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Career Story: Senior Legal Counsel To An Information Technology Company

Senior Legal Counsel To An Information Technology Company

Job Title: Senior Counsel

Type of Company: My company is in the information technology business.

Education: BA, Public Policy, Stanford University •• JD, Southern Methodist University School of Law

Previous Experience: I have 23+ years of experience practicing law, including litigation, intellectual property and commercial contracts.

Job Tasks: Very simply put, I am the legal service provider to a sizeable business team. My job is to help the business figure out how to achieve its goals in legal ways that minimize risk. To do this, I have to have a thorough understanding of all parts of the business - engineering, product management, marketing, sales, professional services and customer service. When I help the company license software that will be used in one of its products, for example, I'm responsible for making sure that we get the right amount of training so our engineers will be able to use it, the professional services teams can properly install it, and customer service can accurately answer customers' questions. And I need to make sure that the business does not accept unreasonable risks in the process.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that I learn something new every day. I might learn about a new technology that our engineers have been working on, or discover a new area of the law on which I need to provide legal advice, or new business models that product management or marketing managers have developed to generate additional revenue.

My least favorite parts of the job are the simple, repetitive agreements. They no longer hold any challenge and are frankly boring. For better or worse, however, they still need to be done correctly, so I have to be patient and do them.

Job Tips:
1. Take a job working in a law office so that you can see what lawyers do. It is an office job in which you will think very hard all day. If that does not appeal to you, then this is not the job for you. If you like mental gymnastics and outsmarting your opponents, however, give it a look.

2. Be prepared to work really hard. I thought I studied hard in college. That was nothing. The volume of reading and writing in law school is crushing.

3. A cousin of the second piece of advice: don't get married or have a really serious relationship until after you finish law school. The law is a jealous mistress.

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