When should lawyers move in house?

| General



What are 'In house' Lawyers? 

In-house lawyers are more than just solicitors. From providing legal advice to getting involved with decision making, they play a vital role in the operation and success of companies.

Your only client for the duration of your placement is your employer for all legal matters, meaning you need to be able to deal with legal issues that cover many aspects of law. For this reason, in-house lawyers are seen as generalists in the legal industry, even though it is possible to specialise in-house.


Reasons why Lawyers should move in house

In recent years the contribution made by in-house lawyers to the success of companies has become more highly valued. As a result, with commercial acumen and a good legal mind, in-house lawyers often move swiftly through the ranks of corporate management into senior boardroom jobs.

Whatever the variation, many in-house lawyers seem to prefer the hands-on commercial activity of working in industry and for one 'client', to the quite different pressures of private practice.

The very long hours often demanded of solicitors in commercial private practice is often enough to provoke interest in an alternative career, even if that means giving up the dream of financial bounty associated with partnership at the top firms. 

Ideal time for lawyers to move In house

Lawyers at the 4-7 PQE level are often the best level to move in-house and the lawyers that are in highest demand. Lawyers at this level have gained solid training and spent a few years in practice.

 Often, they do not have the aspiration to become a Partner and feel it would be the right time to make a change and move in-house where they can work side by side with the business to achieve commercial aims, and put their legal knowledge into practical use. 

Senior candidates often wish to move in-house to be a step closer to decision-making and be more actively involved in the business side. However, there are generally fewer senior roles available in the market, and often the senior lawyers find it quite difficult to accept a bigger cut in terms of the salary, hence moving in-house at a senior end becomes more challenging.

Personal preference is important!

The ideal time to move in-house really depends on your personal preference and when you are ready. Once you move in-house there is often limited guidance and it is up to you to pick things up and learn while doing the job. 

In-house legal teams are relatively lean and there will be limited support. In reality, in-house clients are often looking for someone commercial-minded, adaptable, pragmatic and with a strong sense of commercial judgement. 

When you move in-house, you are expected to roll up your sleeves and get everything done yourself. This is also one of the reasons why some clients strongly prefer candidates with experience gained from both private practice and an in-house setting.


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