Husch Blackwell Launches Development Program, Encouraging New Path for Lawyers

Husch Blackwell's HB In-House program offers attorneys insights into corporate legal roles, preparing them for in-house transitions while strengthening the firm's client relationships.

Husch Blackwell Launches Development Program, Encouraging New Path for Lawyers

Husch Blackwell, an Am Law 100 firm, has launched a unique professional development program, HB In-House. This program is designed to help attorneys gain an intimate understanding of in-house roles, thereby enhancing the firm’s ability to cater more effectively to its clients and provide career development opportunities for attorneys interested in transitioning to in-house counsel roles.

Embracing Change to Achieve Commitment to Client Success

The decision to launch this program reflects Husch Blackwell’s big-picture perspective on the topic of lawyer flight to in-house roles. The partners recognize that some of its attorneys will opt to take the in-house plunge, often by joining clients of the firm. Instead of resisting this trend, the firm has chosen to embrace it and help prepare its attorneys for these roles, viewing it as an extension of its commitment to client success.

The program is one way to help attorneys understand how corporate legal departments function, which will ultimately make them better partners to their clients. Husch Blackwell recognizes that not everyone wants to follow the traditional partner track, and this is their way of ensuring that they are training their lawyers to grow by providing varied career opportunities.

A Different Way to Provide Value

Husch Blackwell’s program comes at a time of significant change in the legal industry, where both law firms and corporate counsel are seeing shifts in their roles and duties. During a recent event in London that gathered in-house lawyers and other legal professionals, participants underlined that law firms need to find a different way to provide value, amid changes in dynamic with their clients following recent tech advancements, especially AI.

“The way that private practice delivers value to its customers needs to change,” said Lorna Khemraz, Lead Counsel at Legal OS. “If private practice is leveraging AI in the right way, the time taken to deliver that product will be much shorter. The client can no longer be paying 10 hours for one piece of advice that only takes one hour to deliver.” 

Chris Grant, Head of Legal Market Engagement at HSBC, reiterated that this wasn’t about “punishing the law firms, but about working the right way.” “It doesn’t need to be complicated. Build up that competition and don’t just go to the firm where you qualified at or where your mate is. Have a think about the real commercial value lies,” Grant added.

Providing Attorneys With an Inside Look

The inaugural Husch Blackwell program, which launches this summer and will run from June through September, might be able to help in this respect. The program is aimed at providing attorneys with an inside view of legal department roles and responsibilities. The curriculum, designed with the help of more than two dozen clients who will provide instructors and coaches, is intended to pave the way for those interested in moving in-house to do so successfully.

Joe Glynias, the Chair of Husch Blackwell and the Architect of the program, noticed that associates would keep their in-house ambitions to themselves until they’d accepted a role. He believes that lawyers going through the program will be better equipped to choose the right in-house role and will have the tools to be a significant contributor from day one.

“It struck me that we had a pool of talent within our firm who aspired to transition in-house, but they didn’t feel comfortable seeking support from us,” he said. “We believe in investing in our people, and this program is one way to help our attorneys understand how corporate legal departments function, which will ultimately make them better partners to our clients.” 

Husch Blackwell’s HB In-House program is a unique initiative in the legal industry. It provides a pathway for lawyers interested in in-house roles. As the legal industry continues to evolve, such innovative approaches to talent development and client service are likely to become increasingly important.

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