My career has followed a pretty traditional path. I graduated from college. I got an internship working for a magazine I enjoyed reading. I eventually became a paid contractor for that magazine. I then landed an entry-level editorial job with another publication, then a mid-level one. And over the years, I worked my way up to lead the editorial function of InsideCounsel, where I started as an associate editor years before.
For journalists, the average career path is pretty standard, and typical of the one I described. For lawyers—particularly senior-level in-house counsel—I hear similar career path stories over and over. You graduate law school, you land a job in private practice, you sometimes work in the government sector or move around from one firm to the next before eventually landing that coveted in-house position and start working your way up from there, position by position.