OT: Help With Job Posting For Chicago Cubs Legal Counsel

Submitted by heckdchi on March 5th, 2012 at 11:11 PM

I am a lawyer in Florida and have been practicing for 4 years now.  I have been admitted to the bar for four and a half years.  Admission to the Illinois Bar by motion requires five years of practice or I have to take the Illinois Bar Exam.  There is an oppening in the Chicago Cubs legal department that closely fits my experience level.  As a native Midwesterner and lifelong Cubs fan this would appear to be a dream job situation.  I am wondering if anyone on the board can provide some advice/networking in regards to this opportunity.  The original job posting is listed below.  My main concern at this point is that the job posting requires "admission to practice in Illinois (or commitment to gain admission immediately following employment)".  For me that would require taking the Illinois Bar Exam or somehow being able to put off my bar admission until at least this November or next February.  Is my best and only realistic option here to commit to taking the Illinois Bar?  Thanks in advance for your help/advice.





March 5th, 2012 at 11:20 PM ^

Just let them know how interested you are in the job and find out what they think is the best route.  You may be able to miss taking the test since a job like that probably has plenty of wiggle room with respect to immediate bar admission (your name probably isn't going to be on the letterhead right away), but it sounds like you would be willing to take the test if it meant getting this kind of job.  As long as they know that you should be fine, all other things being equal.

Good luck.


March 5th, 2012 at 11:25 PM ^

Because it's a "local" company, they want you licensed in-state, but as in-house counsel, as long as you're licensed somewhere, they probably could wait 6 months. I'm in-house in Illinois but licensed in Michigan and North Carolina, though my employer is national.


March 6th, 2012 at 10:33 AM ^

I agree unless the organization requires that the lawyer filling that position actually practice/appear in Illinois.  I'm in-house as well and have not seen an in-house position specify that the lawyer be admitted to a particular state - only admitted and in good standing generally.  I suspect that there is a reason for admission in Illinois . . .



March 5th, 2012 at 11:25 PM ^

No offense to the guys suggesting that you tell them how interested you are in the job, it will be your dream job, etc., but I imagine there are at least 1,000 lawyers out there that are thinking the same thing right now.  I imagine you'll have to be a darn fine candidate if you want to be considered, let alone hired, without having the necessary requisites.


March 6th, 2012 at 8:58 AM ^

It's strange that you say there are at least 1,000 lawyers out there who want the job. I'm fairly certain that we need more lawyers right now. Demand for attorneys is far outpacing supply. I would suggest that more MGoReaders go to law school to take advantage of this market imbalance.


March 5th, 2012 at 11:26 PM ^

Know anyone in the orginization?  I might be able to help..  

The Cubs are part of the orginization I work for here in Chicago so I have some friends that work for the Cubs that might be able to lend a hand..  Let me know if your interested..




March 5th, 2012 at 11:28 PM ^

Thank you everyone for your thoughts so far.  I fully intend to apply to this position.  I guess right now I'm just trying to get a read on what my chances are of being able to gain admission to the Illinois Bar by motion versus having to take the Bar Exam again (because that's totally the sort of thing you want to do more than once in your life if given the chance!!)


March 5th, 2012 at 11:34 PM ^

Chicago is one of the most competitive markets for the legal field. Also, given that this is probably a dream job for many people, getting it will not be easy. Having said that, it is worth a shot.

1. I would think longggggggggggg and hard about WHO you know and any connections you may have that could possibly get them to look at you. Now is the time to call in favors. Do you know anyone involved in MLB? Sports agents, scouts, players, anyone at all that can help. You would be surprised how much knowing even low-level people can help you.

2. Call them up and ask questions. Be polite, but be a bit of a shit. This may sound counterproductive, but it shows persistence and it will make them remember your name.

3. Try not to play the whole "I love the Cubs OMGG" card too much. Make it known, but thats it. Everyone is going to be using that angle and I can assure you that this will do nothing to separate you from the pack. They want the best man or woman for the job, not the biggest fan.

4. What can you offer that the others can't? Did you go to a top school or have any experience with the business side of sports? Why should they pick YOU?

That is my 0.2, hopefully it helps a bit. I wish you the best of luck and remember that fortune favors the bold.

Michael Scarn

March 6th, 2012 at 12:28 AM ^

To echo some of these sentiments, as someone who had a legal internship in a sports organization, I'd advise the following things:

1. Being a Cubs fan, as JimLahey mentioned, will be the price of admission, not a separating factor.   The truth is that a position like this will actually require you to distance yourself from your fandom quite frequently.  You'll be in contract negotiations, have to fire people, etc.  Some people who work for organizations eventually end up somewhat apathetic about their team because they see the ugly side of it so frequently.  

2.  Have an open mind about what the position entails, and don't assume you know what they do. Have a great list of questions. General Counsels can be touchy about people thinking (often incorrectly) that they know what the job requires.  

3.  Remember that at the end of the day, sports organizations are businesses.  While there are definitely some unique aspects, they're concerned about the bottom line like everyone else.  I recognize this is vague and not really advice, but it's a vital thing to remember.  

4.  Susbscribe to and read periodicals like Sports Litigation Alert.  Knowledge of current industry issues won't separate you, but the lack of it will.  

I don't know if that helps, but if you want to get in touch with me and ask any other questions, let me know.  My experience is limited to a summer as an intern, but I worked directly under the General Counsel for a team.  


March 5th, 2012 at 11:56 PM ^

but i live in chicago and know that the pass rate for the illinois bar is > 90%.  instead of avoiding the bar, i would flip it and say you would be happy to take it to prove your interest.  if i were the cubs (or any employer), i would be concerned in your reluctance to take it.

fyi - i am a cpa, so i know the importance of passing professional exams.


March 6th, 2012 at 7:57 AM ^

My only reluctance in taking another bar exam is that we have two young kids and that would make it quite a challenge.  When I took the Florida Bar I was unemployed and we didn't have kids yet so I could study all day everyday.  


March 6th, 2012 at 2:08 AM ^

If you really want the job, then it might not hurt to register for the July bar exam right now and point that out in your app. I would think that satisfies the "commitment to gain admission immediately following employment" requirement.


March 6th, 2012 at 7:50 AM ^

I am not familiar with IL rules but most states permit qualified members of other bars to work in house and even where the rule is uncelar most employers will allow an attorney time to take the local bar. 


EDIT: SEE http://www.acc.com/advocacy/keyissues/mjp/IL.cfm

As for taking risk for your deam job, do whatever it takes. Make constant phone calls, show up unannounced, reach out to hiring managers via Linkedin---it is all about getting noticed and getting your resume to the top of the heap.  Don't however call it your "deam job" out loud because you want them to think THEY NEED YOU and not vice versa. 

Good luck hope ou get a shot.


March 6th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

As others have mentioned, apply and see where it goes before worrying about bar admission.  Depending on the hiring protocol, they might not even offer the position until well into the summer (with baseball season starting soon, their office might have other issues).  I am a bar member of both MI and NY (for varying years), and I can say that firms and businesses will be flexible if you are close/have the skillset they want.