#42 Little Chicken Little

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 06:36 AM

Oh hey I just saw that movie, Chris Pine was great, Keira Knightley seemed strange without the accent though


Ha!

I assure you that day to day this place is more like Jack Sparrow and his crew than Jack Ryan and his.
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#43 GonnaGetLittUp

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 05:57 PM

Any role for tax lawyers in house or is most tax work farmed out to firms?
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#44 Little Chicken Little

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 06:42 AM

Many large companies have in house tax groups. My own experience is that they tend not to be part of the in house legal team but part of a multi discipline tax team.
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#45 lawstudent2012

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 06:42 PM

Anyone work in house as a labour/employment lawyer? Are those positions rare?

#46 almostnot

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 06:44 PM

Anyone work in house as a labour/employment lawyer? Are those positions rare?

 

Unions will often have their own lawyers.



#47 Adrian

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 05:24 AM

Anyone work in house as a labour/employment lawyer? Are those positions rare?

 

Depends on a few factors.  First, are you tied only to management side or union side?  Second, are you interested, willing, and demonstrably capable of doing both labour and employment?  It is easier to find in house employment jobs than labour simply since in house labour jobs are pretty constrained to public sector employers.



#48 Jaggers

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 08:33 AM

In-house pure labour and employment law jobs aren't exactly rare, but there are not a huge amount of them. You'd be looking at the big employers with thousands of employees (lots of employment litigation and HR type stuff to occupy someone because of the sheer number of employees), or smaller ones with a heavily unionized workforce (grievances and bargaining to occupy someone). Most companies in Canada wouldn't have enough pure employment and labour work to occupy someone full time, and so that stuff is overseen by other lawyers who farm it out if necessary.



#49 guest3

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 02:00 AM

Jaggers speaks truths. 

 

One of the live issues where I'm at right now is the selection and management of external counsel. I've heard several of the more senior lawyers express that their job is much less law and much more managing and distributing files. That may be unique to my company in its current state, but I'd love it if anybody who's currently in-house could share their thoughts on:

 

a) the selection process: how does your company pick who to use on a matter-to-matter or practice area basis; and

b) things successful external counsel provide that are 

      i) mission-critical 

      ii) nice-to-haves

      iii) areas many external counsel could look to improve; and

      iv) pet peeves



#50 Uriel

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:17 PM

I, too, would love answers to those questions.

 

And if you're a significant corporation, there's just no way a young lawyer is going to pirate away some of your smaller files, is there?  (Pretty please?)  :)

 

Seems to me that if I was running a large corporation's legal spend, I'd package up all my smallish files and hand them over in a bundle to a reputable partner at a firm I'm interested in testing out.  Here, take five $200,000 cases and prove to me you can handle a $1M case. 

 

I've come to the conclusion there's no point soliciting work from in-house counsel as a junior litigator on that basis.  Even if I would treat those files like Faberge eggs, it probably wouldn't be worth the increased administration cost of having a couple of rogue juniors out there handling small litigation files when you can just fire all 28 of them off to BLG and have a single point of contact.  Sure, maybe I don't invest in someone that might one day be a relationship partner that grew up knowing my business.  But I can just insist on getting that level of service from the partner at BLG, right? 

 

Here's what I've been wondering for the past year or so:

 

1) Is there ever any reason why you would assign any legal work to an associate or junior partner directly, either barrister or solicitor-side?  Or is it just easier and more efficient to go with an established partner that is a known quantity and work with(/lure away) the associates under her? 

 

2) It must get incredibly tedious socializing with exterior counsel knowing that all of them are planning on making an ask for legal work at some point in the future.  How do you stomach it?  How can a service provider get/stay in the loop with your client without becoming annoying? 

 

3) Since you socialize in an unguarded way with other in-house personnel more than we can, what advice would you give to those of us just starting to build our book of business?  Chase startups?  Do a secondment with you? 

 

It seems to me that in this age of closer bill scrutiny and RFPs, the old advice given to Biglaw associates to focus on learning the business of our institutional clients with an eye to "inheriting" them is no longer apt.  Once your relationship partner goes, there's a good chance you're gone too --- and for good cause.  Why keep your important business with a 37-year-old junior partner that's been working with you off and on for ten years when you can pick another senior superstar elsewhere at an introductory discount, then just come back if that doesn't work out?  Heck, why not hire that junior partner in-house?  You're under so much pressure to keep costs down that "they know our business" seems a flimsy and unquantifiable way to demonstrate that you're doing your job effectively.  From my perspective it seems like the best --- or maybe the only --- way for a young-ish lawyer to make a connection with an established corporate client in this day and age is to have a killer RFP PowerPoint and a ruthlessly efficient menu of alternative fee arrangements.  Thoughts?