In the legal sector, there’s a noticeable increase in experts turning their back on private practice and moving into in-house roles. While this isn’t a mass exodus, it’s enough to mark a significant change in attitudes across the industry. There are currently an estimated 31,000 registered in-house solicitors in the UK, a figure which has tripled over the past 20 years.
Why are people leaving private practice to move in-house?
Although there are many reasons people leave private practice to pursue an in-house role, the typical reasons include a better work-life balance, reduced workload, smaller client portfolio, and the lack of new business work required.
Typically, roles within private practice provide more lucrative opportunities. Working in this side of the legal sector often comes with higher salaries, and the chance to earn partner status drives many Lawyers. In London, around 75% of partners earned more than £250,000 with the top 2% exceeding £2 million. In comparison, our research shows an in-house head of legal role salary ranges from £95,000 to £160,000.
However, while the private practice roles have a monetary advantage, they also come with increased workloads which often are not compatible with managing commitments outside of the boardroom.
Whilst figures vary dramatically from firm to firm, some practices can have hundreds of clients in any given month, especially in areas with a fast case turnaround. If adequate talent is not sourced, this leads to increased workloads for the existing workforce. This issue has been exacerbated by COVID-19 in a number areas: