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The career-path quagmire – an intractable management burden?

There’s almost no way to win for general counsel when it comes to assuring the members of their department satisfying career paths at the pace they desire. If a company is growing rapidly, promotions and additional responsibilities and changes in roles are prevalent, but that is a rare situation.

For most law departments, promotions are infrequent, coming mostly when a more senior lawyer retires or leaves the department. Compensation rises, within modest corporate limits, but better titles or valued increases in reports or responsibility come about infrequently (See my post of March 28, 2006 about reasons not to go in-house; Dec. 28, 2006 about few promotions but some choices; and March 6, 2006 on dual-track paths.).

Ambitious and capable lawyers in a stable department may have little choice but to leave if they want to rise as fast as they seek. General counsel who lose them must take some consolation that their protégée have done well (See my post of May 20, 2005 on the mixed feelings from having a star lawyer in-house.). Otherwise, the unsolvable issue is the status quotidian.

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