you’re going to provide,” he says.
Merklinger says the role of in-house
counsel has evolved over time, particularly as many firms have determined
it’s more cost-efficient to have a lawyer on staff than outsourcing all of its
“Part of the value of having in-house
counsel is they understand the business. They can advise and prevent
problems from happening. That’s a
hard measurement to quantify, ‘I prevented a $10-million lawsuit.’ But you
don’t want to be in a position where
in-house counsel says, ‘if you’d have listened to me, we could have avoided a
$10-million lawsuit,’” he says.
So, is an MBA a must-have degree for
in-house counsel? You probably won’t
find it on the list of requirements for a
job posting but a growing number of lawyers have found it differentiates them
from the rest of the pack.
Merklinger says it certainly won’t hurt
your candidacy for an in-house position
and it may even help your resumé get to
the top of the stack on the human resources director’s desk.
“It’s something we’ve seen that falls
in the area of many soft skills that don’t
necessarily have to do with the law. They
relate to (lawyers) being better employees. Having that business perspective
coupled with the law is a great combination,” he says.
he ACC has found many in-house lawyers have really enjoyed working in the corporate world, says Merklinger.
“They’re part of the company’s products and services as opposed to just providing legal advice. The satisfaction of
being a part of a business that produces
something, the MBA adds to that. It
makes them better employees and better business partners,” he says.
Patenall can see how candidates
for a general counsel position can put
themselves over the top and ahead of
their competition by graduating with