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Career Progression for Experienced In-house Legal Professionals

Updated on April 21, 2013

Career advancement in in-house legal jobs is distinct from private practice in terms of variation in the utilisation and measurement of legal resources. As a fee-earning professional in a law firm, it is possible for you to open up your opportunities for promotion through client development, revenue and profit contribution and relevant work. On the other hand, an in-house legal department works as a support function to the business entities. The structure and size of such teams are usually pre-determined. With the changing fortunes of the business they support, in-house legal teams also undergo changes. If there are scarce opportunities for career advancement, teams will naturally become less hierarchal and more flat-structured.

Well, you need not be discouraged as you can progress in your in-house legal career certainly. One business features a diverse structure from another. As a result of which career progression takes place in varied forms. After gaining considerable years of experience as an in-house legal professional, you may be able to climb the promotion ladder with higher salary amount. You may be deemed eligible for the position of legal manager or general counsel. Also, the higher management may decide to give you the role of transactional lawyer or a high-ranking advisory.

What can boost your chances?

You have your competitors at workplace. They must be looking for career advancement opportunities as well. So, you need to put in some extra efforts to keep yourself ahead of them. The first thing you should do is to study the commercial environment (you are working in) thoroughly to determine how you can add value to it. This is the key to advancement in a corporate structure. It is worth mentioning that the clientele plays a very influential role similar to that of your legal manager to decide whether you are qualified to attain a senior position. When it comes to deciding for the legal manager and general counsel roles, the business leaders like CEO or CFO appoints directly.

As an experienced legal professional, your skills are widespread and strong already. However, when you perform a more crucial role, there will be more emphasis on high-end leadership and business skills. Leadership qualities are reflected in how mature you are and the integrity and the capability to convince and motivate your team. Excellent communication and people skills combined with strong business awareness are vital to establish your viability for the business.

Other skills that you need to showcase are analytical and sound problem-solving abilities. You must be a trustworthy adviser and a prompt decision-maker and problem-solver.

While these qualities are inborn in some people, others require developing them. If you are among the former ones, your experience will hone your skills. In case you belong to the latter category, you can develop these skills by enrolling yourself in a soft skills academy.

These are the requirements for advancing in an in-house legal career. You may frame your approach according to these requirements and also considering the business scenario within your organisation.

If you are thinking of company change, you will have to count on these skills to grab the golden opportunity. In this connection, it is necessary to keep abreast with the most suitable opportunities. Referring to the classified ads regularly is a good idea. Since you are already a professional, it is easier to build strong networks within the industry. The networks can give you a really good opportunity.

Another option which is considered the best is contacting a recruitment agency for this purpose. The recruitment service should be esteemed and reliable. Sacco Mann Recruitment service has been placing competent candidates in leading companies throughout the UK in the legal spectrum.


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