In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

What Law Schools Have the Best Programs for In-House Jobs?

So, your plan is to graduate from law school and become corporate counsel at a Fortune 500 company? Good luck with that.

According to experts, your chances of getting that job right out of law school are slim and none. It would be like going to Hollywood to get discovered while working at McDonald's.

However, there are law schools that can give you an advantage on your career path. Here's how to find the schools that lead to in-house jobs:

Global Possibilities

William Kruse, author of "The Corporate Counsel Survival Guide," says it's a good time for law grads to go for corporate jobs. He said companies are hiring to avoid paying fees to outside counsel.

Typically, they want lawyers with years of litigation experience. But there are opportunities for new transactional attorneys, even if they don't have courtroom chops.

Kruse says law students should look for schools that emphasize the global nature of contemporary law practice. He said graduates have an advantage if they have extensive coursework in international and comparative law, environment law, regulatory law, and intellectual property.

Aspiring in-house lawyers should target law schools that offer such courses and that have high in-house placement rates, he said.

Metropolitan Law Schools

Law schools in metropolitan areas -- especially those with an abundance of corporate headquarters -- offer more opportunities for externships and internships. Students should check out career services and talk to faculty about it and other post-graduate opportunities.

Still, the traditional path to corporate counsel is through a big corporate firm. Robert Herbst, a former general counsel, said he typically hired people who had several years of law firm experience.

"I preferred to hire lawyers who had big firm training," Herbst wrote to U.S. News & World Report. "Most companies cannot afford to carry lawyers fresh out of law school who have no practical experience."

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