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The move in-house - do you have what it takes?

15 February 10

Sponsored column on the skills needed for in-house work, and how to find out more

by Frasia Wright

In the light of the challenges of the current downturn, many organisations are responding to the financial crisis by reviewing and expanding their internal legal capabilities.

At Frasia Wright Associates we understand that the in-house sector is diverse, from commerce and industry to the public sector and not-for-profit sector, and presents a varying range of industry-specific needs and challenges, as well as opportunities! As a regular sponsor of the In-house Lawyers Group, we have built up our knowledge of the in-house market, and have developed our understanding of the experience and skills most appropriately suited to the businesses and requirements of our in-house clients, whether on a permanent basis or even on an interim basis.

The in-house sector has seen rapid expansion in Scotland in recent years.

What are the ideal skills of an in-house lawyer?

Clients will always look for technically competent lawyers to enhance their in-house legal teams, and will want to employ lawyers who are a good cultural fit. What is also certain, however, is that different skills are required from in-house lawyers.

In small legal teams your workload may be far more broadly focused, and you may therefore frequently be asked to provide advice or guidance outside your area of expertise. The in-house legal team will be the recipient of a huge and varied number of requests and queries from every other department within the company, and you may also from time to time be required to provide training beyond the legal team to ensure that your colleagues in other departments are compliant with the law and its myriad processes and procedures.

You must demonstrate that you are able and willing to move beyond your comfort zone. The control and instruction of external counsel will also fall under your remit, and although there will be times when instructing external counsel will be unavoidable, you will not have a free rein and will be obliged to adhere to budgetary constraints. There is currently an ongoing debate amongst in-house counsel as to how viable the hourly rates charged by external counsel are going forward.

As always, if you’re interested in finding out more about working in-house, why not talk to people who do – talk to friends, friends of friends, clients – indeed anyone who may be able to help you find out a little more.

Each of the Frasia Wright Associates’ In-House Track™ Specialist Consultants is familiar with the in-house recruitment process, so simply gives us a call… we love to talk!

  • Frasia Wright Associates, The Barn, Stacklawhill, by Stewarton, Ayrshire KA3 3EJ. Tel: 01294 850501. www.frasiawright.com
  • Frasia Wright is Managing Director of legal recruitment specialists Frasia Wright Associates

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