find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1-3 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Join a dynamic Firm · Excellent career growth opportunity
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
In-house reality a dream?

In-house reality a dream?

No time sheets, less pressure, more flexible hours, commercial environment. It may seem like working in-house is a dream come true, but how close is that perception to reality? Jacqui Ashley, managing director of Amicas Global, writes.

Many private practice lawyers believe that in-house roles will save them from their discontent. For some this will be true however for others, it may prove to be an empty ideal as they may not fully understand the real reason or reasons as to why they are looking for a change.

Don’t get me wrong - there are many perks to going in-house however many lawyers who want this change are doing so for the wrong reason and before they know it, they could well find themselves falling into a deeper hole. In-house roles represent an enticing option for those who are looking to focus more on the business and the bigger picture, in addition to a variety of work, and no billable hours (yes that’s right no time sheets!). It also represents more flexibility with those opting for part time work and potentially shorter hours.

However is this always the case or are you just moving from one 80 hour plus job to another 80 hour plus job?

Many lawyers may well find themselves working similar hours that they did in private practice while still having to bring work home. The remuneration may initially be very attractive however it is important to be aware that this levels out with increasing seniority, and that as a general rule of thumb the private practice sector will pay better particularly at the partner level. While the lucrative stock options which are often provided to even out this salary gap may sound attractive, do not make any assumptions in this regard and ensure you undertake the appropriate due diligence.

So what do you need to look at before deciding which career path to take? If you are already working in private practice and looking for a change, you must address what the core issues are. What is truly underlying this unhappiness – for example, is it because you really desire a change of environment and seek to move into a more commercially oriented role or is it because the partner you work for treats you poorly and you don’t get recognition for the ridiculously long hours you work?

If you have decided to go in-house, there are a number of factors you need to consider such as –

Is it a large or small company you want to work for? A small company may not necessarily give you the flexibility in the number of hours of the work as you are likely to be part of a smaller team which means greater responsibility and work-share.

What industry sector are you interested in?

What is the culture like?

Keeping in mind that many in-house organisations outsource the more complex, technical legal work to a panel of law firms, are you therefore happy to move into a more commercially facing role and be involved less on the technical black letter law front?

Are you happy to be working for one main client ie your employer rather than having various different clients?

A common way to transition into an in-house role is to be seconded to a client. This way you will be able get a taste of what it is like and be in a position to make a more well-informed decision as to whether this is the right environment for you. In addition, if you build up a strong working relationship with your client while on secondment, there is a good chance that when they decide to add to their team on a permanent basis, you will be on the top of their list.

There are many benefits to working in-house and many in-house lawyers will tell you that they have a perfect career and it was the best decision that they made. However like any matter that you work on, it is important to do your due diligence to make sure this is the right move for you.



Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

In-house reality a dream?
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...