Friday, November 14, 2014

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch... Or Is There?

During law school, I have worked at a structural engineering firm, a boutique intellectual property law firm, and a large scale firm specializing in many different areas.  This semester, I am expanding my work experience by working with an in-house legal department at a tech company.  The department has five attorneys, three of whom are Loyola alum.

In-house attorneys deal with a wide range of issues.  During my short time working in-house, I have worked on or observed employment, patent litigation, patent prosecution, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate matters.  Additionally, in-house attorneys deal with a wide range of people.  Some examples are employees in engineering, sales, and finance and executives within the company, as well as clients and attorneys outside the company.

The company cultures at in-house companies can vary widely.  My company embraces a startup culture, so employees sit at connecting desks in a large, open space.  Lunch is catered for all employees every day, and there are refrigerators and vending machines stocked with complimentary food and beverages.  Employees work on laptops, enabling them to move seamlessly from desks, to conference rooms, to big red sofas in open seating areas.

The company was open to my working three days a week, so another ancillary benefit has been attending lunch events at Loyola on my two days off.  Various student groups often organize and provide lunch for events featuring speakers or panels.  This semester, I have attended a discussion with Laura Wasser, an alum specializing in celebrity divorces (such as Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian), a panel on wrongful convictions featuring four innocent defendants who served time in prison, and a panel featuring different attorneys working in intellectual property law.

While working in-house is an option I might explore after graduation, most in-house groups only hire attorneys with work experience at a law firm.  I feel fortunate to be getting a glimpse of what working in-house is like now, before working with a law firm.  And of course, free lunch never hurts.

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