The rarity of lawyers who transfer out of the law department to a business role

Career paths for in-house attorneys occasionally wend out of the practice of law. It’s a tough transition, however, and controversial. The large number of references on this blog to émigrés from the legal team are perhaps the notable exceptions that prove the rule (See my post of April 18, 2005: high failure rate at Manulife of departing lawyers; Aug. 3, 2005: career of Rosemary Berkery of Merrill Lynch; Nov. 6, 2005; Telstra example; Nov. 6, 2005: David Krasnostein of the Bank of Australia ran its strategy group for a while; Dec. 15, 2005: MetLife’s general counsel left the law department for some years; and Aug. 14, 2006: new deputy general counsel had most recently been the chief auditor.).

After my spurt of posts early on, the stragglers thereafter have come at long intervals (See my post of Aug. 4, 2007: general counsel, Jeffrey Kriendler, ran Boston Markets; Feb. 16, 2007: grooming a general counsel with business experience at TransCanada; Oct. 22, 2008: Weyerhauser lawyer left department for six years; and April 6, 2011: who instigates transfers.). With headcount and hiring restrictions shackling general counsel, perhaps the incidence of moves to the business side has declined.

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