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June 2013 Archives

June 12, 2013


LIT's programming will continue this fall and continue into next year. Mark your calendars and keep and eye on LIT's website for registration information for these and other programs!

Mock Interviewing Demonstration Friday, September 20, 2013 - Location - Syracuse University School of Law MacNaughton Hall Syracuse, NY 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

Building Your Personal Brand
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Time and NYC Location TBD

Marketing Yourself to Small Firms
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Time and Albany Location TBD

Mastering Phone, Behavioral and Nonconventional Interviews
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
- Location -
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
New York, NY
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
(Eastern Time)

NYSBA Annual Meeting: Career Conference and Networking Reception
Monday, January 27, 2014
- Location -
Hilton New York
New York, NY
1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
(Eastern Time)

If you have any suggestions for future panels, breakfasts or panelists, please contact: Jessica Thaler, Chair.

June 1, 2013

Panel Summary: Life as in In-House Attorney Prepared by Dina Staple

Have you ever thought about going in-house? On April 18, 2013, the NYSBA Committee on Lawyers in Transition's presented a panel program, Life as an In-House Lawyer, moderated by Robyn Frank, General Counsel at Great Eastern Energy. The panel consisted of current and former in-house lawyers who shared their personal journeys to in-house positions, offered insights on finding and serving in such positions and provided career tips. This powerful program packs a punch and should help you decide if that is the direction you want to go.

Evan D. Lerner, Esq., Founder of Lerner, Cumbo & Associates (a Manhattan staffing company) started his legal career doing corporate work at large firms and was offered his first in-house position by the firm's client, Nathan's, after he helped privatize the company. Evan's tip: "Get in front of a potential employer and make yourself indispensable." As an in-house lawyer, he became a generalist and enjoyed the continuity of servicing the same people. Evan later entered the staffing industry. "There is a misconception that in-house jobs are more stable than law firm jobs, particularly in the New York market."

Susan Vercheak, Associate General Counsel in Con Ed's Law Department, agreed. She started her career at the New Jersey AG's Office where she was assigned certain clients and had the opportunity to learn a subject area well. Years later, she joined Con Ed where she specializes in utility law and regulatory affairs. Con Ed's legal department has more than 100 lawyers who work in other units specializing in a variety of areas from labor to environmental law. Working for Con Ed is exciting and affords enormous learning opportunities. She enjoys working with engineers who want to solve problems and offer intelligible explanations. The challenge can be figuring out who to contact when issues arise due to Con Ed's large size.

Melissa Chernofsky is Associate General Counsel for Israel Discount Bank of New York. She worked as a litigation associate for several law firms and also clerked for a judge before seeking to transition in 2010. Evan Lerner provided her with her first temp job, which gave her experience that helps in her current role at the bank. Melissa emphasized embracing "the twists and turns" of one's career path. At the bank, there is a small group of attorneys, she is a generalist with some specialization and likes working for one company where daily occurrences provide for constant learning. Since in-house is a cost center, there is a big difference in how the work is done and seen.

Christos Badavas, Esq., Deputy General Counsel at The Harry Fox Agency, Inc., started his career as a commercial litigator handling copyright and trademark cases at a mid-sized law firm where he worked for 6 years. He left the firm to help a friend start a software company that closed two years later. While contemplating career options, he continued to play soccer and music (which he studied as an undergraduate). Christos' tip: "Never give up the things you love to do even if it's not your job." A member of his soccer team and college friend introduced him to a record label attorney who forwarded his resume to EMI Music North America, which hired him to work in its corporate legal group at significant cut to his prior law firm salary. The step back in salary was a worthwhile career investment. Several years later, people he knew told him about an opening at Harry Fox, an operating subsidiary of the National Music Publishers' Association (the US music publishing trade association) where he has worked for the past 9 years. He deals with copyright issues, gets paid for his judgment and is relied on for his business knowledge.

