1. Know your client. In order to know the law and how to apply it to the company or organization you represent, take some time to learn the business and the industry. Understanding how products are manufactured, what is involved in a typical service, or who the organization serves can help provide insight about unique legal issues that may apply to the particular business.
2. Learn applicable law. What makes in-house counsel unique is that instead of specializing in a particular area of law, you are charged with having an overall familiarity of various subjects of law and knowing how to connect the dots so you know when to sub out complex issues to outside counsel. Here are some common topic areas that may call for your familiarity.
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3. Be aware of trends and emerging issues that could affect the company. As the company or organization's legal team, you not only guide the company on pertinent law, but also manage and direct legal affairs for the company. Issues such as privacy and attorney-client privilege are as important as changing trends in records management.
4. Keep up with industry happenings. Conferences, events, and webinars not only provide another way to bone up on legal knowledge but also serve as a "meeting of the minds" to connect with other in-house counsel and get a real idea of where legal theory meets practice.
5. Be able to laugh at yourself, at least a little. Believe it or not, there are some scary legal myths about attorneys floating out there. But you'll be relieved to know, that a few of those who have taken the time to know an in-house lawyer, have found them to be, well, delightful.
6. Strive to improve. You might be good, even really good. But even you can be thinking of ways to reach the next level. Check out these 5 qualities of stellar in-house counsel, and keep going with your bad self.
And in case you haven't settled on a costume for that actual special day of trick-or-treating, here are a few ideas.