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Species of In-House Lawyer - For the Amateur Observer

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18 April 2017 10:54

My first post in this series about in-house life generated a rather healthy debate and I would like to thank all those who commented (yes, even you). All attention is good attention, right?

This week, for your delectation, I present a beginners’ guide to in-house spotting.

The list below is by no means a full summary of the species of in-house lawyer one may encounter in the wild. But, for the amateur observer, what follows is a list of common breeds that will serve to get you started.

Photo: Juditu @ Morguefile

The Born and Bred (“B&B”) – B&Bs are raised in-house. They know all about supply chains, R&D and can chirrup business lingo like - well, a business person. Had they tried to join the big-city flocks, they may well have been rejected. Luckily it’s never bothered them much. Their commercial awareness is second to none, despite their 2:2 from Sheffield.

The Wannabe (“WB”) – A close cousin of the B&B. The WB’s distinguishing feature is a general lack of contentment. WBs mourns their rejection from the city, lust after the eloquent song of their private-practice cousins and toil for curiously long hours, looking on in disdain when the YP’s flit-off at five on the dot.  

The Tactical Mover (“TM”) – TMs spend a proper amount of time in private-practice, honing their craft and plumping the nest for winter. They only fly to new territory on proper inspection of the site and with assurances of comfort and life-long respect firmly in place.

The Young Parent (“YP”) – YPs move in-house shortly after the birth of their first baby. Once they get over the rather shambolic nature of the new environment they adapt to it well, bringing a sense of the city to the suburban nest. High proportion of females. Their offspring attend 8am-6pm nurseries.  

The Instant Convert (“IC”) – The IC is a rare breed but can be spotted on close observation of the field. ICs are raised in private-practice but feel the discomforts keenly. Fearing Stockholm Syndrome, the IC leaves the city on qualification, willing to go wherever will have them. They normally harbour secret intentions to give up the whole thing as a bad lot.

How about you - have you spotted any other breeds out in the wild?



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anonymous user
19/04/2017 22:07
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The Found Out (FO) - private practice lawyer who was an outsourcer to counsel and project managed files. Poor value for money and failed to become a client relationship manager as they tried to rework their job. After eventually being found out they leverage a move in-house. Often closely aligned to the YP.
anonymous user
21/04/2017 09:10
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The Too Tired ("TT") - these peculiar birds love working in big law firms, but the price (in terms of health, family etc.) is for them just too high.
21/04/2017 12:03
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Glad to see you have such a positive view of in-house lawyers anon! There are places to hide in both PP and in-house, I would sugget that the risk of being "found-out" applies to both work places. Managing internal clients is a crucial part of the job for senior in-house lawyers as well. Also, don't some FO's remain in PP as "of-counsel" or an equivalent position that sits just underneath or along-side partner?

And there are certainly some TTs about - though by the time they leave I imagine their love for the big firm has diminshed somewhat?