Earlier this year, Judge J. Michael Luttig of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stunned the legal world by surrendering his lifetime appointment to the bench in favor of the top legal job at Boeing Co. In his letter of resignation, Luttig called the job a “singular opportunity,” one that he could not pass up. Luttig’s move did not come as a surprise, however, to the in-house bar, which has noted that the career door that used to swing between government and law firms now revolves with a corporate stop as well for many top lawyers.
The demand for top legal talent in in-house departments has been growing as increased regulation and an increasing emphasis on corporate accountability have put greater emphasis on the attorney’s role in helping to foster an ethical corporate culture.