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What bothers in-house counsel compared to what might prompt them to leave

Given 10 choices of “least rewarding aspect of your job,” the 400 plus in-house attorneys responded to an online survey in December 2005 most frequently picked “career advancement opportunities” (39%). As reported in InsideCounsel, March 2006 at 48, the other downsides to an in-house career they ranked were “managing a budget” (16% selected), “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%).

A second question asked what would motivate them to seek new employment. “Advance my career” (28%), “make more money” (27%), “work for a better company” (5%), “acquire greater job security” (5%), “work in a more interesting industry” (4%), “reduce my workload” (3%), “none. I am fully satisfied.” (19%), and “other” (9%) were the findings. I could imagine a choice for location or spousal migration.

Compare the downsides of inside to the upsides of leaving for another law department. Career advancement tops both lists. It’s a “slow probability” inside and the new employer can remedy it. Making more money was not asked about on the downside question, but “benefits package” was number four on that list. Perhaps “culture” on the downside partly overlaps with “work for a better company” and “job security” as a lure to leave, but the match is imperfect. Work overload as a reason to leave has no counterpart on the downside list, which is an unfortunate omission. Likewise, the criticisms list left no opportunity to say, “None. I am fully satisfied.”

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