Overview of the in-house legal jobs market
Over the past ten years, in-house positions have become increasingly appealing to motivated solicitors as an alternative to the pressures and ever more competitive environments of private practice. Law Society statistics show that between the years 2000 and 2012, the in-house lawyer population doubled from 11,800 to 23,500, constituting 18% of the total solicitor population; this trend continued rising in subsequent years to the point that, in 2015, 22% of all practicing lawyers were working in-house and one in four solicitors are now employed by an organisation and work exclusively in-house.
According to a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) report, the role of in-house lawyers has developed into a much more multifaceted and challenging one than was the case ten years ago. In addition to proffering legal advice on a disparate range of legal issues such as employment, copyright, property and general commercial law, in-house solicitors also have to deal with anything from compliance, advising Human Resources, contributing to business decisions, liaising with external regulatory and investigatory bodies, and dealing with trading agreements and marketing. In this sense, the sheer scope of work, which allows lawyers to operate in dynamic commercial environments on a variety of legal and business issues, is seen as one of the biggest attractions of moving in-house.
This guide will set out some of the main issues connected with going in-house as a UK lawyer and what you might need to think about when considering an in-house position. The following articles cover: