What bugs in-house lawyers? Limited opportunities to rise, but some surprises, too

Given 10 choices on a question asking about the “least rewarding aspect of your job,” more than 400 in-house attorneys who responded to an online survey in December 2005 pointed the finger the most (39% of the time) at “career advancement opportunities.” As reported in InsideCounsel, March 2006 at 48, the other downsides to an in-house career were “managing a budget” (16% selected it), “company culture” (12%), “benefits package” (12%), “managing people” (6%), “supervisors” (6%), “dealing with outside counsel” (4%), “colleagues” (2%), “type of legal work” (2%), and “working with business people” (1%).

I want to pick at this selection.

Most multiple-choice questions leave off some choices, but make up for it with “other” (See my post of Dec. 20, 2005 on methodology and multiple-choice surveys.) This one did not. I would have thought the survey would have asked about “cash base and bonus” instead of only “benefits.” I also would have thought it legitimate to ask about something along the lines of “tension between being a cop and a counselor” or “inadequate support resources.” Two more critiques. Few in-house counsel manage budgets, and the common complaint isn’t about type of legal work but amount of legal work.

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