Working in-house is becoming an increasingly attractive option to many lawyers as salary packages close the gap with private practice. Robert Walters weighs up the benefits of moving to an in house legal job.
Shorter working hours
A common benefit of in-house roles is that you can normally expect to work more regular hours than is typical for most lawyers in private practice. Of course there are exceptions, both in terms of certain in-house jobs and certain times within any given role. However, most in-house lawyer jobs tend not to involve the same extent of unpredictable working hours that can define many practice roles.
Getting to focus on one client rather than many
Those in-house lawyers who are happy to have escaped the requirement to get involved in marketing activities, also often enjoy the fact that working in-house typically means that they only work for one client, namely the business that employs them. For some, this is a significant benefit over private practice in which most lawyers are on call for numerous clients at any given time. Of course if you are working for a multinational group or larger business you will still have numerous ‘clients’ but there’s the advantage that you are also colleagues – giving you the option to negotiate deadlines based on business priority.
The nature of work undertaken in-house can also be quite different and can sometimes give lawyers the opportunity to move into more of a business role.
Take on a more commercial role
The nature of work undertaken in-house can also be quite different and can sometimes give lawyers the opportunity to move into more of a business role. When it comes to legal work, everything tends to be very closely related to the particular area of business in which your employer is engaged, so a detailed understanding of that business is often just as important as knowledge of the law.
Broader compensation packages
Whilst in house lawyers might not receive as high basic salaries as lawyers in private practice they do often receive better benefits packages overall. These may range from a car, private medical insurance, pension entitlement, a bonus scheme to an extra few days annual holiday leave.
Witness the results of your work
The job of an in-house lawyer means that as you work closely with your clients, you have the opportunity to see the results of your advice. In private practice you may not always see how your advice was implemented as your relationship with clients can come to an end once the advice is provided. Not so in-house - you’ll see the results – whether good or bad.
Flexibility to structure work around your life
Generally, in-house solicitors don’t have to keep track of billable hours. The demands of recording your time can be frustrating - you’re working hard, keeping up with your area of expertise, writing articles, supervising or assisting colleagues and putting in hours outside of work to socialise with clients... but there’s no place for all of this on the timesheet. Working in-house doesn’t mean you’ll be working any less hard, just that there isn’t the same pressure to monitor your billable hours.
With any luck you’ll feel a part of the decision-making progress driving your company. Many in-house lawyers speak of the real sense of achievement that comes with contributing to the development of the company.
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