5 reasons why young commercial lawyers may want to consider an in-house solicitor position

by Legal Author on June 22, 2015

In-house solicitor jobs were formerly considered to be mainly for those who wanted an alternative legal career path outwith the more common role of a lawyer within a law firm. Now, in-house lawyer jobs are becoming much more popular. Here are five reasons why young lawyers may want to consider hunting for a job as an in-house solicitor – and see also our guide to some of the best legal recruitment agencies in addition to the information below:-

  1. You’ll have new challenges and commercial understanding

Working in a law firm can sometimes seem slightly too distant from clients’ businesses. Being in-house puts you on the shop floor, every day. It brings you a new challenge, usually with a much greater understanding of the business you work with. Consider David Ogilvy, the founder of modern advertising, who thought it was always best to get onto the factory floor to get the best possible experience of the businesses he worked with. He spent a whole three weeks getting to know Rolls-Royce intimately before coining one of their greatest ads. Lawyers too can make some of their greatest contributions by going in-house and really getting to know and be a part of the business they’re working for. But that’s not to say it can’t be done at a law firm level – some firms are certainly better than others – indeed, some encourage their own lawyers to take on in-house roles with their clients, either as secondments and sometimes permanently.

  1. Businesses are looking to reduce external legal fees

Recent research by the Solicitors Regulation Authority shows that the need for businesses to reduce external legal fees is increasing demand for in-house solicitors. Indeed, the number of in-house lawyers in the UK has doubled since 2000. In Scotland, in-house lawyers make up a quarter of all solicitors. So for law students and law graduates, with news that employment rates for law graduates following law school are still low, it’s worth checking out the increasing number of in-house legal jobs and positions which are still not as sought-after as the traditional job in a law firm.

  1. You’ll have new pressures

Going in-house also brings new pressures, as you become directly involved with the business of your employer. With all legal advice and assistance you provide, whether as yourself as an individual in-house lawyer or as a team, you’ll most likely feel more responsibility and more pressure across a broader range of the law.

  1. Your work-life balance could be better

The work-life balance for in-house lawyers tends to be better. On average, in-house solicitors in the private sector work 44 hours per week (with salary of, again on average, £100,000 per year); in the public sector the average week is 40 hours long with £50,000 as the average annual salary. Compare that with the average city law firm, where billable hours and timesheets are still all-important, and where 40 hours per week may be considered to be a part-time job. But it really does depend on the type of business you’re working with – the figures above are just averages.

  1. No billable hours

And just to reiterate that last point, there are no demands on billable hours with in-house practice. While working in-house doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have an easier workload, there won’t be the same pressure to charge a certain number of billable hours in a year.

There are, of course, certain disadvantages to being an in-house solicitor, but that’s the subject of another blog post. You may also be interested in reading certain case studies about in-house lawyers, such as this or this. And good luck with your legal career choices! Further comments from the experiences of in-house lawyers welcome either here or on social channels.

Legal Author

Legal Author

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