Based on the responses of 348 in-house counsel (one-third of which are general counsel and 51 percent come from public companies), InsideCounsel, March 2010 at 47, discloses nine advantages of working as in-house counsel, plus rankings.
“Work-life balance” led with 32.4 percent of the respondents choosing it, followed by “Exposure to the business side” at 24.5 percent. Coming in third was “Variety of legal work” (17.4%) and fourth, “Working for one client” (12.5%)
First, note that the drop-off to fifth place and below was large – “Job security” (4.6%), “Management opportunities” (3.7%), “Pay and benefits” (1.8%), “Career advancement opportunities” (1.6%), and “My colleagues” (1.5%).
Second, variety of work is one thing, sophistication of work is another. The implicit view seems to be that legally challenging work remains the forte of firms.
The more that law firm work becomes transactional, the less partners and associates can get to know a client. “Working for one client” suggests that deepening familiarity over time is attractive to significant numbers of in-house attorneys.
Collegiality matters little (the tiniest advantage of working inside), which supports my sense that silos may not matter all that much as lawyers work mostly with clients, not with colleagues.