Working for a general counsel in a large corporation is the dream job for many. What is general counsel? A general counsel is the designation of the head of the legal team of a corporation.
In-house counsel, as the junior lawyers working under a general counsel are known, are paid high salaries in a comparatively low-stress environment.
In-house counsel can be called upon to assist and take the lead on a wide variety of legal work. Or, sometimes, they are hired to work in a specialized role.
The work of an in-house counsel can consist of preparing legal documents for transactions being entered into by the company or managing litigation on behalf of the company.
The work of an in-house counsel can be quite challenging, and therefore law graduates need to prove that they have the necessary skill-set to shine in such a role.
Here are five tips that will help you land a job working for a general counsel at a major corporation.
Boost Your Resume
As mentioned earlier, in-house counsel jobs with leading corporations are always in high demand, and they are not easy to get.
You need to show that you can not only handle the work that is assigned to you, but you can also outperform in the given role.
Your CV is the first impression on recruiters, and jobs working for a general counsel are no exception. You need a CV that stands out from the rest of the pack to maximize your chances of getting hired.
There are several ways to make your CV shine as a law student or a law graduate.
- If you’re a law student, the first thing you should focus on is improving your CGPA. A high CGPA shows recruiters that you’re a hard worker and can be relied upon.
- It also tells recruiters that you are academically smart and can quickly pick up job-related skills.
- Alongside your CGPA, you should also participate in as many co-curricular activities as you can.
- For a law student, this means participating in moot court competitions, getting published in legal journals, and taking part in legal societies or clubs.
- If you’re a law graduate and currently working in the legal field, you should work on the legal areas where you want to get hired.
- For example, if you want to be hired by a media company, then you should try to work on intellectual property law.
Polish Your Interview Skills
Doing well in interviews is important if you want to get hired by a general counsel. It is pretty telling for a hiring team if an aspiring lawyer struggles to communicate confidently.
GCs look for soft skills and a polished speaking style in candidates. The interview is your chance to make an impression on the recruiter.
Most of us are not good at giving interviews. They are a high-stress situation, and you are likely to be grilled not just on your CV but also on your entire past life.
To do well in your interview, there is only one thing that you need to do: practice.
Rather than relying on possible divine intervention, you can be smart and anticipate common interview questions, such as “Tell us about yourself?” or “Why do you want to work with us?”
Prepare for the questions you are likely to be asked. Once you’re reasonably confident that you can face an interview, talk to your seniors and ask them to take a mock interview.
This is the best way for you to find out your weak points and the areas you can improve.
Network With Fellow Lawyers
In addition to knowing about job openings, networking with your peers allows you to understand the duties of an in-house counsel role and what you can expect.
You will find out about the salaries in the market, and you will get to know the size of legal teams in different major companies.
Networking can be invaluable in your search to land a job under a general counsel. This is especially true because several types of in-house counsel jobs are never advertised.
Lawyers use their own networks to hire other lawyers. If you’re well-connected in the industry, your chances of hearing about a job opening increase manifold.
To establish a good network, try to join online groups on social media, along with social media groups meant for lawyers.
Use your existing network from your law school to expand your network and meet new people working in the industry.
Look Out For Job Openings
In-house counsel jobs are not often advertised. So, you need to be quite proactive if you want to find a job working under a general counsel.
You should register yourself with legal recruiters who will be the first to know if there is a job opening in a large corporation.
You should also keep an eye on public job boards that may list jobs from such companies.
Most importantly, you should polish your CV, write a good cover letter, and send job applications to the major companies that you want to work for.
Don’t worry if you don’t get an immediate response. The HR teams in such companies will make a note of your resume and inform you if a suitable position opens up.
Work For A Law Firm With Company Ties
If you’re not immediately finding out about openings for in-house counsel, do not worry. The next best thing that you can do is work for a law firm that handles matters from such companies.
Law firms that specialize in corporate law are your best bet. Working for these law firms will help you gain experience in the kind of work you will be expected to do as an in-house counsel.
A lot of major companies hire lawyers directly from law firms that work with them, so you’ll be well-placed to work for such companies if you can show them your chops.
Immediately landing your dream job is just a fool’s hope in the legal world – with the exception of some fortunate cases, of course.
These things take time, and things will work out for you just as they do for other people. Just keep trying, and you’ll surely get the GC position in the end.