Corporations Hiring GCs out of Law School Instead of from BigLaw

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 15, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ask any ambitious 3L this question: what is your dream job fresh out of law school? "General counsel" is likely not something you'd hear, partially because most law students recognize that it used to be near-impossible to land an in-house position without years of experience.

And, some law students are still dreaming of earning $160k their first year at a big law firm.

But, for those looking for a job in the corporate world that pays a bit less, look no further. It seems that some companies are breaking out of the traditional mold of only hiring law firm-trained general counsels.

Some companies will actually be recruiting fresh grads.

No, the companies that are going down this path aren't no-name companies that will be paying these new recruits peanuts.

Companies pioneering this potential shift in the legal market include Hewlett-Packard and Pfizer, two household names that could be coming to a law school near you, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Could this be something that law students should consider?

Well, why not. Sure, you may not make $160k at HP, but you could be making up to $115k in salary with a $15k signing bonus.

That can buy a lot of stuff, and pay down a big chunk of any poor law student's law school loans.

The other problem is that there may be less stability in this option than you may think. For example, Citigroup once suspended their "CitiSelect" program, which recruited summer associates and new hires.

Plus, the kind of training you'd get a company might not be the same as at a firm. General counsels are used to support a business' functions, and don't necessarily do the same thing an associate would do at a law firm.

But, this new trend to turn to law schools for general counsel-hiring may be something that sticks around. And, with the employment market as it is, it seems that law students across the nation should rejoice at any available new opportunity.

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