Community Perspectives: I've submitted over 1300 applications for in-house positions. - When should I give up my search?

In-house legal professionals talk about their experiences with lengthy in-house position searches.

Community Perspectives: I've submitted over 1300 applications for in-house positions. - When should I give up my search?

(Author) an Attorney

Hi Everyone,I need assistance deciding whether to give up my search for in-house counsel and start something else. I applied for over 1300+ positions since August 2021. Since then, I have gotten some interviews but no job. I have a unique background in accounting (8+ years), law (4+ years). I was applying for Associate Corporate Counsel or Corporate Counsel positions that require 3-5 years experience, and mainly focused on contracts or general corporate work (not focused on securities or employment law). I currently do not have any role specific resumes, and haven't yet tried a career coach. I will try to do more networking, and getting in touch with my former colleagues. I don't get much feedback from interviewers.

I need advice and feedback that I’m not getting from interviewers. Most employers want to have someone who has already done the types of work they are looking for, and that’s in their best interest. I recognize that I am on the lower end of preferences, though I believe my accounting/finance background gives me some chance of being useful to an organization. Personally, I have not seen any corporate positions requiring 0-2 years to date. Some start from 2 yrs, the majority start from 3 yrs. I do admit that I haven’t utilized and tried the cover letter approach as much as I should. 

I started using indeed to look for jobs and I will try glassdoor, but I found that majority of corporations post on LinkedIn. LinkedIn's filtering process isn’t so accurate. They have filters such as Associate or Senior vs. number of years, and they lump together Associate General Counsel in that bucket as well. I wonder if there’s a way to link to their data feed and run a query, because I’m sure I’d make something more useful than that.

There is no opportunity to switch practice areas with my current position. Notwithstanding, there isn’t any corporate work available, my contract position with my current company ends this month. I have considered litigation again, and then trying to transition into some corporate work, but litigation started to take its toll on me, which is one other motivating reason to find in-house opportunities instead.

Overall, I am very keen in learning tech and software. (I come from a long line of engineers, so I guess it comes natural to me. My decision to become a first generation Attorney, is another story). I have extensive experience dealing with various business departments at my prior position as a Financial Analyst, where I had to actively be involved with their spending and budgets, and in the process learning all of the nuisances in procurement, acquisition, and business development. In my head, I always thought having a business litigation background complimented a corporate counsel position because in the process, you gain valuable insight on what should’ve happened in contracts and negotiations that never did, in the hopes to prevent future litigation. Even using this logic, I can see why companies would prefer someone with more expansive litigation experience.

- Thanks!

General Counsel Responses:

  • You don't have actual corporate experience, which might be the issue. Contracts are at least somewhat trainable (commercial) but true corporate, that's something you have to get in firm practice. I'd recommend trying to get into the litigation group somewhere, or you need to try to switch to firm practice area.
  • Your best bet is to switch to a law firm and do a new practice area.
  • Management is already a lot of work. Having to train someone from scratch is asking for trouble, which is why most don't hire for potential. But if we did, honestly, I'd hire on BigLaw first, and it doesn't seem like you have that much experience there either.

In-house? Join the conversation on Fishbowl (anonymous).

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