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Lifestyle Changes that Affect In-house Counsel Attorneys

published July 03, 2012

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Lifestyle perceptions and feelings of well-being vary from person to person according to a person's background, cultural conditioning, and personal philosophy. Most people have their own individual life philosophies whether they choose to share their personal philosophies or not. How a person interprets a particular environment or situation as either good or bad is influenced by his/her philosophy and overall life experiences. With that said, there are many truths as well as myths about working as an in-house counsel or as an attorney in a private law firm. Here, we will be taking a look at factors that affect attorneys moving in-house.

Reasons For Going In-House
What do attorneys like about going in-house?

The real difference is in the lifestyle change. For example, an in-house counsel attorney often enjoys shorter hours, options of owning company stock, the ability to make business decisions, and the variety of work. There are many incentives for going in-house. At the end of the day, whether transitioning into an in-house counsel position is the best alternative depends upon the person. There are those who thrive in-house and there are those attorneys who thrive in law firms. Some of the advantages gained in this lifestyle transition to an in-house counsel position are included below.

Becoming a better communicator

While you are working for a law firm, clients are bound to listen to what you are saying even though they may not like the manner you articulate yourself. Substantive knowledge of law has its privileges, and you can get ahead with subject expertise in law firms, even though you may not be a great communicator. However, once you are working in-house, your client is not bound to listen to you if you are unable to get your ideas across. So, in response to the challenge, in-house counsel attorneys often become better communicators and people managers – thus increasing their quality of life all around.

Getting the chance to put business ideas into practice

Many attorneys are entrepreneurs at heart. In fact, before the Y generation came in, the average guy who went to law school used to dream of working solo or opening his/her law firm and working independently. When the law firm model became increasingly popular, working at a law firm became more desirable than working solo. We do not have Clarence Darrows anymore, but we sure have an increasing number of “Steves who did in Dewey.” For those few attorneys, who still remain entrepreneurs at heart, working as in-house counsel provides the opportunity to place themselves at the forefront of business decision making process and having the satisfaction of seeing their business ideas put into practice.

Becoming a true team-worker

Practicing in a private law firm rarely teaches an attorney the way teamwork is done in big corporate businesses. To remain successful as in-house counsel, attorneys are compelled to become top notch team players. They need to collaborate with others both inside and external to the legal department, and the in-house counsel attorneys also need to be effective liaisons between the in-house interests and external service providers. To get it all done properly, attorneys quickly become team players and ultimately begin enjoying life. The ability to share knowledge and get things moving is remarkable, when an in-house counsel attorney is a true team player. Attorneys learn to look beyond the billable hour. In sum, the transition from a law firm to an in-house counsel position is a life-altering move.

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