If you’re a private practice lawyer looking for an in-house role, the jobs market is competitive. Read our top tips on how to secure yourself a move.
Put yourself forward for secondments
If you can manage to secure a secondment with one of your clients, this can give you a massive advantage. The reality is that the in-house environment is completely different to private practice, so any knowledge you do have of this different way of working will work in your favour. Sector-specific experience is by no means essential but is an even bigger tick in the box for employers.
Broaden your experience
The reality is that the in-house environment is completely different to private practice, so any knowledge you do have of this different way of working will work in your favour.
Employers look for CVs that highlight versatility so try to broaden your skills as much as possible. They really value commercial experience and knowledge of other legal disciplines (e.g. litigation), so make sure you highlight this when you apply for in-house jobs.
Develop client-facing skills
Employers really value business development or client-facing experience – you will be representing the legal division to the rest of the business so you need to be a good communicator. Try to develop these skills where you can.
The legal teams we recruit for are often small so hiring decisions can come down to personality fit rather than technical skills. While you shouldn't change who you are, try to mirror the mood of the interviewer as much as possible.
Wait till you’re 2-5 years’ PQE
Most in-house legal jobs are for lawyers with 2 – 5 years’ PQE. This is because employers are looking for people who can confidently advise the rest of the business. While there are some exceptions to this rule, you will stand the best chance of securing a move in-house if you wait until you are at this level.
Develop and sell your language skills
As companies seek to grow overseas, a lot of cross-border work throughout Europe is being created. This means we are seeing demand for language skills – specifically French, German and Spanish. So if you have experience of any of these, getting yourself back up to speed will give you a definite edge. But don’t oversell your language skills because most employers will test you at interview.