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What do you think would be more preferable when given the choice between In-House employment and Private Practice in the context of a career in Law? Which one do you think would be the right path for you or which one do you think will be the most suitable option?

Often people believe that with a law degree they get to do a lot more than just working at a law firm. Well, as A. Harrison Barnes would point out, working at a law firm is unquestionably a terrific experience with an edge of its own. Young lawyers who have just started with attorney jobs get tremendous exposure in the varied aspects of Law and Legal services and at the same time get the advantage of being mentored by the senior partners at the law firm. As A. Harrison Barnes mentions, most firms prepare the new attorneys in a unique process where they “learn by doing”.

In this context, A. Harrison Barnes would like to mention some of the obvious benefits for a law graduates if they start their careers with a law firm.

* The research and writing skills of the young attorney gets honed and sharpened from an excellent workout in a competitive surrounding.

* Through hard work and research accompanied with regular exercise he or she can recognize and develop a specialty on which they can proceed with in their future practices.

* The young attorney can have access to the required database using which he or she can prepare their own client list.

Though the earnings, compensation and perks involved in a private practice are without a doubt extremely appealing, the associated burn out that a lawyer may experience from a demanding 80 hour work week is often back breaking. But then after a few years or a decade with a firm, individuals may often start asking themselves if they can now actually find a better career and a better opportunity for themselves. And as A. Harrison Barnes would like to put it this is one of the most common traits to be seen in most of the law practitioners. This is exactly when the appeal of joining the in-house legal team of an organization becomes very strong.

Ask any industry expert like A. Harrison Barnes and they will tell you that, law firm positions and in-house positions both have their individual perks and drawbacks, merits and demerits, but what is more important is to determine your skills, priorities and lifestyle requirements in connection to the legal employment service and then choose the one which fits you the best.

Law Firms

Law firms are the best place to launch one’s career and to venture into the legal employment service. Most of the big corporate houses and corporations do not hire professionals for their legal teams unless and until they have had a few years of working experience and seasoning at any of the leading law firms. This is the case since law firms are a types of ‘”finishing school” for any young lawyer. But then as A. Harrison Barnes would like to mention, the element of “finishing” and a quality “finishing’ obviously is dependent on the kind of firm that he or she has been working for. This is because the quality of the firm directly translates into the quality of coaching and mentoring which a young lawyer receives. This is extremely vital as this is a training ground for the lawyer to sharpen his skills.

The working atmosphere in a small firm is a lot different from the big firms in big cities. Such firms may not have a formal training program and may lag in the overall practice as well. Smaller firms may concentrate only on one aspect of Law. They may also not have the administrative support or library facilities that bigger firms provide. You may have to generate your own client list. The working hours however at smaller firms may be less than big firms. A. Harrison Barnes says that the new associates can develop better client contacts along with an extended level of hands-on practice while working at such firms. On the compensation front, smaller firms may offer smaller start up packages to young lawyers. Benefits may also be less. However, such firms toughen the lawyer to meet the challenges which he will face in the future.

In-House Legal Services

Working as an in-house lawyer is seen as a totally different experience for any practitioner after the environment of a law firm. For in-house clients the first and foremost significant thing is the fact that they have just a single client to deal with. A. Harrison Barnes mentions that the advantage with an in-house service is that the lawyers never have to worry about paying the bills as it the company that pays them a fixed salary at the end of the month. In house practice is also beneficial for the seasoned lawyer. They get an exposure to a wide variety of legal areas which they may not have been exposed to in a legal firm. They are expected to foresee potential problems which may creep up. The working hours for in-house lawyers are not defined. This is because an in-house lawyer needs to put in as many hours as possible tackling a potential issue which has crept into the organization. Since they are responsible for a single client, they need to work as long as it takes to resolve the issue. However, there is a trade-off to the high paying salaries of big law firms. You may have to take a substantial pay cut. But, then organizations offer stock options and bonuses which go a long way to bridge the divide.

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