The market for strong commercial lawyers, particularly with experience in IT and outsourcing, is particularly buoyant in Leeds at the moment. It seems that many of you are already working in-house or planning to make the move in-house and so, demand at private practice firms, is outstripping supply. As a consequence, there couldn’t be a better time to make the move from in-house to private practice.
Traditionally, the move in-house has been fuelled by the desire for an improved work/life balance however firms are now coming to realise that working hours, supportive working environments and a good team are just as important to staff as a top line salary. Encouragingly, most firms are now making an effort to encourage flexible working and to increase productivity of staff during core hours so as to minimise the need for excessive overtime.
This change has been driven by lawyers who are simply no longer willing to live to work; the recession has probably played a part in re-establishing people’s priorities and the market has no choice but to react to that in a positive and family friendly way.
The pull to work in-house has also been down to the desire to work ‘close to the business’, if this is something you enjoy it should be remembered that there many opportunities to go on secondment when working in private practice and so you still gain that close contact with the business but with the benefit of gaining this experience with a number of different clients. This variety of work can be especially exciting and valuable.
The move into private practice can be particularly advantageous for commercial lawyers who feel that their caseloads have become slightly routine and monotonous and skill sets aren’t being adequately developed; you don’t generally have this concern in private practice due to the huge spectrum of work and clients you are exposed to.
The other advantage of working in private practice is that there is generally no ceiling to your progression until you reach partnership whereas in-house there is only one ‘top job’ which can cause a block to progression if your head of legal has no plans to retire or move on at any time soon! As a consequence, many in-house lawyers that reach this stage in their career decide to make the move back into private practice and generally do so very successfully.
If you are an in-house lawyer interested in considering a move into private practice, feel free to contact BCL Legal for a confidential chat about the market and suitable opportunities or contact Angharad Warren.