Articles From the Team

An interview classic: Why do you want to be an in-house lawyer?

“Why do you want to be an in-house lawyer?” This question is not only one of the more frequently asked questions that are posed in interviews but importantly, the answer that an individual offers provides a tremendous amount of insight into the type of character, motivations and ambition that a candidate might possess.

In the majority of instances, the interviewer will be able to use this answer to understand whether or not an individual would be suitable for their team, culture and business. Bearing this in mind, I have listed some of the answers that are offered in response to this classic interview question:

Good answers

- “I enjoy working with clients and getting to know a business.” – Ultimately, this is a key element of an in-house legal position. In the majority of businesses that we work with, the legal teams are eager to be seen as a proactive and engaging unit within a business and therefore, someone that enjoys this interaction is likely to adapt well to an in-house role.

- “I would like to see my work used in practice.” – Many of the lawyers that we work with who are seeking an in-house move feel that the nature of their roles in private practice can be transient in nature. It must be extremely frustrating to put your time and effort into something to then see it sent on without knowing what the outcome was. Even if your advice is noted but not followed in an in-house role, you will at least see the decision making process from a commercial perspective which is always fascinating.

Not so good answers

- “I want to work in-house for a better work/life balance.” – Certainly not the best answer available and it could actually harm chances in an interview. Whilst the team is unlikely to be staying in the office until 2am every night and getting dry cleaning delivered to the workplace, in-house lawyers work extremely hard and are rarely ‘offline’. It is completely understandable that you wish to balance your work and home life better, but it is probably is not your best answer here.

- “No timesheets/billing targets.” – I am yet to meet a single in-house lawyer that believes: ‘This role would be perfect if they just introduced timesheets’. However, in-house legal teams are still targeted on business-specific goals and it is certainly worth highlighting your consciousness of this factor.

If you are considering an in-house move then you will no doubt be thinking about your reasons for doing so and the interview process you may face. If you wish to find out more information about the types of opportunities that are in the market, or you wish to discuss interview preparation then please feel free to get in touch with BCL Legal.

For more information contact Liam Digan at BCL Legal.



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