How To Find In-House Counsel Jobs in 6 Steps (Plus Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 16, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In-house counsel jobs are oftentimes beneficial to both lawyers and the businesses with which they partner. Lawyers don't have to manage multiple clients, and businesses can have immediate and trustworthy legal advice and advocacy from a member of their own team. If you're an aspiring or current lawyer who prefers more stability in your day-to-day operations, you might consider applying for an in-house counsel job. In this article, we explain what in-house counsel jobs are, how to find an in-house counsel job and some tips for increasing your chances of getting one.

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What is an in-house counsel job?

An in-house counsel job is a position that allows lawyers to work directly with clients who they also work for as employees. A lot of businesses hire lawyers directly in house to counsel them so that they can receive legal guidance and crisis management when necessary instead of hiring a lawyer who's also working with several other clients and might not be able to give their full time and attention.

Many lawyers prefer working in house because their schedules are often less stressful, options for other job opportunities are greater and depending on the company, they receive good company benefits, such as shares in the company.

Related: How To Become a Lawyer on Your Timeline

How to find an in-house counsel job

Here is a list of ways to find an in-house counsel job:

1. Browse in-house counsel job boards

Browse online job boards dedicated to helping lawyers find the in-house counsel job that's right for them. Create an account with the website and upload your resume to help a hiring manager find you quickly and easily. Make sure to update your account with any new education, experience or background information that might impress a hiring manager. It's helpful to upload a picture of yourself to complete your profile and so that potential employers can remember your face with your name.

2. Connect with other lawyers and professionals

Attend networking events for a chance to meet people who can share their in-house counsel experiences and offer advice so that you can gain greater insight into what the job is like. Bring several business cards to hand out and introduce yourself to attendees so that you can make a good impression on someone who might be able to connect you with a hiring manager of a business looking for in-house counsel. Exchange contact information so that you can build relationships with people who might be able to help you.

3. Hire a legal recruiter

Consider hiring someone to help you find in-house counsel jobs. Because many people seek these types of jobs, hiring a legal recruiter to help you find jobs and speak with hiring managers on your behalf can be beneficial. Legal recruiters have access to upcoming and current job opportunities that many people don't have, so can be a good advantage for you to refer to a professional for help. Be specific in the kind of in-house counsel job you want, including the kind of business you want to work for and your desired pay range and schedule.

Related: How To Reach Out to a Recruiter and Recruiter Outreach Examples

4. View available resources

There are many available resources that are provided to lawyers to help you find a job in house. Check online business journals for lawyers, websites devoted to legal news, community forums and in-person associations to find employers that might need in-house counsel applicants. You might also reach out to businesses directly to see if they have any needs currently. If not, you can ask them to contact you in the future if an opportunity arises.

5. Consider previous clients

If you work or worked as a private attorney, reach out to clients who have hired you previously to see if they're now looking for or would consider hiring in-house counsel. Let them know that you enjoyed working with them and would appreciate continuing to do so on a more consistent basis via in-house counsel. You might also ask if they know of any business looking for this type of counsel.

6. Pitch an idea to businesses

If you know someone who owns a business, ask them if they would consider hiring legal counsel to guide and support their business. Make a list of businesses that you frequent or want to work for and send an email, call or invite them to discuss your qualifications and how having in-house counsel might benefit them. Check your local newspaper, library or online search engine to find new businesses that aren't yet open for operation, as they might be more willing to consider hiring a legal expert while they are still in the early stages of business planning.

Related: Interview Questions for In-House Counsel

Tips for getting an in-house counsel job

Here are some tips on how to get an in-house counsel job:

  • Obtain the necessary education: Enroll in classes to gain more knowledge and become certified in subjects related to businesses that might need in-house counsel. Take the necessary steps to become better acquainted with your craft so that you impress hiring managers.

  • Gain experience: Apply for jobs or volunteer at companies related to businesses that need in-house counsel, such as tax preparation and finance companies.

  • Update your resume: Hire a professional resume writer to revise your resume and use keywords to help you distinguish yourself from other candidates. Add any relevant education and experience that you've gained to your resume for a more comprehensive overview of your background and skills.

  • Ask a colleague for feedback: Ask someone to review your resume or portfolio to help you find any errors or inconsistencies that you might've missed or any suggestions they might have to add. You can also ask former clients to send positive reviews of their experiences that you can add to your resume or portfolio.

  • Enhance your cover letter: In your cover letter, explain why you're interested in the specific industry, company and position to which you're applying and why you're a good fit for the job. Proofread and revise your cover letter, making sure to add your contact information so that you can be readily available to hiring managers.

  • Do your research: Research the companies you want to work for, including their target market and some common challenges they face. Be prepared for an impromptu phone call from a hiring manager or recruiter who might be interested in talking to you about your potential candidacy.

  • Prepare for your interview: Research the company and primary job duties before you show up to the interview. Dress professionally and be ready with your resume, notepad and a few questions to ask the hiring manager during the interview.

  • Send a thank-you note: Email the hiring manager or interviewer to let them know that you appreciate the opportunity to interview with them and are looking forward to the next steps in the hiring process. You can reiterate your qualifications and background and briefly explain to them in a couple of sentences why you would be a good fit for the company.

  • Follow up: If you don't hear back from the company after a week or two, send a follow-up email to the hiring manager or interviewer to let them know that you're still interested in the position. If they decided to move forward with another candidate, politely thank them for the opportunity so that you might be considered for future job openings.

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