Charles J. Siegel is the Managing Trial Attorney at CNA Insurance. He started his career as a court officer. After he obtained his law degree, he landed a job at the Bronx District Attorney's Office through his contacts in the courts. As an ADA, he honed his litigation skills and then moved to CNA where he has worked for 27 years. The pros: no overhead, dealing with steady paychecks and regular hours. The cons: dealing with a bureaucracy and policies set by someone who has the insurance company's interest and not necessarily your law office's interests at heart. CNA has 31 staff counsel offices across the country (which serve as a national law firm) and also affords lawyers different career options, e.g., in claims and regulatory affairs.

The panelists fielded a wide array of questions (summarized below by topic).

Finding an In-House Position
Do all you can to find a job. Gear your resume and cover letter for the online job posting. CNA looks for experienced attorneys who can handle matters without requiring training and offers incentives to employees who bring in candidates. (Charles)

Use your network to get information, which may eventually lead to a job. People will help if they like you. (Melissa)

When networking, ask for an introduction, not a job. A way to get into a company is by taking a temp position that is substantive. Corporations do not like to deal with multiple recruiters. If a recruiter indicates that a company wants a specific skill set, use another means of entry, although it is easier to sell a candidate when the recruiter has a relationship with the client. (Evan)

Develop relationships with a small number of recruiters. They are human. I presented candidates with whom I had relationships even if their background was not an exact match. (Robyn)

Hiring is based on the interview and resume. (Charles)

Targeting Company by Size and Type (Public vs. Private Sector)
Be open to opportunities. (Melissa)

Private companies are more entrepreneurial. Public companies are easily researchable. (Evan)

Your Resume Does Not Hit All Points of a Job Description
When a candidate is ignored for not meeting all job description criterion, it is more of a reflection of the hiring manager's personality. Apply through the company website and ask a contact inside the company to hand in your resume. Ignore weaknesses and address at the interview, if necessary. Do not lie or embellish as doing so undermines credibility. (Charles)

Keep in mind that the job description is a wish list. Matching 70% of the job description is sufficient. When you interview, you can express the willingness to learn. Lying on a resume can result in termination. (Melissa)

Duplicate the verbiage in a job ad to avoid being overlooked when submitting a resume to HR or electronically. (Evan)

New Attorneys Applying for Jobs that Don't Match Background
No one expects a 25 year old to know what he/she wants to do. Have a good, persuasive answer for your newfound interest in order to get the job. People move in the wrong direction. That's life. (Christos)

Transitioning In-House as a Junior Attorney
Depends on size of bank and area. Companies do not have resources to train. (Melissa)

Focus on start-up companies, which generally cannot afford senior attorneys. Look at long-term growth prospects, including stock options. (Christos)

In-house counsel runs with a project while law firm associates work on projects with others. (Evan)

Applying for Lower Level Positions
The job application should emphasize the reasons the candidate is the best person for the position. Employers recognize that the market took a hit. There is a difference between undervaluing your worth and taking a pay cut. Underselling one's self sends the message that the candidate is better on paper. (Charles)

Hiring managers want to make sure that the candidate is committed and will be happy. Think about what you want and whether the position for which applying is the right fit. (Melissa)

Some employers may not be receptive due to concerns of voluntary departure once the market improves. However, address issues openly and directly early on in the process. (Evan)

The hiring focus: whether the candidate's skill set and training meets the employer's needs, is committed for the long haul (due to the willingness to teach the business end) and is interested in entertainment and music. (Christos)

A Specialist's Approach to Job Ads Seeking Broad Experience
Look for positions that can broaden experience. For example, a tax specialist may consider applying for a job in professional liability claims. (Charles)

Large law departments, like the one at Con Ed, need specialists. (Susan)

Use your expertise as leverage. Tax is hard but may be valuable for accountant liability. Maintain several resumes and target your application based on the ad. (Evan)

Think about areas that overlap with your specialty, such as tax, and learn as you go. "We all need to shift and maneuver." Remember the resume is a piece of marketing, not an affidavit. Tweak your resume to fit the job description and use it as a means to spin and market yourself. (Robyn)

Reliance on Interests When Lacking Work Experience
Highlighting interests on your resume is useful but must be legitimized at the interview. (Christos)

