Q: I am an associate general counsel in a publicly traded company. I was originally trained as a law firm litigator and then moved in-house. I transitioned from litigation management to doing commercial work. In my new company, I now do a full range of work, which encompasses multiple practice disciplines. I am considering enrolling in a part-time Master of Business Administration program, as I think this may improve my knowledge of business, which should also improve my business judgment and hopefully make me a better lawyer for my company. Apart from those benefits, I would appreciate your opinion as to whether getting an MBA would also increase my chances of becoming a general counsel some day.

A: In assessing your specific situation, it is important to know how likely it is that you could eventually succeed the incumbent general counsel. Are there other in-house attorneys who are higher on the org chart and thus are more likely successors? Additionally, has someone on the senior management team intimated that obtaining such a degree would make you a better lawyer for the company? Does the current general counsel have an MBA?

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