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As a lawyer progresses in his in-house career, chances are he will reach a crossroads and decide it is time to make a change. Sometimes that change is as traditional as switching to a peer company or advancing up the corporate ladder, but other times, they are looking to make a bigger splash and change industries entirely—which becomes a bit more complex.

As a general rule, the longer you work in one industry, the more difficult it is to switch. Most of the time, when companies are hiring—and particularly when they are hiring through an executive search firm like Major, Lindsey & Africa—they are looking for a very specific background and exact experience, which translates into an ability to get up to speed quickly. Companies have high expectations. They know what they want, including someone who knows the particulars of an industry, the other players and the challenges that industry may face. They are also aware that a candidate who has worked in the industry will likely know outside counsel who work best with their industry needs, have contacts in the industry who can be leveraged and belong to groups of similarly experienced peers (and if they are hiring a search firm, they are expecting their exact criteria to be met).

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