Community Perspectives: What is your advice for new in-house counsel?

Experienced In-house counsel weigh in on the best advice for those taking their first in-house position.

Community Perspectives: What is your advice for new in-house counsel?

(Author) Attorney

Any tips for new in-house counsel?

I should clarify I will be in-house at a government entity with a transportation focus my focus will be transactional.


General Counsel Responses:

  • Hello from a fellow new in-house counsel in the transportation industry! 👋

Counsel Responses:

  • Developing that familiarity with the business and key stakeholders (both internal and external) takes some time, but it will help you “see around the corner” for potential issues confronting the business. Picking up projects/tasks with a variety of departments will expedite the process of developing relationships and deepening your understanding of the business.

  • If you’re in a software company, learn the basic functions of the software. It will help your understanding of company contracts immensely.

  • If you're at a public US company, read the 10-K or 10-Q reports. You'll seem like you know more than most in the room by just reading that and having the knowledge of the business in that way.

  • Make friends.

  • Ask the “stupid” questions.

  • Talk to everyone and ask them about their problems. The first phase is all information gathering. I particularly like talking to some smaller players because they may have more useful knowledge the higher-ups are often blind to. And they’re a good bellwether for how good the entity’s training is.

Attorney and Associate Responses:

  • Become really familiar to your business unit partners/clients. The job is easier when they see you as a partner instead of an obstacle.

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