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Going In-House

Unique Aspects Of In-house Positions

Many attorneys dream about moving in-house one day, expecting 9-to-5 hours, a family-friendly environment, stability, and high income. But the reality is that in-house jobs vary just as much as firm jobs do. You may be working with a large group of people, or you may be the only junior associate in a group working with three senior attorneys. You may be making significantly more in bonus and compensation, or you may be offered less than your starting salary at a firm. Your “family-friendly” in-house gig may require you to travel or work on weekends. After seeking an intellectually challenging position, you may be disappointed to discover that your in-house job involves very little substantive work. The bottom line is, do your research before interviewing and accepting an offer so that you are not blindsided.

Kelly recently accepted an in-house position at a small start-up company. Although she is optimistic about her career prospects, she admits that her job is far from what she had expected. As a senior associate at a prestigious New York firm, she was often working on the weekends. But she was also well-compensated for every hour billed, receiving a hefty bonus at the end of the year on top of her $200,000-plus salary. And, if she disliked working with a certain partner, she had no difficulty turning to someone else for work in the large corporate department of her firm. Things are different now. Kelly reports to two attorneys and, when things go wrong, she is the first to be blamed. Although her supervisors are friendly, they do not hesitate to send her assignments on the weekends. Kelly also recently discovered that her job involves traveling—something she was not aware of when she interviewed for the position shortly after the birth of her son. Kelly admits that sometimes she secretly wishes she could go back to her firm life.

Most in-house positions do carry such benefits as work stability, no billable hour requirements, and a reduced schedule. But there are also plenty of in-house jobs with demanding work schedules and reduced compensation. Before moving in-house, always investigate what your new position will entail.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsGoing In-House - Unique Aspects Of In-house Positions, The Interview Process, The Importance Of Homework, Personality Fit