Do you have a question about working in-house?

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Hedge Fund GC
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I am the head of legal with a hedge fund in London. Along the way I've worked in a US law firm, an investment bank and a fund of hedge funds.

I used to use this forum when I was at university and applying for training contracts, roughly during the run up to the financial crisis. I found it useful to listen to others' advice, but I realized that I never contributed anything in return. I'd like to fix that now.

So, ask me question, what would you like to know about building a legal career?

Any views expressed on this forum are my personal opinions only.

Omid
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tinygirl96
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What skills are needed? Tell me more about a typical day. List five tips you would pass on to newbies. Is it boring? How many hours do you spend on the road?
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mnot
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(Original post by Hedge Fund GC)
I am the head of legal with a hedge fund in London. Along the way I've worked in a US law firm, an investment bank and a fund of hedge funds.

I used to use this forum when I was at university and applying for training contracts, roughly during the run up to the financial crisis. I found it useful to listen to others' advice, but I realized that I never contributed anything in return. I'd like to fix that now.

So, ask me question, what would you like to know about building a legal career?

Any views expressed on this forum are my personal opinions only.

Omid
You are the general council?
Why did you move in in-house?
Do you engage in the corporate strategy side with the board or stick to the legal advisory content?
Are you also the company secretary? If so do you enjoy that role, if not is your company secretary also a lawyer?
How big is your ogc & how do you recruit?
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jackson222
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From your experience, do you think studying an UG degree in a different field (e.g politics, IR, anthropology) at a reputable uni then doing a conversion course (e.g. GDL) is as good as a straight UG Law LLB? For example considering employability and opportunities. Thanks so much!
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Hedge Fund GC
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(Original post by jackson222)
From your experience, do you think studying an UG degree in a different field (e.g politics, IR, anthropology) at a reputable uni then doing a conversion course (e.g. GDL) is as good as a straight UG Law LLB? For example considering employability and opportunities. Thanks so much!
I have no issues personally with starting with a non-law degree and I would (and have) hired lawyers from non-legal backgrounds. I can't speak for law firms. From memory it didn't seem to be much of an issue either way.
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Hedge Fund GC
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(Original post by mnot)
You are the general council?
Why did you move in in-house?
Do you engage in the corporate strategy side with the board or stick to the legal advisory content?
Are you also the company secretary? If so do you enjoy that role, if not is your company secretary also a lawyer?
How big is your ogc & how do you recruit?
I am the head of legal, we do not have a general counsel (sp) or a cosec. My team works on legal matters drawing on a range of areas including corporate M&A, regulatory, funds, derivatives, employment and property law. My role is to manage the legal department and to advise the business on legal and regulatory projects, client on-boarding and supporting new product development (for example, launching a new fund or strategy).
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mnot
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(Original post by Hedge Fund GC)
I am the head of legal, we do not have a general counsel (sp) or a cosec. My team works on legal matters drawing on a range of areas including corporate M&A, regulatory, funds, derivatives, employment and property law. My role is to manage the legal department and to advise the business on legal and regulatory projects, client on-boarding and supporting new product development (for example, launching a new fund or strategy).
Why did you move in house?
Do you prefer it?
Do you prefer to hire grads or associates with some experience in a firm first?
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tinygirl96
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Describe some interesting cases you have worked on.
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Hedge Fund GC
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(Original post by tinygirl96)
Describe some interesting cases you have worked on.
Hi Tinygirl. I am not a litigator, so I don't work on cases. I do work on transactions occasionally. I worked on a M&A transaction this year involving the sale of our firm to a multi national bank, that has received some publicity in the financial press, for example.
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EU Yakov
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(Original post by Hedge Fund GC)
I am the head of legal, we do not have a general counsel (sp) or a cosec. My team works on legal matters drawing on a range of areas including corporate M&A, regulatory, funds, derivatives, employment and property law. My role is to manage the legal department and to advise the business on legal and regulatory projects, client on-boarding and supporting new product development (for example, launching a new fund or strategy).
what's the difference between head of legal and general counsel?
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Hedge Fund GC
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(Original post by mnot)
Why did you move in house?
Do you prefer it?
Do you prefer to hire grads or associates with some experience in a firm first?
Great questions.
Being an in house lawyer is a different function entirely from being a private practice lawyer.
The aim is not to package advice and sell it, the aim is to de-risk a firm’s practices. To succeed in house you need people skills as well as technical skills; you need to be seen as a balanced thinker; when you deliver advice it should be commercial in tone and content and should respond to (if not advance) the needs of the business.
I moved in house as soon as I qualified because I wanted to be a part of the business and influence things from inside; I wasn't content being an adviser from the sidelines. I was lucky to find a role so early but it can be done. Given my own background I would definitely hire an NQ straight from pp.
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Hedge Fund GC
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(Original post by EU Yakov)
what's the difference between head of legal and general counsel?
For firms that have both functions - the GC is the senior of the two. For firms that don't, the two are essentially interchangeable.
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EU Yakov
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(Original post by Hedge Fund GC)
For firms that have both functions - the GC is the senior of the two. For firms that don't, the two are essentially interchangeable.
what are the biggest things you look at when considering candidates for an in-house role? also at what level of seniority do u usually recruit ppl at?
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mishieru07
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(Original post by Hedge Fund GC)
I am the head of legal with a hedge fund in London. Along the way I've worked in a US law firm, an investment bank and a fund of hedge funds.

