A naive question but…why is an in-house role “easier” and so sought after? Bedsides no billables of course.

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You get to outsource the grind of it all to outside counsel. I think in house is much harder in terms of politics and having to answer to your superiors.

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I’ve done both and think law firm is better.

Many in-house attorneys work just as hard as law firm attorneys and can’t point to big billable hours to show it.

You usually have one boss who you may hate, unlike big law where you can find a few people you enjoy working for.

You aren’t individually rewarded for your contributions as easily in-house.

Promotions in-house are much harder - there are limited spaces to move up.

In-house work makes you less marketable.

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Grass is greener. It isn’t always.

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The heavy lifting is all outsourced. You don’t have court deadlines. It’s a lot more flexible. You can make big money working 9-5 and no weekends. There’s a lot more room for growth. Although the company is your client, you aren’t really dealing with clients. Obviously no billables - which means less accountability (no one knows when you had a light week). It’s cushy and clean- it’s country club lawyering. I would never ever go back to a firm.

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Wlb. I’ve been in house for a year or so. I have never worked a weekend and rarely work evenings. My pay took a cut but not a bad one, and it was definitely worth the wlb. Benefits are also much better.

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I think people assume you work fewer hours in house, which is separate from having to track/bill hours.

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The thing with in-house is that it can vary a lot, but just invest sometime going back on these posts and you will see, regardless of what individual opinions are, that generally, it is the way to go. I know I’m on the quest.

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Object - compound question.

I’ve been in house for 2 years and do not think the role itself is easier than firm life it just has different stressors. I’m in a litigation role and would be curious to hear from corporate colleagues. In my role, I still have to read and review all briefs that are filed not only for factual accuracy, but also for consistency across all messaging of my company. I have had to rewrite briefs done by some pretty reputable firms. While I don’t have to do legal research anymore - that was never what killed in at the firm. On top of briefs, I manage budgets, insurance, risk reporting, and have to do so in a way that fits within the corporate umbrella. It’s hard work. Also, don’t assume that in house is 9-5. I manage global litigation and am frequently on calls in depositions etc at times that work for folks on the other side of the world.

As for sought after, ideologically staying in a firm doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. Many of us went to law school in hopes of using this skill set to support something we value, and can’t find that within a firm.

If you’re a litigator who likes litigation, is good at, and you don’t care who you’re using your chops for, stay at a firm. The money is better and eventually you can negotiate a better wlb by going to 50% and still make way more than your in house colleagues.

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Everyone will have different experiences.

I’m part of a legal department that doesn’t outsource the heavy lifting (at least not on my team) and does the nuts and bolts of transactional work.

I love it because I do far deeper dives into fewer transactions, but the quality of the transactions are still significant. I might still have 5 or 6 meaningful transactions going on at any time, but those deals typically have longer lead times and I control their pace as much as my colleagues.

The line between business and legal also tends to get fuzzy, and depending on the nature of your gig, you may end up playing what’s functionally a hybrid role (despite having a business lead actively involved), which results in a much more wholistic practice for some of us.

Most importantly, I’m essentially viewed as a partner of my non-legal colleagues - we are much more a deal group than we are members of our respective departments. That’s really enriching and rewarding as compared to being viewed as a mere service provider by clients when I was outside counsel. That creates a totally different dynamic in my day to day practice.

Oh, and I make a pretty fair income ($400k-$500k) in a MCOL city while mostly having my time outside of traditional working hours generally respected.

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Wine are actually looking for an 8-10 year real estate lawyer for a more junior position that will grow into my role.

Of course, YMMV based on the company, but the main difference with the 2 different in-house roles has been:

- Generally more chill, fair, and even-keeled colleagues and leadership. No one is a "rainmaker" so assholes are just assholes and there's no need to kowtow to them. Most came from big law and left it for the same reasons.
- WLB and flexibility. The stress of the legal grind is outsourced to outside counsel
- Getting to actually know a business/industry and what makes it tick as a business partner, not a service provider (although service is still part of it)
- No billables, no "contribution time," no need to "credential" yourself

Cons:
- Less pay, but worth it for all of the above

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Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. Next question: who’s hiring? 😂

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