Moving in-house from private practice? 3 considerations for your first in-house interview:
There is so much to consider for your first in-house interview, and we have detailed 3 of the most helpful pointers below. For more specific help, please just ask us…
You will hopefully know the answer to this already, and if not then get thinking… This question will always come up. You need to be able to speak convincingly about your motivations for being an in-house lawyer, particularly if it is your first in-house move, as moving out of private practice is such a massive change in direction.
We find that there are two types of lawyers wanting to move into an in-house role. Some are attracted to an in-house move for positive reasons – i.e. seeking a more commercial job, wanting to know a company inside out, being part of the decision making process, wanting a more varied mix of work and not knowing what your day will entail.
Others will be moving for negative reasons – i.e. wanting to move away from the long hours and time recording of private practice, and disliking the pressure on fees and business development. Bear in mind that you will not be particularly attractive to an employer if you fall into the second category.
Competency based questions
We find that competency based questions (i.e. “ please give me an example of a task that you don’t enjoy – how do you motivate yourself to carry out this task?”) often form part of the in-house interview process, so you should be prepared to tackle some of the most common competency questions. A study of the job specification can often yield clues about the qualities the interviewer will be looking for in you.
Have a think about how you can back up your answers by using real-life examples which provide evidence of what they are looking for, think about whether you went above and beyond the call of duty, and what you learned from this situation. For example in the question outlined above, the interviewer might be looking for evidence that you are not too proud to do certain tasks and that you can see things through to the end.
A contract review exercise of some kind can often form part of the interview process with certain companies, and we will often recommend that clients incorporate this as it can be a really useful indication of whether you can do the job. Some individuals do these contract reviews with their private practice head on and go into far too much detail.
Generally clients are simply looking for a quick summary of the key issues with the example contract, and a willingness to discuss these in more detail, rather than a detailed critique of each word in every clause… The interviewer will need to be certain that you can quickly identify the key issues and summarise them so that they can be understood by the FD or commercial director, who will probably not have legal training and will simply want to know a yes or no answer.