As a paralegal, the decision to go from a law firm to a corporate setting is one that should not be taken lightly.
Up until a year ago I had been a paralegal in various law firms. They were all different but in a way my work was always the same. I was expected to know how to handle the files from the beginning of the case to the end and know when the attorney needed to handle certain things. In July of 2007, I decided to try my luck at a corporate setting. Not that I was unhappy where I was but it was time to try something different. My experience has been exactly what I expected. It is very different from being a law firm.
When you work in the legal department of a corporation your client is no longer the person that comes in from the outside. Your clients are the people within the corporation. The legal department becomes a “guard” to the various departments of the corporation.
As the guard, our responsibility to the client is to advise when it is ok to start a new endeavor, develop a new business, develop the business in a new country. We are there to make sure that whatever the various business units or various departments are attempting to accomplish is not going to get the corporation “in trouble.” The work is very varied but not always of a legal nature. I spend most of my days looking through lots of regulations regarding various issues. So that the attorneys I work with can better counsel the “client.”
I no longer have the luxury of being an expert in one field. When I worked in law firms I was the expert in personal injury, insurance defense, pharmaceutical regulations regarding distribution of gifts to physicians and sampling to healthcare practitioners. All of these I learned at different times of my life. When I did personal injury (defense or plaintiff) I was expected to do just that.
Today my responsibilities vary. Today I’m more of a business consultant, better yet, I assist the business consultant. My job is to know enough about each business unit or department and what they do. Then figure out what regulations they are covered by and try to work with to keep the “in line.”
Although, it took me a while to get used to corporate culture I am now enjoying it more. It has been a year and a few months and I can say that I feel like I am “home.”
I hope this has helped you make the decision you need to make. If not, please feel free to email me and I will certainly try to give you as much help as I can. Although, ultimately, it is you decision to make. I know money is important. However, do not let that be the deciding factor. It is true what “they” say.
“DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND MONEY WILL COME”
Thank you for your support.