I believe that an effective in-house counsel is, at base, a great teacher. Let’s face it: If you can get sales professionals (who tend to have the attention span of ferrets on a double espresso) to understand the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, you must be an outstanding teacher. If you have ever desired to ply these rare skills to teaching a law school class, then I have a suggested class for which you already have unique subject matter expertise: in-house practice.
I have taught a class on the unique aspects of being an in-house counsel for seven years at SUNY Buffalo Law School, my alma mater. I had often thought that a law school class examining in-house practice might be interesting to law students, particularly as the job has dramatically changed in recent years. So when the dean of my law school was on his annual West Coast “alumni relations” tour and asked if there was anything he could do for me, I proposed the idea of teaching a class. The anxiety of creating a class from scratch and teaching it to really bright law students (the school must have raised the admissions standards after I graduated) set in.