Looking for and Applying to In-House Jobs
- Start with identifying companies in the geographic areas of interest to you. Consider whether you want to work domestically or internationally.
- Do an advanced search on Martindale and look for companies both in and near to but outside of cities of interest to you.
- Also search the Martindale Corporation law Listings in Lexis (Legal>Area of Law-by Topic>Corporate>Access Directories).
- Look at the Directory of Corporate Counsel which lists companies and the attorneys in their Legal Departments. It also gives information on the attorneys’ law schools. (Print access through Biddle; Westlaw access: Enter database identifier CORP-DIR in the “Search for a database field”).
- Look at Hoover’s which lists companies alphabetically and by industry and geographic area.
- Subscribe to Corporate Counsel Magazine (print access Biddle or online).
- Review Corporate Counsel’s In-house Law Departments survey
- Go to the Association of Corporate Counsel for information about the industry and specific companies and their General Counsels. The ACC also has regional chapters.
- Check the companies’ websites for job postings and the name and contact information for the person in charge of hiring in the Legal Department or the General Counsel’s office. If no one is listed, call the Legal Department and ask who is.
- Check the job postings on the Association of Corporate Counsel’s job boards. Job postings are also in each ACC Chapter.
- Check the job postings on InHouseBlog and GoInHouse.
- Check to see if there are any University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School alumni at the company in the Corporate Counsel Directory (on reserve in Biddle). Also see Finding University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Alumni.
- If there are no postings, either send an email expressing interest in the company and inquire about their hiring needs or mail off a cover letter, resume and transcript. Make sure your cover letter is specific to the company.
- Follow up in 2 weeks if you have not heard back to confirm receipt of your materials and re-express your interest.
- Check Symplicity regularly for new postings.
- Review our online list of Alumni working in-house.
- Learn as much as you can about the Company and the industry (and that company’s place in it).
- Have they had any recent challenges/setbacks/successes?
- Look at the company’s legal department. How many in-house lawyers are there? How is the department structured?
- Where does the position fit into the organizational structure of the legal department? Who does the position report to? What is the background of the lawyers in the department?
- If it is an international company, is all the legal work done through world headquarters? Are there international legal offices?
- If it is a publicly traded company, review their Annual Report which is usually on-line. Know what their stock is trading at, what their annual profits are, what their annual spending is, and how they are doing compared to other fiscal years/quarters. Pay particular attention to the trends (up and down) in the financial statements and management’s explanation of them.
- If it’s privately held, look at their website and any on-line media about the company and its principal industry . Make sure you know if they have any subsidiaries, other offices, an international presence and their target market.
- Find out who their main competitors are and how the company is faring against them.
In-house interviews are often very different from a law firm interview. You may well be interviewed by an attorney, who will interview much like any law firm with the added focus on testing the validity of the reasons you want to move in-house. But you may also be interviewed by representatives from the corporate side (representatives from the human resources department or the business people whom in-house counsel serve) who may not be as impressed with or appreciate your law school accomplishments such as moot court or law review. It is important that you show you are a good fit with the particular culture, style, and personnel of the company. Keep in mind that even in the most laid back companies, the members of the Legal Departments tend to be conservative in demeanor and dress.
- Why you want to work in that area (whether its products liability, litigation etc.)
- Why you want to work at that particular company or in that particular position
- Why are you looking to go in-house now
- Why they should hire you
- Questions about your career goals
- What are your perceptions about working in-house
- Are you comfortable providing legal advice on the spot
- Are you willing to become more of a generalist lawyer (true for some in-house positions)
- Most importantly, why you want to go in-house
- That you like the idea of working for one client and getting to know the nuts and bolts of one client, as opposed to learning a little bit about a client and then moving on to the next one.
- That you want to be involved in the deal or product launch, etc. from the beginning and not just when something goes “wrong.”
- That you like being a member of a team.
- That you are interested in learning about the business since in-house lawyers often advise on business issues and strategy (both long term and short).
- Tough questions about weaknesses in your background such as lack of experience or a lackluster GPA
- Questions about being willing to relocate. Show you have knowledge about the city where you may be working.
- Questions about your understanding of the pyramidal structure of the legal department
Looking for and Applying to Consulting Jobs
Check early on what the hiring timeline is.
- It may differ from the traditional timeline for law hiring. Apply online.
- The top three major consulting firms are:
Learn about each firm’s culture and practice.
- Do they focus on strategy across a large number of industries or do they focus on one industry?
- Do they advise in many areas or just a few such as finance or technology?
- Watch for and attend information sessions of the companies at the University and in the city.
Brush up on your math skills.
- Being comfortable with numbers is a must.
Work on your public speaking.
- If you use “um”, “like” and other speaking fillers, it’s time to get rid of them.
- You may be asked to take a short written test before being offered an initial interview.
Prepare for the interviews.
- You will likely go through 3 rounds of interviewing.
- Each round will typically contain two parts: a fit interview and a case interview.
- Some may also hold a group interview.
Interviews for management consulting positions are quite different from the interviews conducted by typical legal employers.
This type of interview puts you with other applicants and gives the employer a chance to see how you work on a team. They will look to see if you have the ability to build relationships and act in a cooperative manner. You do not want to be too aggressive or dominant.
This interview will seek to elicit information about you and your background to see if you have the professional and personal skills for the job. You should be prepared to answer any question about what’s on your resume and why you would be a good consultant.
Sample Fit Questions
Expect to be grilled on every detail on your resume. Anticipate how past experiences might be used to ask you about a particular industry or business. Have an interesting short story to tell for each item on your resume which will demonstrate the attributes interviewers are looking for – leadership, teamwork, ability to handle difficult situations, intellectual creativity and analytical ability. Here are some typical questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in consulting?
- How are your math skills?
- Tell me about a time you showed leadership skill/were a team player?
- Why should I hire you?
- Why would you choose us over one of our competitors?
- Tell about a time you failed at something/handled a crisis.
- Why do you want to work for XXX Consulting Co?
- Why did you go to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School/XXX college?
- What do you know about consulting?
- What do you know about our company?
- Tell me about a time when you persuaded a group.
- Tell a time you took the initiative to start something.
- What other interviews do you have?
- What accomplishments have given you your greatest satisfaction?
- What skills will you bring to our company?
- Case in Point by Marc P. Cosentino
- Vault Guide to the Case Interview
- Crack the Case: How to Conquer Your Case Interviews by David Ohrvall
- Wharton Consulting Guide
- Ace Your Case! Wet Feet Press Insider Guide
- Kellogg Guide to Consulting
- Harvard Business School Guide to Careers in Management Consulting
- Math Drills:
- Consulting Companies also post information about interview preparation on their websites:
Interviewers will want to see the traits of a good consultant:
- High energy and enthusiasm
- Knowledge about their company and how it differs from other companies
- Interpersonal skills
- Team player
- A good listener
- Strong analytical skills
- Common sense
- Presentation skills
- The ability to work with numbers
- Organizational skills
- The ability to stay cool under pressure
- The ability to handle roadblocks and changes of course
- Creative thinking
- Genuine excitement about consulting
- A fun, interesting person - would you want to sit next to this person on a long flight?