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In House Legal Career watch

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    Hi All,

    I hope you can settle a disagreement that I'm having with one of my classmates.

    Do you need to be a qualified solicitor/barrister to work as in house legal counsel?

    I think you do...because that's what my boss(head of our legal department and the company secretary) has told me, but my classmate is convinced you don't need to go through the TC or LPC, just need to have LLB and she's going to go for an LLM so she can work as an in-house lawyer.

    If you could shed some light on the matter that'd really help.

    Thanks
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    Usually you do, not just the LPC but also have completed a training contract, except the few that are licenced to do TCs in house (rare due to lack of seats). Some will also take foreign qualified lawyers such as Aussies who are technically not "qualified" in the UK, but with an LL.B it will not happen.
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    You can work for the legal team of a company without being a qualified lawyer, which I have seen happen, but you'll likely be a "legal assistant" etc to the general counsel and not a GC.
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    You could probably work as a paralegal or a secretary or something. You wouldn't be able to do the same kind of work that a solicitor or barrister does. I don't see any way for your friend could practice meaningful law with just a LLB and LLM: you really need to have the practical aspects of it.
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    The Legal Services Act restricts, as far as I understand it, who can advise on certain particular areas of the law (eg litigious matters). There doesn't seem to be any restriction on other areas.

    So, if a corporate saw fit to employ an ex-milkman as their legal counsel, and was prepared to rely on their sketchy knowledge of the law, then they could probably do so.

    The reality is, of course, rather different. A business which is large enough to employ its own in-house counsel will want a qualified (and experienced) lawyer. That means someone who is admitted to practice in England & Wales i.e. has a practising certificate and, most likely, has a number of years of private practice under their belts. As JP notes, some large in-house teams (eg the banks) may take on paralegals and the like but they won't take on applicants who aren't qualified to practice as in-house counsel.

    In short, your friend has little prospect of securing a "real" in-house counsel role with no more than an LLB and an LLM.
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    Thats what I thought - Thanks everyone
 
 
 
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