A Law Firm Associate’s Next Career Stop? A Startup’s Law Department


Drew Morris ’15, general counsel at WorkJam, was interviewed by Corporate Counsel and shared his experience going from an associate at a law firm to in-house counsel at a startup.

Startup companies often avoid hiring in-house lawyers in their early years, but the advantages of hiring a third- to fifth-year law firm associate when a company has just a few dozen employees can outweigh any costs, says Drew Morris.
Morris spent five years as an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati before becoming general counsel in July 2020 of WorkJam, a software company that enables employers to communicate with their “non-desk” workforce. He said he wanted a new challenge and found his law firm experience was helpful to the startup world.
Corporate Counsel: At what point did you realize you were ready to take on an in-house role at a startup company?
Morris: I think between years three and five, you get to a point in your career at a law firm where you can be a little more confident in your abilities as a lawyer and your abilities to manage legal processes.
Once you have that mix of being confident in your abilities to handle the legal work and also manage projects, deals and legal processes, I don’t see any reason why that person can’t be inserted into a startup company.
CC: Why is it that startup companies should hire in-house counsel earlier on in their life cycle?
DM: I think early-stage companies hold off on hiring lawyers because they have the mindset that they are of sufficient size or have enough employees or enough complexity that they need to bring in a more senior lawyer.

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