Over the last 5 years we have seen a big shift with many in-house legal functions hiring junior lawyers. Previously lawyers were advised to stay in private practice until they reach 4-7 PQE prior to transitioning in-house. However, as in-house departments have grown significantly over the last 5 years GCs are keen to invest in talented lawyers earlier in their career.
Whether you are joining an SME or a large multinational it is key for you to understand the support and structure that is in place to develop your career. Many lawyers early on in their career will benefit from taking on a broad corporate / commercial position which will then set them up to be a future Head of / GC.
With the hunt for talented junior corporate & /or commercial lawyers being at an all time high in private practice, many talented lawyers may well be persuaded by the lure of high salaries in private practice / partner’s informing them that it is too early to make the move in-house. While for some lawyers this may well be the case, many junior lawyers who have a commercial outlook and a hunger to fully integrate with the business will find the move offers them so much more than being a transactional lawyer. You will become part of key business decisions coming up with solutions rather than just giving purely technical advice. For many this shift is a lightbulb moment as to why they became a lawyer in the first place.
Working in-house is not without its challenges however with the right support there has never been a better time to develop your career as a lawyer in-house. It seems that many in the profession would agree with some 33,000 lawyers (according to the law society) now working in-house up over a 1/3 in the last 20 years).
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