Knowing which legal pathway is best for your career

Finding the right career path is a challenge virtually all of us will face at some point in our lives, once we’ve found it we will have to find a certain field to specialise in.

If you are considering a career in law there are few choices you will have to make on your career. One of which is whether you work for a firm or an in-house legal team.

Here are some important points of information to note when deciding whether an in-house legal career is right for you.

How many hours are you willing to work?

Law is a field notorious for the long hours it demands from those who choose a career in it. The length of the hours you will be expected to work will depend on the size of the firm you are in. Larger practices will demand longer hours, however, your work will be more specialised. Conversely at smaller firms you will be expected to do more but your hours will be less.

If neither of these options sounds particularly appealing to you finding the right in-house legal team to work for could aid you in your pursuit of a good work-life balance.

How varied would you like the work to be?

There is a reason most newly qualified lawyers choose to start there career at a firm; they offer obvious career progression and the variety in firm sizes means you will be able to find the right one for you.

An in-house legal team is not the first choice for many new lawyers however it can give you the option to learn more about how your legal work affects the wider business. Also, an in-house legal team means you will be working with people from a variety of professional backgrounds.

What would your ideal career progression look like?

In terms of training and overall professional development, both an in-house team and firm offer different benefits. An in-house legal team will be able to give you more industry-specific knowledge/training. This is great if there is a particular industry you are interested in.

Alternatively, a law firm, depending on the size, will have a specified training regime and also a wealth of experienced lawyers to learn from. This is one of the many reasons new lawyers choose to start their career in a law firm.

What stress levels are you willing to work under?

Stress is a difficult factor to measure, yet it plays an important role in any job application. Many lawyers who have made the switch to a firm have talked about the increased stress of an in-house legal team. You are under greater personal responsibility than in a firm despite the fewer hours you are expected to work.

If you relish in increased personal responsibility then an in-house legal team could be the option for you. Additionally, you are far less dispensable at an in-house team than you are at a firm which could lower your stress levels as you know you are in a secure job.