In house

In-House

Placing you in the heart of a business

In-house legal positions have always been highly sought after by solicitors seeking a career option that will get them closer to the inner-workings of business, allow them to contribute more directly to strategic commercial decisions or get them more involved in a particular industry they have a passion for. With strong bonus structures available, basic salaries becoming increasingly competitive and a broadening range of companies looking to expand their legal in-house capabilities, it has never been a better time to consider an in-house move.

Our in-house team covers permanent, interim and fixed term contract recruitment across the UK with consultants based in London and the regions. As specialist recruiters in the field of legal in-house, our team of consultants are well known by senior legal counsel and company directors of some of the largest companies in the UK and abroad. They are comfortable filling all styles of temporary and permanent in-house positions including general counsel, heads of legal, legal counsel, risk and compliance, document review, paralegal, and company secretarial roles, at clients including start-ups, SMEs, FTSE 100 PLCs and large global blue-chip multi-nationals.

We understand that culture and personality are crucial as well as technical ability, so will work with you to establish the kind of lawyer that is most suited to your business needs. 

Our consultants can additionally provide you with expert career advice and keep you updated on market trends and industry data.

Read our blog: The challenge of senior private practice lawyers wanting to move in-house.

I have just spent 40 minutes on the phone with a 20 year PQE Insolvency Partner from a highly respected law firm informing them that unfortunately they did not fit the profile for the General Counsel role I am recruiting for. Having to deal with their complete indignation and total outrage at their rejection, I thought it may be worth getting some thoughts down in blog form.

Before writing this blog, I also sought the input of two clients of mine – both who are very experienced General Counsel (GC).

So why was the Partner so unhappy with me? Clearly they found it hard to believe that a highly intelligent, experienced, successful lawyer at the top of their game is not suitable for an in-house role? Are they right to be angry?

In my view it comes down to a question of perspective. Most in-house lawyers will have worked in private practice at some point and therefore have a balanced view of the challenge of working in both environments. As in the case of the Insolvency Partner,* most private practice lawyers won’t have worked in-house and therefore their perspective and their understanding of their suitability for an in-house role can be skewed. It is also my experience that some senior private practice lawyers hold a view that in-house lawyers are secondary or inferior to private practice lawyers.

The view of one of my GC clients is that in essence law firms are a bunch of individuals grouped together in serviced offices with the goal of fee earning. They expressed the view that senior private practice lawyers work in a bubble and that they are King or Queen of their own domain and sometimes struggle to understand what happens outside of that bubble. He felt that as General Counsel you cannot afford to work in a bubble, you need to be very accessible to understand and support the business with its commercial aims. As an in-house lawyer, his main focus is not about fee earning but about commercial support and protection of the business. Read more...

Read our blog: Moving in-house – the reasons – and do your due diligence
As another year draws to a close, many private practice lawyers will start to consider dusting-off the CV in order to rid themselves of 15 hour+ days. Even in the darkness of November, with leave banned and clients wanting completions before Christmas these days often end with the rising sun.

A move in-house has numerous attractions, the key drivers generally being: more regular hours, proximity to the business and the key decision makers, and partnership being a distant, and unwanted, prospect.

When an offer finally arrives, which could take one month, three months or a year, a decisive moment has occurred that is now reality and not just a thought…. Strong due diligence will verify whether the role is worth taking – is it worth accepting the offer????

Lifestyle

Private practice hours will always be long, intense and generally financially rewarding – particularly at US law firms, where the pressure to bill X hours will generally be translated into a guaranteed bonus if certain targets are met. For most though, discretionary bonuses and the annual increment are the reward for X hours!!

Are you living to 99% of your income? If so, a move in-house may prove very difficult, as some severe adjustment will be necessary. A former GC at a Fortune 100 Company had a general rule of not considering those candidates needing to accept a salary cut that was greater than 20%.

The lifestyle of a partner is often one, in 2014, that increasingly fewer lawyers wish to aspire to. As well as long hours, the need to constantly cancel social engagements and holidays, lack of family time and the guilt associated with that, causes them to reassess their options. Read more...
See our contacts page or call us on +44 (0)203 096 4549 (London and International roles) or +44 (0)121 200 5576 (UK Regional roles) if you’d like to talk through any of our latest opportunities.
Brian

Brian Littleton

Head of In-house - London/International

David

David Cartwright

Head of In-house - UK Regions

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