Demonstrate an interest in the job and company. (Melissa)

Getting Personal at the Interview
It is important for candidate to show personality and the ability to relate to others. I once hired a woman who did not let me get a word in edgewise. I found her style beneficial for success in the courtroom and hired her. (Charles)

Be yourself. People like to work with people they like. (Evan)

People want others to fit into the work culture. Know the right fit for yourself so you can be happy at work. (Melissa)

Trust your instincts. Take cues from the interviewer and adjust accordingly. (Robyn)

Determining Salary Range for In-House Jobs
There is no one answer. A salary decrease is often associated with the transition in-house from a large firm. Don't be afraid, and look at the ability to make money long-term. Some industries don't pay well, and salaries can vary for the same job across industries. Identify what you need to pay your bills and use that as your base. Taking a job that does not support your lifestyle will create stress and unhappiness. (Evan)

Presenting Salary History When the Job's Salary is Not Publicized
Salary is budgeted. Salary history is verified. Be honest. Pursue jobs associated with a salary that works for you and negotiate. (Melissa)

Some companies attempt to pay minimal salaries. Know your base salary and negotiate. (Evan)

In-House Role Expectations/Final Thoughts
I worked for only two employers and love the work and people. (Susan)

Consider clerking if you are a litigator in transition. It is important to find the right place to work. (Melissa)

Networking is key, which is afforded through active participation in the NYSBA. (Charles)

Assess what you like, what you want to do and what you don't like. Talk to people. (Christos)

Take paths that will lead to your ultimate job. Government jobs are a good way to go in-house. Do not discount instincts, and go with what is right for you. (Evan)


To view the webcast, vist the Lawyers in Transition Committee Webpage and look for the Webcast archive.

Alternative Career Opportunity in Mental Health

THE MANHATTAN INSTITUTE FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS INVITES YOU TO AN OPEN HOUSE AND BRUNCH Are you a lawyer looking for an alternative or additional career? Have you considered a career in mental health? Come to our open house and learn about our Licensure Qualifying Program in Psychoanalysis * The Licensure Qualifying Program provides all clinical and academic prerequisites for the New York State licensing exam and is open to all postgraduate level applicants. *No clinical experience or mental health background is required. * MIP offers a broad based curriculum with an interpersonal orientation. Coursework includes both classical and contemporary psychoanalytic theory. * Programs are affordable and accommodate a work schedule. All classes are held on Thursday nights. * LQP candidates see patients in our clinic under supervision. These clinical hours count toward the New York State LP license. Please come to our open house and learn more about us in an informal gathering. Current candidates, recent graduates, and faculty members will all be available to answer your questions. If you have met with or contacted us previously, we thank you for your interest and welcome you to this event. DATE: Saturday, June 15 TIME: 11am - 1pm PLACE: The home of Jim Traub, LCSW, 340 Riverside Drive, Apartment 15C

For more information please visit our website at manhattanpsychoanalysis.com or send inquiries to minstitute@aol.com or call our office at 212-422-1221.

Job Opportunities

Immediate Opportunities with Bliss Lawyers around the Country

Bliss Lawyers is conducting numerous searches for well-credentialed attorneys around the country. To be considered for one of the following positions, please email your resume with the appropriate "Job Title" in the subject line to: jepstein@blisslawyers.com. If you are not suited for these positions but you know others who might be, please forward this e-mail as you see fit. If you are not already on our free e-mailing list, you can join and send your resume by clicking here for future opportunities.

Securities Attorney, Long Island

Seeking a securities attorney to work in-house for a company in its Long Island offices. Candidates for the full-time, permanent position should have at least five years of securities regulatory experience. The person hired as Senior Counsel will report to the company's Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary and will assist the Corporate Secretary in achieving and maintaining corporate governance and securities law compliance, including: supporting the Board of Directors and executive management in discharging their fiduciary duties and other legal and regulatory responsibilities; and ensuring compliance with applicable securities law disclosure compliance requirements.

