Being in-house legal counsel for an organization can be a challenging and rewarding career. And depending on the position you’re in – whether you are General Counsel, corporate attorney, employment attorney, or a specialist of some kind – your role will have its unique aspects.

However, there are some common core skills for all of these legal roles. How can you position yourself for growth and advancement? To succeed in your in-house legal career, it’s vital to understand the areas where you can maximize your performance.

Here are three tips to improve your efficacy and advance your in-house legal career.

1. Establish Relationships with Colleagues and Clients

Building solid relationships both within your organization and with clients is an important way to build trust and rapport.

  • Involve yourself in your co-workers’ projects.
  • Share your philosophy and ideas with your colleagues so they are familiar with you.
  • Attend regular lunches with colleagues and try to be in their “circle” where appropriate.
  • Attend business meetings with clients (sales people and executives will usually introduce you them and you can attend the client with them or on your own).

2. Embrace Your Role as a Facilitator

A big part of being an in-house attorney involves facilitating the sales process and moving projects forward.

  • Actions speak louder than words – show that you are there to help.
  • Don’t just say “no.” If you must say “no,” then provide some ideas and alternative solutions to facilitate the process.
  • As General Counsel, focus on making things easier for your company.
  • As an employment attorney, focus on efficiency and balance; work to improve processes and procedures.
  • As a specialist, keep the end goal in mind. What is the company trying to accomplish with a patent, for example? Or a particular area of compliance?

3. Be a Lawyer and a Business Partner

Your presence in the company is critical. Think of your contribution as more of a business partner. Make sure your input has a positive impact on the growth of the business.

  • Approach your work with empathy and understanding.
  • Think of the big picture – what are the company’s goals?
  • Focus on business development and contributing to sales and growth.
  • In addition to keeping the company compliant, be sure to maximize the value of deals that are being negotiated.
  • Finally, support the different teams in your organization – from the sales team to the executive team. Successfully engaging at this level will keep you on track for career advancement.

Working as an in-house attorney can be a demanding yet fulfilling profession. If you want to improve your professional trajectory, you may want to give more attention to your relationships with colleagues and clients to stay engaged and involved. Also, embrace your role as a facilitator to improve project momentum. And lastly, remember to think like a business partner as well as a lawyer to improve the growth of the business. Giving more attention to these areas will enhance your performance as an in-house attorney.

Are you looking for an in-house position?

At Quaero Group we work with top companies nationwide, and we can be a resource to help you to find interesting, lucrative, and meaningful work in an in-house counsel position. Contact us to talk about your options.

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