No matter what stage you’re at in your legal career you will have contemplated the perceived differences between working in-house and in private practice. And the professionals we deal with on a daily basis tend to have quite different perspectives on the two.
To help you think about this more broadly, we put together two brief blogs highlighting the less talked about upsides of each route. We recently shared our “The Upsides to Private Practice” blog, which you can read here.
This time round we’re going to share “The Upsides to In-house”…
You Learn Loads from Non-lawyers: Working in-house you will regularly have to deal with other teams and functions within the business. Accountants, sales people, tax colleagues all look at situations differently to the way you and fellow lawyers might do. With their roles being different to yours they gain different experiences and possess a different skill set to you. Working directly with them gives you exposure and an opportunity to learn different aspects of the business and to up-skill.
You Become More Commercially Minded: Firstly from the general exposure you are getting to the business and to non-legal colleagues but also because you now have certain liberty to think a bit wider than the strict legal view.
Yes your employer needs you to assess and mitigate risk but to also help find solutions which may include taking informed risks. This can provide a greater amount of flexibility and freedom once you are in-house and may provide you with opportunities to think more about solutions than problems!
You Get to Use and Appreciate your Softer Skills: As mentioned above lawyers do see things differently. When you move in-house you’ll have plenty of opportunities for these softer skills to shine for you. You’ll soon see the wider benefits of all that training – you can identify issues faster than some colleagues, you might spot typos in everything (and become a marketer’s best friend!) and you remain calm in a crisis. Working with people from all commercial backgrounds also enables you to develop your communication and relationship skills.
At senior levels, having a lawyer on the board can be so beneficial. Many GCs we’ve spoken to who participate at exec level have noted that their calm approach and ability to filter the problem and identify the actual issue quickly can be very much appreciated by their colleagues.
You Get to See the Fruits of Your Labour: Sometimes private practice lawyers can find it difficult that they work so closely with a company and or client for weeks, or months, on a deal only to never deal with them again after the deal closes. It’s great to be able to stay involved to see what happens next. In-house lawyers often say they feel more invested, and therefore motivated, because of this.
Choosing the route for you, and perceptions of each, are somewhat subjective. Also what may be perceived as an advantage to one person may not be so to another. We’ve tried to keep it simple and hope that what we’ve outlined will help you decide which is the best route for you.
Read our “Upsides of Private Practice” blog here.
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