JOIN MCCA

Research & Surveys

Reports

Pathways

From Lawyer to Business Partner:

Career Advancement in Corporate Law Departments

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Findings

INTRODUCTION

Methodology
Research Team

CAREER PATHS OF GENERAL COUNSEL

Point of Entry
Shared Features of the Career Paths of General Counsel
Reasons for Going In-House

FROM LAWYER TO BUSINESS PARTNER: THE KEY TO ADVANCING IN-HOUSE

Get to Know the Business
Act As A Business Partner
The Importance of Management
Communicate Like A Business Person
Develop Relationships with Leaders on the Business Side
The Importance of Mentors

FROM BUSINESS PARTNER TO LEADER: THE KEY TO BECOMING GENERAL COUNSEL

Take Risks
Take Credit
Take Stock

WORK/LIFE STRESSES AND STRATEGIES

Better Balance In-house? Yes and No
Support at Home: A Critical Ingredient
Work/Life Tradeoffs and Redefining Success

MCCA RECOMMENDATIONS ON LEVERAGING SUCCESS IN-HOUSE TO MAKE PROGRESS IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION

Promoting Diversity In-House
Promoting Diversity in Law Firms
Key Findings
MCCA Recommendations for Developing Your In-house Career

APPENDIX

I. The Fortune 500 CEO Survey on General Counsel, Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (2000)
II. From the Expert’s Desk: General Counsel Reveal What It Takes to Ascend to a Fortune 500 Law Department

IN APPRECIATION

MCCA extends its appreciation to the following law firms for their financial contributions in support of the production of this research report. Their support has been critical to MCCA’s ability to produce and distribute this valuable career management resource. It is our hope that this information will empower the many in-house counsel who receive it to better manage their careers and achieve their professional objectives, particularly in-house women lawyers.

AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD LLP
LORD, BISSELL & BROOK
VINSON & ELKINS, L.L.P.

Copyright 2003 by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be copied, reproduced, referenced without appropriate citation to MCCA, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including via the internet, without the written permission of MCCA.

The Academy - Boston

Join MCCA for our next Academy for Leadership and Inclusion on October 7th, hosted by Liberty Mutual in Boston, MA.

Latest News

More News

Fast Facts

Americans aged 25-34 have the second highest rate of bankruptcy (just after those aged 35 to 44), indicating that Gen-Xers were more likely to file for bankruptcy than were young baby boomers at the same age.
Source: "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt among Young Americans."
The average young-adult household spends almost one quarter of every dollar earned on debt payments.
Source: "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt among Young Americans."
The annual unemployment rate in 2012 for Management, Professionals, and Related Occupations was 4.1%.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nearly two-thirds of the 5.4 million legal immigrants from Mexico who are eligible to become citizens of the US have not yet taken that step. Their naturalization rate-36%-is only half that of legal immigrants from all other countries combined.
Source: Pew Research Center
The overall U.S. birth rate declined 8% from 2007 to 2010. The birth rate for U.S.-born women decreased 6% during these years, but the birth rate for foreign-born women plunged 14%-more than it had declined over the entire 1990-2007 period.1 The birth rate for Mexican immigrant women fell even more, by 23%.
Source: Pew Research Center
Three-quarters of retirees said they worked longer than they would have otherwise to maintain access to their employer healthcare plan. The Affordable Care Act does include provisions aimed at reining in prices by limiting the amount insurers can charge older Americans to 3 times what they charge younger subscribers.
Source: The Washington Post
Only four in ten third-graders in the District of Columbia can read proficiently, and only about four out of ten young adults in the District have a full-time job.
Source: Raise D.C.
In 1779, before his time as president, Thomas Jefferson proposed a law to castrate gay men and to destroy the nose cartilage of gay women.
Source: Washington Lawyer
Pennsylvania was the first state to repeal the death penalty for sodomy in 1786.
Source: Washington Lawyer
In 1924 the Society for Human Rights in Chicago became the country's first gay rights organization. Other organizations such as the Mattachine Society and the daughters of Bilitis, were formed decades later.
Source: Washington Lawyer
In 1962 Illinois became the first state to decriminalize homosexual acts done in private between consenting adults.
Source: Washington Lawyer
The nationalities with the highest rates of nationalization in the US - about75% - are Vietnamese, Russian, Filipino, Korean, Laotian, and Cuban.
Source: The Pew Research Center
To become a citizen of the US, a legal permanent resident must be at least 18 years; have lived in the US continuously for 5 years; be able to speak, read, write, and understand basic English; pass a background check; demonstrate knowledge of US history and government; swear allegiance to the US; and pay the $680 application fee.
Source: The Washington Post
The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., metropolitan area, near New York City, had the highest percentage (17.9%) of households with at least $191,469 in income. At the other end of the spectrum are two metro areas named Danville -- in Virginia and Illinois -- each with 1.1% of households having such high income.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
National Women's History Month dates back to March 8, 1857, when women in NYC factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women's Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn't until 1981 that Congress established National Women's History Week, celebrated the 2nd week of March. In 1987, the week was expanded to a month.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Americans aged 25-34 have the second highest rate of bankruptcy (just after those aged 35 to 44), indicating that Gen-Xers were more likely to file for bankruptcy than were young baby boomers at the same age.
Source: "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt among Young Americans."
The average young-adult household spends almost one quarter of every dollar earned on debt payments.
Source: "Generation Broke: The Growth of Debt among Young Americans."
The annual unemployment rate in 2012 for Management, Professionals, and Related Occupations was 4.1%.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
MicroSoftMCAAWal-Mart