Going-In-house-Why-You-May-Be-Saying-Goodbye-to-Law-Firms-for-Good

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Going In-house? Why You May Be Saying Goodbye to Law Firms for Good

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Going In-house Why You May Be Saying Goodbye to Law Firms for Good By Nadeen Weybrecht from Washington D.C. Office Recruiter I used to practice corporate law and as such I saw many friends classmates and colleagues who also practiced transactional law go in-house. A good number of these folks tell me that going in-house was the best move they made. A few though have reached out to me for assistance in returning to practice at a firm. Its often very surprising - and frustrating - for these attorneys to understand that once youve gone in-house it is difficult to break back into law firm practice. The truth is leaving a firm to go work inside the often smaller legal department of a company disrupts the growth model law firms have set out for their attorneys and that their clients have come to rely upon. Law firm expectations Law firms have certain expectations for how and when attorneys grow. Lawyers inside large law firms are expected to specialize in a particular practice area rather quickly. Associates are expected to work hard and impress senior associates and partners develop relationship-building skills with clients and then make partner take a counsel position or move to a smaller firm. Throughout an associates time in a law firm it is expected that: the associate will become increasingly competent in her work she will be given increased responsibility because of her developing skills and efficiency her billing rate will increase each year the firms clients will rely upon and trust her increasingly she will develop more and more contacts which she will be able to leverage into business and she will develop strong management skills with which she will be able to supervise younger attorneys and paralegals. Every step of the way the associate is growing in the eyes of the law firm. Training It is particularly problematic for an attorney to go in-house before spending at least four or five years at a law firm. In a law firm attorneys are trained and developed to become the best at what they do. As a young associate you will typically work for mid-level or senior associates who will supervise you as you become more knowledgeable and proficient in your field. In most large law firms the work junior associates undertake is reviewed at several different levels. It is funneled up the chain of command and reviewed by midlevel associates senior associates and partners to ensure the best possible work product. Every step of the way a system of checks and review is in place inside law firms to ensure that each lawyer inside a law firm produces outstanding work product. This in turn creates very good lawyers over time. Once an attorney goes in-house he is unlikely to have this level of review over his work. Click Here to Find Out What In-house Attorney Positions Actually Pay. Specialization Because the legal departments of most corporations are smaller in number than the amount of attorneys at a law firm more often than not the in-house attorneys are expected to become less specialized in their practices and more of generalists who wear many different hats. While the idea of being a generalist might be appealing to you you need to realize that the skills of a generalist will certainly not serve you well if you ever want to go back to a law firm. Most law firms demand their attorneys specialize very early in their careers and continue as specialists in one practice group or Page 1 WWW.BCGSEARCH.COM

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another throughout their careers. Indeed this is one of the main reasons that in-house counsel turn to outside law firms - they need the experts to weigh in on the specifics of a matter. Attorneys at law firms keep up-to-date on the subject matter in which they specialize. As a generalist you will be an expert in nothing. While you may find it more interesting to participate in several different types of work over time you will simply be making yourself increasingly less marketable to law firms. See Beware Once You Start Working in a Law Firm If You Leave You Will Almost Certainly Not Be Able to Return for more information. Conclusion By leaving a law firm to go in-house you have sent the message to future potential law firm employers that you are not committed to their way of practicing law. Law firms want attorneys to be committed to their system their growth and their manner of practicing law. Going in-house does not signal to firms your commitment to their method of practicing law. When you decide to go in-house you take yourself off the track of training growth and development from a law firms perspective. Additionally you run the risk of potentially raising a red flag that you are not committed to practicing law firm hours which is an assumption that can be extremely difficult to overcome. Read related:Why Going In-house Is Often the Worst Decision a Good Attorney Can Ever Make Read Related Articles Working as an In-House Corporate Counsel Going In-House In-House Counsel: Life in the Corporate Wing The Life and Career of an In-House Attorney What Do In-House Attorney Positions Pay Tips on Preparing Yourself for the Interview for an In-House Counsel Job Pros and Cons: In-house vs. Law Firm Practice Seven Questions Attorneys Must Ask Themselves Before Going In-House Is an In-House Job Right for You Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About In-House Careers The Dark Side of Going In-house Page 2 WWW.BCGSEARCH.COM

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