Deciding whether or not to become an in-house lawyer is no easy decision. The decision you make regarding your career will have major ramifications for your future, so it’s not one to be made lightly.
However, there are also many myths and non-realities about this career path. In this post, we’re going to put an end to them once and for all so you’ll have much more clarity about what path you’d like to go down.
After reading this post, you’ll know the pros and cons of becoming an in-house lawyer.
Pros Of Becoming An In-House Lawyer
- One client
This can either be a pro or a con depending on how you want to look at it, but we’re sure for most people it’s a plus. The reason why we’re more inclined to see this as a positive is because it generally means that you’ll be working on a range of matters that you enjoy for the one client. It also gives you that sense of security because you know that client will be able to give you consistent work each week.
- Be part of a team
As an in-house lawyer, you’re generally going to be working as part of a team on a whole variety of legal matters. Compare this to when you’re working as an outside lawyer, there tends to be a one-off relationship with each client and that’s it.
If working in teams is something you enjoy and you like that sense of teamwork, then this is a major plus of being an in-house lawyer.
- Working on the big picture
When you work as part of an in-house counsel, you’ll find that you’re working on something that will help the company you work for achieve their goals and align with their own corporate objectives.
However, as an outside counsel, you’ll often find yourself caught up in the minor details. This can often be a major attraction for in-house lawyers as they like that sense of challenge and working toward corporate aligned goals.
Cons Of Becoming An In-House Lawyer
It’s not always rosy being an in-house lawyer and it would unfair to paint such a picture so of course, without any bias here are the following cons of becoming an in-house lawyer.
- One client
Just as this is a positive mentioned above, it can also be a negative. That’s because you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. You must rely on the company staying profitable for you to have a job and if they hit hard times or go broke then you may find yourself laid off.
It also means that you won’t experience the same kind of variety of work as you would being outside counsel so if you like diversity of clients then an in-house position may not suit you.
- Long work hours
Don’t expect that you’ll always be working a typical 9-5 work routine. Sure, there are days when you will be, but there are also going to be situations whereby you’re going to need to put in overtime or even work on weekends.
You also won’t get billable hours like you would if you worked as part of an outside counsel. For some people, they prefer that but others prefer to security that comes with an in-house position.
- Fewer training and development opportunities
Because you’re always working with the one client at the one company, there are fewer training and career development opportunities compared to what you’d find working at a law firm.
This can be a big issue for junior lawyers who want to build upon their skill set but find that the opportunities are just too limited at a company in-house counsel.
As you can see, law firms and in-house positions offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Our recommendation is to think about what your own career and personal development goals are and then see what legal path best fits within that.
This way you’re far more likely to make a better and more sound career decision compared to people who are simply chasing the money or some other superficial glory.
If you would like to speak with one of our legal experts in this area then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.