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Pfizer lawyer prepares to take up new role as in-house counsel at Fannie Mae

Posted by: Laurence Simons 20/09/12

Today is your leaving party. (You have to play an imagination game, here. Even if you are not leaving your current legal job: play along.) Hurray! Balloons are on the ceiling. Hats are on the heads of the staff that surround you. This is a pantomime celebration of your success. Nobody at your leaving party legitimately wishes you well. They hate that you have left, that you have escaped. They will eat your cake and sign your card and get mildly tipsy on room temperature sparkling wine, and they will hate you. They will hate you. Anyway: congratulations!

And celebrating his leaving party at the end of this month will be Pfizer Inc lawyer Bradley Lerman, who is switching in-house counsel positions from that of his current role as one of Pfizer's best lawyers to that of the newly vacated general counsel job at mortgage giant Fannie Mae, starting on October 1st. Hurray! Congratulations!

The Fannie Mae position that Lerman is inheriting is a pretty sweet one, mainly due to the fact that the former GC Timothy Mayopoulos only vacated the role in June, taking a trip upstairs to the room marked 'Fannie Mae president and chief executive officer'. Lerman will be easing himself into Mayopoulos' still-warm leather chair while simultaneously taking the next step on a pretty premium legal career ladder. Let's look at what other rungs he's hopped up on to get here.

As the Legal Times reports, Lerman was Pfizer's associate general counsel and chief litigation counsel for almost four years, joining in late 2008 after making partner at Winston & Strawn. Before that he was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, and his private practice career began after a stint as a federal prosecutor in the northern district of Illinois from 1986 to 1994. You want legal experience, he's got it.

"Brad has extraordinary experience and he will be a great addition to our team," said Mayopoulos. "Brad has integrity, excellent leadership skills and a proven track record in achieving positive outcomes for corporations across a broad spectrum of legal specialties."

As Lerman's move illustrates, making that leap from one in-house counsel job to another means you're going to have to garner one heck of a reputation before you go. Lerman's career, pinballing from federal prosecutor to private practice to in-house, shows the breadth of experience that can be gained from working in different legal fields, and also how many leaving parties you have to endure to truly make it to the top. If you're thinking the time is right for a move, talk to our recruiters.