by Albert Tawil, Founder & CEO of Lateral Hub
As I’ve started to pay attention to content that is out in the world for legal career advice, I’ve noticed a common theme: there is a lot of focus on lawyers who left the law to do other things.
Sometimes it is glorified, presented as someone who has “escaped” (often an unfair categorization in my mind). I will admit, it is very interesting when an attorney pivots into a non-legal career, such as a business role at a cool company or a startup founder (no bias here). I love consuming this content.
There is also a lot of focus on folks in interesting GC roles. These individuals wear multiple hats, help guide the organization both from a legal and business perspective, and usually have a few years under their belt in BigLaw that helped give them the work ethic and attention to detail required for the in-house job. I also love this content. My favorite law school course at NYU was “Role of the Corporate GC” – a small seminar co-taught by the law school dean, where we had a different GC speak each week about their role and the issues that come up on a day-to-day basis. I always thought I would enjoy the GC role and be good at it.
But what gets overlooked is how interesting some law firm jobs are. In BigLaw and in boutique and midsize firms, there are lawyers that do really cool work and enjoy what they do (shocking, I know!). If you ask these lawyers if they expected to do this type of work or if they always did this type of work the answer is usually “No”.
Often, they thought they would do something else and ended up finding a calling in a new area of work as a junior associate. Sometimes, the attorney spent what seems like a lifetime in a specific field, only to pivot into another area somehow and finding a new career there. Or, the attorney knew all along that they wanted to get into a specific area of law, but couldn’t crack in right away – so they toiled away in another field and networked like crazy until they could find a way to get in the door.
Part of the mission of Lateral Hub is to showcase how many interesting law firm roles are out there. Going in-house is a common move after a few years in BigLaw and has many advantages – for example, becoming a generalist, getting involved in the business side, or better hours (sometimes). But there are aspects of working in a law firm that are unmatched in-house. From speaking with attorneys who have gone in-house and then returned to law firm life, one of the most common reasons for returning to a firm is the desire to work with multiple clients in different industries. And depending on the in-house position, sometimes there are corporate politics to navigate that distract from the interesting legal work.
In the Lateral Hub Newsletter, we’ll be profiling attorneys who have carved out interesting practices within the law firm environment, whether in BigLaw or in a boutique or midsize firm. The type of practice that an associate hears about and says: “Ooh I want to work on that stuff too.”
If you or a member of your network has an “ooh-I-want-to-do-that-too” type of practice, please get in touch! I’d love to connect to see how we can showcase them in our newsletter.