To be a Successful In-House Lawyer, Learn the Business

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At the end of the day, in-house counsel has one role: "providing the company legal advice while simultaneously providing value for the business." To do this, lawyers have to be business savvy generally and understand their company's business model specifically. Inside Counsel's executive leadership development panel at its annual SuperConference talked about how lawyers can provide strategic value to organizations. Panelists included Timothy Donovan, GC of Caesars Entertainment; Matthew Broad, former GC of OfficeMax; and James Rogers, current GC of Orbitz. Bill Ford, a partner at Kansas City-based law firm Lathrop & Gage, moderated.

The panelist said understanding the "objectives of the company and clients through everything [you] do" and "work[ing] collaboratively to benefit the business as a whole" is of utmost importance. All panelists recommended training in business concepts.

What does this mean to you? If you're planning on moving up in your company or shifting to a corporate legal department, then you need to learn the business and demonstrate — on your resume and other career portfolio documents, in your job interview, and on the job — how you can add value.

Read more at Zack Warren's "GCs talk providing strategic value to the organization through the legal department."