Is it time to make the switch?
You've been working in big law firms for years and you think it's time for a change.
There are two options you may be considering, you can either open your own practice or start working as an in-house corporate lawyer.
Becoming an in-house lawyer can be a great way to ensure that your income is stable and you don't have the challenges of running a practice or the need to find new clients. You don't have to worry about billable hours, and job stability can be higher. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges.
Some things you should consider:
1. Although working as in-house counsel tends to lead to working more sane hours, a crisis can easily lead to you pulling an all-nighter. However, this will depend on the company you're working for and many will have crisis plans to prepare teams for such events.
2. The compensation for in-house legal teams is often lower than what you can make in private practice but it is more stable over time and less risky.
3. Your boss, because he's paying you anyway, may reach out to you for things which appear minor, unrelated, or which aren't even technically legal matters at all.
4. If you are the sole counsel, then you may be in a very lonely place and you may have to reach out to find support outside the company. But on the other hand you may also find yourself working in a great team of like-minded individuals. During the interview process try and get a feel for what the team is like and then decide if you'll fit in well.
5. You'll have to be more of a generalist and may have to step out of your comfort zone into areas of the law in which you have less familiarity. To some this may not be ideal but others may see it as an opportunity to learn new skills and broaden their knowledge base.
6. In private legal practice, you have more control over who you work with. You can hire and remove people from your team depending on how well you work together. When working in-house, HR has a say - and you will be working with people that you may not get on with and you may have to deal with more complicated office politics.
7. You can make less decisions about the daily operations but you have to be more aware of the larger picture and exactly how the company you are working for operates. While you may not be worrying about finances in the way you are in private practice, you do have to worry about how what you do affects the health of the company as a whole.
8. You will need the right legal software - one which is designed to support in-house lawyers , which can be a challenge, especially when you have to get it past IT.
Working in-house can be a great way to have a stable, long-term career. It can lead to working fewer hours than in a practice and some find it less stressful. If you are an in-house legal counsel and you're looking to simplify how your team manages their matters click the button below!