Tags: Legal, legal, blog

The volume of in-house legal teams is growing rapidly within the private sector. It’s predicted that by 2020, the number of solicitors working for private businesses will have grown to more than 30%.

There are many reasons for this increase, both in supply and demand. Private businesses want more control and faster turnaround of legal work. They also want it at less cost than they typically have to pay externally. Hiring in-house is the obvious solution.

One way traditional firms could adapt to this new world view is to build a proposition which makes it clear that they will work flexibly. They need to show willingness to collaborate with inhouse teams to fill skill and experience gaps. Many are looking at ways to make this a reality, or they should be if this trend is to continue.

In-house is growing because solicitors who would once have joined a traditional firm and hoped to work their way to partner now have slightly different priorities. They feel that, whilst working to become Head of Legal in a private company typically pays considerably less, this difference is also represented in the hours they have to put into get there.

Time recording and billable hours are not a requirement inhouse. To a certain extent, depending on levels of seniority and whether the business has offices in different times zones, inhouse much more closely resembles a 9-5 role, than working in a firm does.

It’s no secret that to become senior partner in a traditional firm, requires an almost unprecedented level of blood sweat and tears – represented by the huge financial rewards for those who make it – but this just doesn’t appeal to a growing number of candidates.

The majority of industries are seeing a similar approach from employees. It is a generational shift, rather than just an industry blip. In the past, more women have applied for inhouse roles, but we are seeing more and more men who are now interested in this more flexible approach to work.

Whilst a growing number of professionals are finding that they will choose flexibility and time for hobbies and activities over remuneration, this is only a shift, not a takeover. Many people still choose to follow the original path. Working in a law firm can be challenging, invigorating and offer great rewards for the correct person. The key is to understand the vast differences and realise the types of opportunities out there best suited to each individual candidate.

Another key difference working inhouse offers is that solicitors predominantly only need to be familiar with one company. People who enjoy inhouse roles often get a lot out of really being able to sink their teeth into one company and know it inside out. Again, this is a personal thing, as those practising in traditional firms no doubt love the opportunity to work with a variety of clients.

Lastly, within traditional firms, there is a certain amount of business development required. Some legal professionals just don’t enjoy or get their head around that aspect of the role. Regardless of the amount of business development required, they don’t have this skill set despite their legal abilities. Within inhouse teams, vying for business obviously isn’t necessary.

Established recruiters will have a variety of clients looking for good legal professionals from SMEs to large corporates and from small family to huge well-known firms. A more diverse range of opportunities for legal professionals has never existed. Thanks to the rise of inhouse demand, there really is something for everyone.

For further information about making the move into an In-house legal team, contact:

Adam Zdravkovic for in-house legal jobs across the Northwest – adam.zdravkovic@search.co.uk

Esther Caines for in-house legal jobs in Scotland – esther.caines@search.co.uk

David Holden for in-house legal jobs in the South East – david.holden@search.co.uk

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