Man leaping into sky with a house in the shape of a cloud

Man leaping into sky with a house in the shape of a cloudWhile the initial outlay may be significant, the advantages of having an in-house lawyer are considerable, and can generate major efficiencies and other business benefits. Here are the key areas where they can make a real difference.

A little girl with her hand on her head after making a mistake

A little girl with her hand on her head after making a mistakeTo build good teams, engaging freshly minted graduates is one way to go, of course, as is hiring qualified lawyers from other firms – a practice that is on the rise.

Now Hiring. Job Opportunites available

Now Hiring. Job Opportunites available.The last six months has seen a marked increase in recruiting for in-house insurance roles. Lloyd's of London and its reinsurance competitors are particularly keen to attract fresh talent.

Strategy meeting around a table

In-house lawyers have sometimes been accused of being too focused on the intricate details of the law and omitting to consider the key needs of the business. In some companies they have even been portrayed as the “NO department” for pointing out a wide range of risks that could happen but that are very unlikely to happen, before rejecting business proposals.

A presentation on compliance for a law firm

In-house lawyers are increasingly being moved and recruited into compliance and regulatory roles. Ninety-six percent of chief legal officers recently identified ethics and compliance to be the most important category of concern for businesses in a survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). Data protection, transparency and privacy obligations, and prosecution and governmental enforcement were also high on the list of priorities. All of these categories have a strong family relationship with compliance-focused legal work.

Trends for in-house legal departments

In the current, competitive, economic climate, the most prominent trend for in house legal departments has been borne from cost pressures. With budgets being scrutinised and external costs more difficult to control, businesses are accepting more and more that the ability to internally deal with a broad range of tasks, via a cost-controlled in house legal function, is a good way to improve efficiency.

That notwithstanding, trends unrelated to costs are also emerging; cyber-security, regulatory issues, risk management and dispute resolution are all quickly rising on corporate agendas.

Boardroom meeting with large screen at the end

In-house legal departments have grown significantly in the last five to ten years. Recent analysis by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority suggests that around 20 percent of practising certificate holders now work in-house compared to 14.3 percent in 2003.

In the meantime, general counsel and senior lawyers employed in businesses have become more prominent in those organisations, often taking on business tasks and sitting on boards. Inevitably, the increase in the overall numbers of in-house lawyers means that they are taking on ever greater amounts of the work traditionally undertaken by external private practice firms.

Compare working in-house and working in private practice

Working as an in-house lawyer has traditionally been seen as a very different experience to that of working in private practice. A large number of these differences proceed from the fact that, in most cases, private practice lawyers generate revenue and income for the firm while in-house lawyers are often treated as a cost centre.

Lawyer working very late at night

Do you dream of a life where you work regular hours and you’re able to organise your free time? A life where you don’t have to cancel social plans at the last minute and you can maintain your non-work-related relationships? If so, you are not alone.

Large Pillars outside a building

If you are amongst those lawyers who cannot bear the ‘treadmill’ nature of the work in private practice, long and unpredictable hours, peaks and troughs, and time sheets, do not give up! Despite the global financial crisis and the obvious reduction of roles released onto the market, the in-house world is still open to you. Here are some tips to help you make the big move!

A recent study by The Lawyer discovered that 68.5% of the 1,317 Private Practice participants surveyed said they would consider a move in-house - a third of these participants were partners!

A clock outside a large high-rise office

Be wary of any generalisation but the answer to this question tends to be yes.

Of course, the ‘right’ time is going to depend on various factors: a great deal will be in respect to both the performance and direction of the market; your personal circumstances will inevitably dictate your position; and, as with all opportunities, serendipitous timing can play a key part.