Moving from Private Practice to In-House

February 18, 2013 Legal Advice

        Moving from being a private practice attorney to an in-house attorney has been viewed as a relief to one’s busy life. However, with more demands on attorneys, the myth of moving in-house to be more relaxed may not be as true as you would perceive. They are a critical part of the operation of companies, and still have a workload typical to any other attorney. Before deciding on making the move to an in-house position, here is some information and key points to think about prior to moving to an in-house job from private practice.  Keep in mind that every company is different and that with the right recruiter and proper company research you can find your dream job.

In-house attorneys tend to have shorter, independent work hours, a relaxed work environment, no time sheets or billings, and the chance to become commercially involved in how businesses function. Unlike private practice, you will be exposed to a lot of different areas of the law rather than specializing in one area in private practice. Also, going in-house requires an attorney to pull from more skills sets, such as: drafting and legal knowledge, but personal and character skill sets as well since they deal with many employees of diverse backgrounds.

In-house attorneys are more involved with the direct operation of the business they work for; they have considerable influence over the decisions, strategies, and overall direction made for a business. Being able to provide both excellent legal work and a business-oriented mindset is essential for this position.  Unlike private practice where you are more of an advisor, in-house attorneys directly inform senior management what is best for the company and what not to do.

When looking to move in to an in-house position, it is important to consider what type, size, and sector of company you would like to work for. It is also important to think of the most ideal time to move. Typically, a suitable time for an attorney to move to an in-house position is when they have 5 to 7 years of experience at a law firm.By this time, attorneys have gained skills and needed experience to move forward in their careers.

Jal Othman, a senior partner at Shook Lin & Bok in Kaula Lumpur, says when deciding on moving in-house, you must ask yourself, “Is it more for career advancement or for personal development?”  It is important to ask yourself, “Who do I want to work for? Why do I want to work there? When should I move?” in order to make sure you are well informed about your decision. In the end, before leaving private practice and moving to in-house, be sure to research the company (or companies) you are thinking of joining and if you would be a good fit with their business model.

Raj M. Nichani, Esq. is the President of RMN Global Search, a full-service legal search company specializing in the permanent and temporary placement of legal attorneys with law firms and corporate legal departments.  Raj and his team are dedicated to placing the highest quality candidates based on their own unique needs. RMN Global Search is based in Atlanta, GA with a dominant presence in all major cities in the United States.  The legal recruiting company was recently named the 13th top legal recruiting company in the nation by LawCrossing.

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