I used to use this forum when I was at university and applying for training contracts, roughly during the run up to the financial crisis. I found it useful to listen to others' advice, but I realized that I never contributed anything in return. I'd like to fix that now.

So, ask me question, what would you like to know about building a legal career?

Any views expressed on this forum are my personal opinions only.

Omid
Thanks so much for doing this!

What advice would you give to a junior associate (corporate PQE1-2) who is moving from private practice to in house? Any specific dos/ don'ts to ensure a smooth transition and start off on a strong note?
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Hedge Fund GC
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(Original post by mishieru07)
Thanks so much for doing this!

What advice would you give to a junior associate (corporate PQE1-2) who is moving from private practice to in house? Any specific dos/ don'ts to ensure a smooth transition and start off on a strong note?
Hi Mishieru,
Depending on the kind of organisation you join, even at 1/2 pqe, given what they will be paying you in corporate, you may be a senior hire (for them). If so, act like a senior hire, even if it's new for you. Herb Cohen said, “Power is in the head and is a matter of perception. If you think you’ve got it, you’ve got it. If you don't think you’ve got it then, even if you've got it, you haven't got it.” . Your move in-house is a chance to start afresh (they won't remember your days as a trainee), the only thing that matters is the impression you create when you start. Introduce yourself to your colleagues in person, given them a sense of your character; these people are your clients now and may well be for years to come; these are relationships worth investing in.
Specific does: be a problem solver, not a problem creator. If you get 'oral' confirmation about something from a senior figure, if it's important always get it confirmed in an email as well. For the few first years expect to be challenged on things, make sure you have answers ready.
Specific dont's: I think this is specific to the culture of the place you are now and the place you are going to. If you're moving from a big law firm to an investment bank you will likely have less culture shock than going to say, a charity. Get familiar your company's culture early.
Hope that's helpful
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flatlined
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I knew who you were pretty much from your first line. We're connected on Linkedin. Not a student, lawyer in PP. World is so small.

This is an incredibly valuable thread - probably students won't realise quite how valuable it is because they're vieing for training contracts and thinking more short-term. I'd personally never go in-house (I have done a secondment and felt like support), but I think some questions I'd ask:

* What did you reckon about the firm in which you trained?
* When you moved in-house did you find you were relegated to a lot of grunt work especially at NQ?
* You've ascended the ranks pretty fast. Was it because your fund was growing aggressively? How did you keep getting promoted, and how did the top position open up?
* What are the comp expectations of in-house at a fund like yours from NQ - GC? Do you have skin in the game now?
For the benefit of students, comp expectations generally in-house are lower than PP - I know several GCs at various funds, and their base hugely varies. 120k base and about 180k all in for a well known real estate investment manager. Another is on around 350-400 all in as MD of a big listed asset manager.
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Hedge Fund GC
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(Original post by flatlined)
I knew who you were pretty much from your first line. We're connected on Linkedin. Not a student, lawyer in PP. World is so small.

This is an incredibly valuable thread - probably students won't realise quite how valuable it is because they're vieing for training contracts and thinking more short-term. I'd personally never go in-house (I have done a secondment and felt like support), but I think some questions I'd ask:

* What did you reckon about the firm in which you trained?
* When you moved in-house did you find you were relegated to a lot of grunt work especially at NQ?
* You've ascended the ranks pretty fast. Was it because your fund was growing aggressively? How did you keep getting promoted, and how did the top position open up?
* What are the comp expectations of in-house at a fund like yours from NQ - GC? Do you have skin in the game now?
For the benefit of students, comp expectations generally in-house are lower than PP - I know several GCs at various funds, and their base hugely varies. 120k base and about 180k all in for a well known real estate investment manager. Another is on around 350-400 all in as MD of a big listed asset manager.
Thanks Flatlined, if you drop me a message on LinkedIn I'd be happy to respond privately. The purpose of this post is more for general career advice. All reasonable q's, just not something I'd discuss on a public forum necessarily.
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flatlined
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Cheers, have done just now
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