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Husch Blackwell to Train Lawyers for Possible Jobs With Clients

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Husch Blackwell is encouraging associates to consider in-house roles with clients rather than only assume an uncertain path to partner.

The firm in June is starting a four-month training program called HB In-House. The goal is to give attorneys an inside view of clients and tools they need to transition to jobs in companies.

“We’ve got people who want to explore other options,” said Joe Glynias, Husch Blackwell’s chair. “We’ve got clients who really would like to be connected with people who are looking for a path into the in-house world.”

Law firms have long seen the benefits of staying connected with lawyers who don’t pan out as long-term partners. Kirkland & Ellis uses a network of more than 6,000 former employees it calls alumni to boost client connections and win business.

Husch Blackwell’s approach is unique because the firm is creating an internal training operation specifically designed to ease employee paths to their clients. Those paths are well worn at the firm, which ranks among the top in the US for sending attorneys to general counsel or chief legal officer roles, according to law firm intelligence company Firm Prospects.

The training will accelerate the pace of bringing firm lawyers onto company staffs, said Megan Belcher, a former Husch Blackwell partner who works for Omaha, Nebraska-based grains trader Scoular Co.

“If you acquired talent from this program, it would enable you as an in-house lawyer to move with such greater speed in getting that lawyer on-board,” said Belcher, Scoular’s chief legal and external affairs officer.

Program participants will learn the “very material nuances” between the practice of law at a firm and in-house, said Belcher, who will serve as a program faculty member.

HB In-House was several years in the making. Glynias and others at the firm worked with clients to develop and design the curriculum.

It will start with about 25 lawyers, according to the St. Louis-founded firm. After four months of training, lawyers can opt for a temporary assignment at a client’s operation, Glynias said.

He said he hopes to create a repository where clients can list jobs and pair participants with the openings. Clients have voiced interest in sending their new hires through the program, Glynias said.

One day, HB In-House may become a requirement for firm lawyers, he said.

“My hope is that our participants recognize this as part of our overall commitment to providing them with the exposure to and the skills to consider any position they might want, and then feel very confident when they’re making a decision either to pursue an in-house job or not.”

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