Advice for aspiring in-house lawyers
In most cases, working in-house means being part of a small team within a larger organisation so be prepared to handle an array of legal issues from a variety of angles. If you like the idea of working on a diversity of legal areas on a day-to-day basis, in-house is for you.
A large proportion of the role is to keep non-lawyer colleagues updated on relevant legal matters that affect the business. Whether the implications relate to compliance and/or commercial issues, a successful in-house lawyer possesses a certain level of communicative skill to enable clear and easily understandable explanations of the bigger legal picture: converting the technical into layperson’s terms.
As above, in-house legal work involves an interpretation of the law in terms of its commercial impact. You’ll work closely with those who run the business and they’ll look to you for practical, business-minded solutions and opportunities.
Many in-house lawyers create their own career progression. They’re at liberty to pick and choose their pathway and source the relevant training to get there.
For example, as a sole counsel, you might have ambitions to grow your legal team (under you management) where you put together a convincing business plan. In a larger in-house team, you might have to wait for the incumbent manager to move on: to open up the management role.
With commercial experience under your belt, it’s not uncommon for in-house lawyers to move between business sectors. Some find appeal in purely commercial roles where they might move away from the law into a business-centred position.