Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    Following on from Crazy Jamie's thread in which he invited questions on life at the bar, I thought I might do something similar in relation to in-house. I appreciate the topic may not be as of much interest or relevance given many of you have your hearts set on private practice or the Bar. That said, I'm happy to answer (within reason!) any questions you might have.

    Some of you may remember me from posting on here months/years ago. For those of you who don't, I started out at a City practice in the late 90s, then moved to an international firm in Australia about 10 years ago. Not long after I arrived in Oz, I moved in-house to a multi-national and now that I'm back in the UK I'm working as a freelance in-house lawyer.

    Happy to answer questions on making the move to in-house, what the work's like, work/life in Australia etc etc. You'll appreciate, however, that I can't share too many details!

    So, ask away!
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Can you say what sort of in-house lawyer you are?

    Are you a locum? How big are the teams you work in?

    Is it lonely? What are the hours like? Can you start out in house and go into private practice? What sort of 'prejudices' do people in private practice have about inhouse lawyers? Is in house experience valued in private practice?

    You are obviously pretty experienced - thanks for posting!



    (Original post by chalks)
    Following on from Crazy Jamie's thread in which he invited questions on life at the bar, I thought I might do something similar in relation to in-house. I appreciate the topic may not be as of much interest or relevance given many of you have your hearts set on private practice or the Bar. That said, I'm happy to answer (within reason!) any questions you might have.

    Some of you may remember me from posting on here months/years ago. For those of you who don't, I started out at a City practice in the late 90s, then moved to an international firm in Australia about 10 years ago. Not long after I arrived in Oz, I moved in-house to a multi-national and now that I'm back in the UK I'm working as a freelance in-house lawyer.

    Happy to answer questions on making the move to in-house, what the work's like, work/life in Australia etc etc. You'll appreciate, however, that I can't share too many details!

    So, ask away!
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    Do you ever feel your independence and discretion as a lawyer is comprised by company policy, management decisions, management targets, etc.?

    Are you a solicitor first and a company employee next or a company employee first and a solicitor next?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    Can you say what sort of in-house lawyer you are?

    Are you a locum? How big are the teams you work in?

    Is it lonely? What are the hours like? Can you start out in house and go into private practice? What sort of 'prejudices' do people in private practice have about inhouse lawyers? Is in house experience valued in private practice?

    You are obviously pretty experienced - thanks for posting!

    Hi,

    Since I returned to the UK, I've been in a locum capacity while I look for more permanent positions such as a suitable GC role. In my previous role in Australia, I was part of a team of 10 which was ideal. I'm currently working for an organisation where the legal team is larger than many law firms. I've previously been an in-house litigator, and now I'm a corporate/commercial lawyer.

    The hours tend to be better than private practice, but both I and my peers in-house find that the day is more intense. You're constantly on-call during the day and you never know what issue might crop up, when you might be called into a meeting on something totally unexpected or who might wander into your office to "bounce something off you"! You're also expected to know the business inside out, and that's something that isn't really required when in private practice unless you're a real subject matter expert.

    I don't think starting in-house is a wise move. You don't get the breadth of training or experience in an in-house environment as you do in private practice. It's very much a place to be once you've got a few years experience under your belt.

    There used to be some prejudice against in-house counsel, and a bit of sneery snottiness of the "you clearly couldn't cut it in private practice" type. I think that's gone now - most private practice lawyers recognise the challenges and attractions of in-house practice, and I'm not really concerned by any one who thinks their position or career choice is "better" than mine.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lady Comstock)
    Do you ever feel your independence and discretion as a lawyer is comprised by company policy, management decisions, management targets, etc.?

    Are you a solicitor first and a company employee next or a company employee first and a solicitor next?
    These are great questions and ones which any in-house lawyer should be familiar with.

    It is essential that my independence is never compromised. If it is, then things start to get messy very fast. In particular, issues about legal privilege come to the fore. My view is that I have 1 client, and it is my job to advise that client to the best of my abilities. If the business sees fit to ignore that advice, then that's a matter for them. What I can't do is bend in the wind and sanction particular courses of action that you know are wrong. That can be enormously difficult when you're being pressed by senior members of the business/directors etc to act in a certain way, especially when you know that those people will have an input on your annual appraisals etc. What you have to hope is that those people will ultimately respect your integrity and professionalism. Frankly, if they don't, then it's not the sort of place you'd want to work anyway.

    So, I don't think it's a question of being a solicitor first and employee second (or vice versa). Rather, I think they're equal. I fulfil my duties to my employer by being the best solicitor I can, and I fulfil my duties as a solicitor by acting in the best way I can for my client. But it's fair to say that I wouldn't compromise my duties to the Court and the profession, even if that placed me in some sort of breach of my obligations to the company. The ultimate step in those circumstances would, of course, be to resign.

    Does that answer your questions?


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks for your reply - would you say that your opinions about in-house careers apply to the public sector also? Or just in-house commercial positions.

    Thanks!

