‘It’s well-known that competition to secure a job in the legal sector is intense.”
Whether you are a newly minted lawyer ready to take the legal world by storm or a practicing attorney switching roles, to get that new job as an in-house lawyer you’ll need to have skills that set you apart from other candidates.
In order to set yourself apart from the competition, it’s key to understand that corporate legal departments provide services to the rest of the company. That’s why hiring managers are looking for individuals with consistent prior work experience, a true service-oriented approach, a solid work ethic, and a willingness to learn.
1.Networking Skills –
Networking is a key skill to hone. Talk with many different types of lawyers to learn what they do and what they like and dislike about their role. Join networking groups that meet in person, as well as online forums and business networking sites like LinkedIn. Take advantage of the expertise in your network and ask questions to learn what’s involved in day-to-day in-house practices in different industries.
2.Legal Knowledge/skills –
Corporate law, litigation, commercial or intellectual property law are necessary skills for any in-house lawyer. If you’re still in law school, acquiring these skills may mean working through school and over the summer, paid or unpaid, to gain relevant experience.
3.Serious service skills –
Lawyers must recognize that they are in a service industry. A good business lawyer acts as a true facilitator of what the business needs while balancing that with legal risk. That is why prior work experience in a service-oriented role demonstrates to potential employers that you have a “service mindset.” Don’t discount early work experience of this nature. In my book, early work experience involving working with the public such as working as a barista, retail sales associate, or bank teller, is always useful.
4.Research and Analysis –
Reading large amounts of information, absorbing facts and figures, analyzing material and distilling it into something manageable is a feature of any law career. The key is being able to identify what is relevant out of the mass of information and explain it clearly and concisely to your client. Hone this skill by taking large documents or long news articles and making five-point bulleted lists of the most important themes. Research also plays a huge role in a lawyer’s day-to-day job. You’ll need research skills when doing the background work on a case, drafting legal documents and advising clients on complicated issues.
5.Resilience and Self-confidence –
Demonstrate your commitment to a career in law through relevant work experience and remember that when it comes to standing out from the crowd, determination and enthusiasm go a long way – as does resilience and confidence in your own abilities.