Upward mobility for in-house counsel

August 9, 2017

We, as in-house legal recruitment specialists, are often asked by in-house counsel whether positions have any potential of upward mobility or how to achieve upward mobility within their existing legal departments. In-house legal departments have grown significantly in the last five to ten years with many of them achieving law firm size. Increasingly, in-house departments are also hiring more lawyers on the junior end, meaning more lawyers end up spending the bulk of their practice in an in-house setting. And, without the lock-step nature of the partnership model found in private practice, many lawyers in-house are left wondering about the next step in their career.

Due to the personality type of most lawyers, they are inclined to seek out roles which will allow them to lead or manage. However, these positions are few and far between and given the saturation of lawyers in the 10+ year of call range in-house, many are unsure about how to enhance their career growth.

The key is to make sure you develop a plan that addresses your goals and always seek out new opportunities within your company. Showcase to senior management that you have the ability to contribute proactively to business efficiency and effectiveness. To that end, make sure you take the time to read and understand your company’s financials and business goals, and then offer suggestions for business improvement based on legal learnings. Finally, rather than only considering upward mobility, we encourage candidates to consider cross-training and lateral movement to keep skills sharp and create more interest and diversity in their practices.

If you’re thinking about developing your career plan or would like to discuss career opportunities as in-house counsel, contact one of our in-house legal recruitment specialists to discuss your options.

Sameera Sereda, Managing Partner