If you’ve been working in practice, the idea of moving in-house may have crossed your mind… If you’re thinking about this change in direction, here are a few points to consider when deciding whether this is the right career step for you.
Making the move to a general counsel role won’t be for everyone and it’s important to understand the potential differences before choosing an in-house position.
Here’s our guide to transferring in-house:
- More regular working hours – meaning a likely better work/life balance and a more consistent workload.
- No timesheets or billings.
- Opportunity to become integrally involved in the running of the business.
- Potential to move into the commercial areas of the business.
Essentially, when you move into an in-house role, it’s about proactively engaging the commercial workforce and managing activity to reduce external spend.
- Often the move in-house can involve a pay cut.
- As companies are now outsourcing less, they are demanding much more from their own in-house lawyers. With this in mind, workloads may be hefty and the hours may not be as reduced as anticipated.
- You may need to win over internal clients as some may be used to doing all the work themselves.
- You may need to move companies more often - smaller teams could limit your career path, and there are traditionally smaller increases in salary.
It’s important to thoroughly research the company before making the move in-house, as it’s uncommon for a legal professional to return to the private practice route once they’ve made this move. Moving in-house too early in your career could potentially limit your development opportunities and the chance to expand and sharpen your professional skills.
Be aware that, unlike in private practice where roles are specialised, an in-house lawyer will typically be expected to have wide-reaching knowledge that covers a whole range of areas – such as employment, property, commercial and corporate law. Weigh up what you want and need from your career, talk to a legal recruitment specialist and other people in your field and think carefully about the pros and cons of a career shift.