Legal in-house roles… four tips to make the move

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Looking to move in-house but unsure of where to start? Jason Elias, Managing Director of Elias Recruitment talks through key considerations before you make your move, and what you can do to prepare and be best placed to land an in-house role.

1 Roles are often not advertised

“Often in-house jobs are not advertised,” observed Jason. “Within a company, there may already be lawyers engaged on secondment who would be an obvious choice for an in-house role.” If you can’t manage a secondment, get to know as many in-house lawyers in decision making roles as possible. Try to network with university or PLT classmates, attend CPD sessions – especially the Association of Corporate Counsel (formerly ACLA).

It’s all about who they know and how well you understand what they need as a legal team. This is where a well-connected recruiter adds great value.

2. High demand for limited supply

“There’s many perceived benefits to in-house roles, especially for lawyers with children who might be seeking better work life balance and juggling family commitments. This results in a flurry of private practice people that want to move in-house,” said Jason. “Generally speaking, the problem is that there’s not enough positions for in-house and quite a bit of competition for these limited positions.

“However, there might be a trend towards getting lawyers in on contracts rather than creating full time roles, which reflects what is happening in New Law.

“We often get briefed on in-house contracts which are a great way to get your foot in the door,” said Jason. “Often, these can roll over into longer contracts.”

3. Gain experience within the industry

With so much competition for in-house positions, companies can afford to be selective.

“Some employers don’t simply want you to have in-house experience, but in-house experience within their particular industry,” said Jason. Different industries can have specific regulations which impact their operations; an intimate understanding of these issues offers substantial value-add as a lawyer, specifically as an in-house counsel.

4. Transactional lawyers may do better than litigators

“Broadly speaking, lawyers involved in transactional work may do better than litigators in terms of in-house roles,” said Jason. “Many companies may have quite small in-house teams, so they won’t have a need for dedicated litigator. There are exceptions to this, of course – banks, insurers and major companies may have a litigator too.”

Moving in-house is appealing to many lawyers, promising a change of environment and in some cases, friendlier work hours. However, demand for in-house roles are competitive, and the positions are often not advertised.

If you are looking to move in-house or simply interested in exploring your next career move, get in contact with Elias Recruitment.

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