In the past, in-house legal was considered an easy option to practice law and less prestigious than working in a law firm. Those days are long gone, and in-house legal roles are well sought after. Making the move in-house has definite pros and cons.

There are several advantages and disadvantages to in-house legal work compared to working in private practice, and it’s important to evaluate these thoroughly.

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of in-house legal.

Pro’s of making the move in-house

Time recording- no demands for having to time record billable hours.

Remuneration packages– corporates generally offer more soft benefits e.g. unlimited sick leave, life insurance, health insurance, extended pay parental leave, higher superannuation top-ups, hybrid working, flexible hours.

Flexible Hours/hybrid working– helping to create that work-life balance, no more working till midnight or weekends.

Commercial exposure- working within a broad range of law and introducing you to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders and working closely with board members, CEOs, CFO, and COO, Marketing, HR

Con’s of making the move in-house

Career progressive- limited opportunities for career progression

Earning capacity– the earning capacity isn’t as great compared to climbing the ranks to partnership  private practice 

Transitioning back to private practice– once you have been in-house for a few years, it can be harder to make the transition back to private practice with less of an appetite from law firms

Redundancy– law firms generally have a low risk of redundancy compared to corporates

Making that choice to move to in-house legal or staying in private practice isn’t a decision to make lightly. There are different skills needed to be successful in-house compared to private practice. Make sure you do your due and take time to determine if it’s the right career move for you. It’s just one of the changes we’ve noticed in the legal job market.

If you would like to explore options or get some advice, talk to our in-house legal specialist Sarah Innes.

Sarah Innes

P:  03 666 0015
E:  sinnes@tylerwren.co.nz