    (Original post by chalks)
    Hi,

    Since I returned to the UK, I've been in a locum capacity while I look for more permanent positions such as a suitable GC role. In my previous role in Australia, I was part of a team of 10 which was ideal. I'm currently working for an organisation where the legal team is larger than many law firms. I've previously been an in-house litigator, and now I'm a corporate/commercial lawyer.

    The hours tend to be better than private practice, but both I and my peers in-house find that the day is more intense. You're constantly on-call during the day and you never know what issue might crop up, when you might be called into a meeting on something totally unexpected or who might wander into your office to "bounce something off you"! You're also expected to know the business inside out, and that's something that isn't really required when in private practice unless you're a real subject matter expert.

    I don't think starting in-house is a wise move. You don't get the breadth of training or experience in an in-house environment as you do in private practice. It's very much a place to be once you've got a few years experience under your belt.

    There used to be some prejudice against in-house counsel, and a bit of sneery snottiness of the "you clearly couldn't cut it in private practice" type. I think that's gone now - most private practice lawyers recognise the challenges and attractions of in-house practice, and I'm not really concerned by any one who thinks their position or career choice is "better" than mine.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by chalks)
    Following on from Crazy Jamie's thread in which he invited questions on life at the bar, I thought I might do something similar in relation to in-house. I appreciate the topic may not be as of much interest or relevance given many of you have your hearts set on private practice or the Bar. That said, I'm happy to answer (within reason!) any questions you might have.

    Some of you may remember me from posting on here months/years ago. For those of you who don't, I started out at a City practice in the late 90s, then moved to an international firm in Australia about 10 years ago. Not long after I arrived in Oz, I moved in-house to a multi-national and now that I'm back in the UK I'm working as a freelance in-house lawyer.

    Happy to answer questions on making the move to in-house, what the work's like, work/life in Australia etc etc. You'll appreciate, however, that I can't share too many details!

    So, ask away!
    Is there anything you miss about private practice?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Is there anything you miss about private practice?
    Time-recording, political in-fighting, rude clients, rude partners, rude senior associates, having your weekend ruined by a deal, getting a cab home from work night after night....

    So, no, not much! Clearly the pay is better at senior levels, but the disruption to your life isn't worth it IMHO.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    Thanks for your reply - would you say that your opinions about in-house careers apply to the public sector also? Or just in-house commercial positions.

    Thanks!
    I don't really have much familiarity with the public sector, but I've no reason to think that the position would be much different. Is that something you're interested in?


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Yes. There are a lot of private practice law firms that advise in the areas I am currently working in though; I figure that public sector experience is valuable to private practice firms because you have a head start on understanding how the clients work. Although I see what you are saying - you could go private sector, public sector, then private sector.

    I do suspect that in private practice, there may be a suspicion that people in the public sector do not understand commercial deals as well. But there are so many public/private hook ups going on that I don't know how valid that opinion, should it exist, is.

    Do they allow you a subscription to Lexis Nexis or similar?

    (Original post by chalks)
    I don't really have much familiarity with the public sector, but I've no reason to think that the position would be much different. Is that something you're interested in?


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    Yes. There are a lot of private practice law firms that advise in the areas I am currently working in though; I figure that public sector experience is valuable to private practice firms because you have a head start on understanding how the clients work. Although I see what you are saying - you could go private sector, public sector, then private sector.

    I do suspect that in private practice, there may be a suspicion that people in the public sector do not understand commercial deals as well. But there are so many public/private hook ups going on that I don't know how valid that opinion, should it exist, is.

    Do they allow you a subscription to Lexis Nexis or similar?
    I think you're right that there's a fair bit of snobbishness towards those in the public sector. That said, those in private practice will get a lot more exposure to certain commercial transactions than those in the private sector (or, indeed, those in-house). I'm not sure the public sector experience will necessarily be that valuable if you wanted to move into private practice: the firms already know how their clients work. They're looking for lawyers with strong experience of the deals themselves.

    Most in-house teams, of a reasonable size, will have access to Lexis Nexis but it's by no means guaranteed. There are plenty of sole counsel roles out there where you'll have nothing at all to rely on! In those circumstances, GIYF!


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Hi - thanks for your responses. G is already my F. I thought you were making some sort of obscene Oz acronym there for a bit until I G'd it. Thanks for your advice!



    (Original post by chalks)
    I think you're right that there's a fair bit of snobbishness towards those in the public sector. That said, those in private practice will get a lot more exposure to certain commercial transactions than those in the private sector (or, indeed, those in-house). I'm not sure the public sector experience will necessarily be that valuable if you wanted to move into private practice: the firms already know how their clients work. They're looking for lawyers with strong experience of the deals themselves.

    Most in-house teams, of a reasonable size, will have access to Lexis Nexis but it's by no means guaranteed. There are plenty of sole counsel roles out there where you'll have nothing at all to rely on! In those circumstances, GIYF!


    Posted from TSR Mobile
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: September 27, 2015
Poll
How are you feeling in the run-up to Results Day 2018?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.