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In House or Private Practice-Which is right for you?

Updated on March 11, 2013

In house or private practice? Aspiring attorneys find it hard to decide between these two options. Those who are already working for law firms face dilemma whether to stick to their existing job or shift to in house. This blog will focus on the differentiating factors between in house and private practice and why you should opt for an in house position.

What is the difference between the two?

In house

There is a huge difference between working in house and for a law firm. In the first place, in-house attorneys deal with one client i.e. the company or organisation they work for. This means there is no pressure to build a large client base. If you work in house, you do not need to worry regarding billable hours since your only client gives you the salary.

In house jobs involve many benefits such as higher compensation package, predictable working hours and job benefits (bonuses, health insurance and others). There is the opportunity to work under the guidance of senior and experienced professionals.

Private practice

Private practice or working for law firms give the opportunity to

· Learn by performing

· Hone communication and research skills

· Develop a specialisation

· Establish a client base

There are negative sides of engaging in private practice as well. Unpredictable working hours, handling endless paperwork and the absence of job benefits (offered in in house jobs) are to name a few. After few years of working for a firm, you may question yourself whether there is a better way. You may then, consider getting an in house job.

What are the duties of an in house attorney?

In house attorneys are assigned with several responsibilities. They have to work in different areas like contracts, acquisitions and transactions. Those working in multinational companies need to work on foreign law as well. In short, in house attorneys are generalists. The common duties of such professionals are mentioned in the following:

· Predict potential problems and prevent them from occurring

· Working closely with businesses to set up business terms, detect legal issues and determine the level of risk which can be dealt with

· Working as reliable business advisors and reporting to the senior executives

As an aspiring in house attorney, you should be ready to perform these responsibilities. Now, let us know what skills are essential to fulfil these tasks successfully.

What are the skills required?

The key skills necessary to become a successful in house attorney are

· Communication

· Analytical

· Problem-solving

· Team-working

Along with these, strong base of knowledge in the industry where you are looking for in house lawyer jobs is also a big requirement.

Secrets to succeed in In house

Here are some tips for a successful career in in house jobs:

· Gain knowledge about your duties and responsibilities. Large-scale companies appoint a number of attorneys. Make sure the division of tasks is comprehensible.

· Have a thorough understanding of the business like how the company (you wish to work for) earn profits and how the business cycle operates

· Stay updated with the current legal amendments and developments.

Why In house?

Keeping in view the economy at present, a large number of law firms are stopping their operations. On the other hand, job stability is guaranteed with in house positions. If you are interested to work on an extensive range of legal matters and do not want to be pressurised to specialise (which is common in law firms), in-house jobs can be the right option for you. Since you will be required to handle a large number of tasks in different areas, higher proficiency level is essential.


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