Do in-house counsel shoot from the hip on legal advice more than outside lawyers?

The Career Development Office at Yale Law School has posted online a guide for its law students who may be interested in working in a business setting. One chapter talks about in-house practice. Toward the end of the discussion about the advantages of working in a law department, the author makes a comment about stress (See my post of June 11, 2008: stress with 18 references.). “Because of time constraints, in-house counsel often do not have time to research issues fully before rendering legal advice. While some attorneys enjoy working under these conditions, others find this type of setting stressful.”

Do lawyers in law firms have time to “research issues fully” before rendering advice? If a company is willing to pay what it costs for full and deep research externally, why wouldn’t it absorb that cost internally? Also, the implication here is that in-house counsel may not know what they are talking about, whereas the partner in a law firm solidly draws on a better base of legal research.

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