In-house matters (incl Lawyer salary survey)
The drift in-house continues unabated. GCs are continuing to shrink their law firm panels as they bring more work in-house. External spending has reached pre-recession highs, but GCs are using outside counsel more sparingly (apart from for litigation) while internal legal spend levels are soaring as in-house legal teams grow. This presents many exciting opportunities for private practice lawyers. Even high flying City partner are leaving to become GCs: after 34 years at Allen & Overy, Alistair Asher dropped everything to join the (crisis hit) Co-operative Group. But is the grass always greener?
A recent wellbeing study warns that the majority of in-house lawyers work in small under pressure teams and lack the requisite infrastructure and support with high resultant stress levels. Certainly pause for thought with many lawyers looking to move away from private practice for lifestyle or work/life balance reasons. We need to remember that it is not easy to deliver on all commercial and business-critical fronts as the company management may demand.
Just as any lawyer would conduct a deep due diligence exercise when moving within private practice, one should always do the same when considering an in-house move. A lot depends on how the legal function is viewed at executive level: is it a necessary evil or considered as a strategic part of the business? Also, consider very carefully the reasons why you are set on making the switch. Being fed up with private practice just isn’t enough. You need an interest and keenness in being a more rounded commercial advisor, often leaving large parts of your training and experience behind. Not something to give up lightly especially as the in-house sphere is not some uniform utopia. Don’t jump blindly from the frying pan to the fire!
Choose carefully and you’ll likely never look back.
See our piece in the Lawyer at: http://www.thelawyer.com/salary-survey-in-house/3036207.article