Things to know as an inhouse corporate lawyer
The life of an in-house corporate lawyer is glamourous and often lead aspiring lawyers to determine between an independent practicing lawyer vis-à-vis an in-house lawyer. However, before taking that right call, let’s look at the following to have a better understanding of the position of an in-house counsel.
The role of an In-house counsel is extremely attractive for any aspiring lawyer but has distinct differences from a private practice. In case of practicing privately, the question of being named in the list of expenses is not of the criteria, however, being an in-house counsel, the expense becomes a factor. This is primarily because of the profit driven approach and the role of staffing is given higher effect. Therefore, in-house counsels have the responsibility to be a productive economic variable and must ensure their space proactively.
Long and arduous meetings:
Practicing privately does not encumber the lawyer with documentation and arduous meetings, however, in-house corporate lawyers are proactively a part of a larger teams therefore, keeping in sync and working in alignment is a foremost requirement. Along with the need to be updated with each team member, there are multiple issues at stake that require huddle meetings on a regular basis which is targeted to allow the in-house lawyers to be in loop regarding the financial aspect of the management and many other administrative issues that creates more spaces for brainstorming and allocate responsibilities through these meetings which can be a little tedious.
It has been noted that for any legal team or launching a legal team the in-house lawyer often functions solely and in the absence of a large team, there could be a sense of abandonment. Therefore, it is crucial that any new in-house lawyer masters the art of networking and building relationships within and in the exterior legal field. A lot of such built relationships come very handy within the functioning of a case. The networks must entail an over all exchange of information and ideas that does not solely revolve around legal issues but the industry at large and the possibilities of extending the scope for exchanging team support and developments.
The role of an in-house counsel often ranges from a sole work to extremely minuscule work depending upon the company and working team. In small teams, the in-house counsel must be responsible for creating their own path and have control over establishing their own work. The need to have extended information must be acquired solely and the lawyer must be able to grow and develop with regards to anything that comes up unexpectedly.
Update and grow
It’s pertinent that the world of law is filled with oddities and uncertainties, thus the need to be vigilant and have a sense of smelling any new upcoming area. The laeyer must be adequately skilled to face challenging areas, learn newer concepts and brainstorm depending on future possible risks.
The role of an in-house lawyer is definitely large scaled in terms of expectations and learning, therefore, it automatically allows the new entries to move beyond and above their comfort zones. Even though, this is a good indication of a thralling career as developments occur purely out of one’s comfort zone. There is massive room for inventive though process, critical thinking and specialize at one end as law has never ending depths.
Legal expertise cannot be grown within the limitations of the four walls. It is important for one to realise that an in-house counsel shall have larger responsibilities than as what is commonly known. The company generally runs on certain cultures, values and ethics and its mandatory for an in-house counsel to be adapted with the environment on a larger scale like the purpose or the ultimate goal of the company. This thought process can allow the lawyer to become an integral part of the company and acquire a sense of trust that does not limit itself within the precincts of law only.
There is no alternative to having an extensive knowledge about the company, the desired sector and the subject area that the company generally traverses. It is even applauded if the lawyer is aware of his or her weaknesses and strengths and have the potential to turn those weaknesses into strengths with each passing day. It must be known to the lawyer that there is going to be uncomfortable areas and newer areas that one may stumble upon, however, the zeal to acquire knowledge, recognize disabilities and courage walk on towards gaining the depth of knowledge is appreciated.
This is the most crucial aspect of any career choice and for any in-house lawyer it must be told as have been by many previously, that the pays and benefits within the in-house lawyer job roles becomes slightly stagnant after a point. At the beginning of a junior counsel, the pay could seem attractive, however, it does not glorify its limits at par with private practice. An in-house lawyer must be aware of the limitations of the role especially because in smaller spaces, the range of hierarchy is often limited. Thus, the space for growth hierarchically in terms of promotion also gets limited.
While many in-house lawyers reserve an experience in practicing privately and dealing with commercial cases having an insight into the world of corporate affairs, the in-house counsels are also trained sufficiently which would include an insight not only into the commercial cases but an overview of the entire company which definitely comes handy for all.
It’s no news for practicing lawyers to have an idea as to the number of hours are essentially required for any practicing lawyer. In case of in-house counsel the scenario is not completely different, especially as a junior legal in house lawyer, the need to have a diverse mindset and an inquisitive attitude towards knowing new things and not shying away from putting in more effort than required. Long brief readings, meetings, reviews etc. shall become the part of the day and an aspiring lawyer must be ready to face all kinds of challenges.
No matter what the position of an in-house counsel is, it is extremely important for one to think in terms of value addition as the roles must be designed individually but the expectations could be versatile. Therefore, rather than just having a job perspective, an in house lawyer must be able to think collectively and have the intention to add his/her own value within the job role that should exceed the role expectations offered.
An in-house lawyer must also be equipped to work under pressure and in times of emergencies be able to delegate work as required. For this, an understanding of each workforce and their capacities must eb evaluated and a fair understanding of every one’s strength and weaknesses is crucial. This will further help in accomplishing the delegated work effectively within the designated time frame. In case of the leader, its important for the leader to know the capacities and potentials involved and distribute work accordingly. Therefore, the quality to delegate is also an antithesis to having control and authoritative approach over the work but deems to be equally important.