Real Estate Attorney, Des Moines

Seeking an in-house real estate attorney for a Des Moines-area company. The temporary position is full-time for six to twelve months with the possibility of conversion to a permanent position. Candidates should have four or more years of experience reviewing leases, easements, variances, non-disturbance agreements and other real estate documents and providing general real estate advice.

Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Attorney, Greater NYC

Seeking Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities attorney to work in-house at a financial services firm located in the Greater New York City Area on a permanent, full-time basis. The ideal candidate will have at least five years experience and be able to jump in and work with the team without significant training. Experience with Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities and Asset Backed Securities is a plus, but not required.

Asset Backed Securities Attorney, Greater NYC

Seeking an attorney with an asset backed securitization background to work in-house at a financial services firm located in the Greater New York City Area. The ideal candidate will have at least five years experience and be able to jump in and work with the team without significant training. Experience with CMBS and Residential Mortgage-Backed Securitiesis a plus, but not required. The position is full-time and will last at least three months with the possibility of being extended on a more long-term basis.

Junior Level Compliance Officer, NYC

Seeking a junior level compliance officer to work for a financial services company in New York City and report to a division's Chief Compliance Officer. The position is full-time and will likely last six months to a year. The ideal candidate will have one to four years of compliance-related experience.

ISDA Negotiator/Lawyer, Greater NYC Area

Seeking an ISDA negotiator/lawyer to work in-house at a financial services firm located in the Greater New York City Area. The position is full-time and will likely last six months or longer. The ideal candidate will have current, relevant ISDA experience.

Patent & Intellectual Property Attorney, Greater NYC Area

Seeking a senior level Patent and Intellectual Property Attorney to work in-house in the Greater New York City area. The position is full-time working with a dynamic global company. The ideal candidate will have several years of in-house experience managing a patent portfolio. The candidate will be a sophisticated patent and intellectual property attorney with meaningful expertise in these practice areas, preferably with experience working in-house for a global company.

Junior M&A Lawyer, NYC

Seeking a junior lawyer with M&A experience to work in-house in New York City. The position is full-time and will likely last three to six months or longer. The ideal candidate will have one to three years of M&A experience.

Thank you for your consideration. Follow us @blisslawyers.

June 11, 2013

Ambition: Women Powering Up By Thomas L. Sager and Deborah Epstein Henry

Webster's Dictionary defines ambition as "an ardent desire for rank, fame and power."

That is not what senior executives and managing partners should be looking for in identifying future successors. Those who embrace this definition and use it as the lens through which to evaluate potential leaders are limiting, to an employer's disadvantage, its talent pool and leadership pipeline. however, if ambition is defined as "an ardent desire to lead and influence the actions of others," the pipeline opens, especially for women.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

June 25, 2013

Why Work Life Still Matters and The 2012 50 Best Law Firms for Women (Features) By Deborah Epstein Henry

In my work with law firms and companies, I see women focusing more and more on seeking gender-equal compensation and opportunities for promotion, leadership and business development. the thinking goes that until women represent a critical mass in the leadership and rainmaker ranks--about 30 percent of a firm or company's ownership and management positions--they will not have enough influence to change the way business gets done.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

June 14, 2013

A Closer Look At The Reasons To Go In-House

More and more lawyers are looking to transition from the law firm environment to the in-house world. The desire to "go in-house" seems to have a consistent theme - lawyers feel that they have no control over their schedules at a law firm. It is not just that they have to work long hours, but that the hours are often unpredictable. In fact, many lawyers report that often times they are searching for work to do to keep their billables high, but yet, they are still sitting at the office for long hours. The need to keep "face time" and to be there when a client emergency arises is one of the factors that makes these lawyers stay at their desks, and that lack of control over their schedules is motivating lawyers to want to go in-house.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

June 21, 2013

What To Do If You Think Your Job Is In Peril

So, you're one of those attorneys who has had little-to-no work for the last few months. You've still got your job for the moment (congratulations), but you're wondering what you can do to help protect yourself. The answer? Lots.

To read the rest of this article, please click


About June 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Lawyers in Transition in June 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2013 is the previous archive.

July 2013 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.