Robert Ivens, a member of The Centre for Legal Leadership Advisory Panel, answers questions on the personal development of in-house lawyers.
Do you have any tips for a senior lawyer who has worked in-house for the majority of their career and is now looking for a new challenge?
The first thing to realise is that you are in an excellent position. You have three things, in particular, going for you:
- Firstly, you already have the legal and business skills and experience to make you a very attractive option to a potential employer or client.
- Secondly, the legal industry is moving your way: there is a plethora of part-time, non-permanent opportunities fed by the demands of clients (whether businesses, charities or government departments) and legal businesses emerging to meet them (for example, LOD, Axiom and Peerpoint (Allen & Overy)).
- Thirdly, you now have a degree of freedom of choice that is probably greater than at any other time during your career: a maternity relief for nine months? A project requiring business and legal skills for three months? A more permanent but part-time role? All are potentially available to you.
The one cautionary note is that change brings its own challenges and discomforts. Only you will know whether the opportunities that present themselves to you will suit you. Use your contacts, talk to businesses in the legal industry who can provide these opportunities, sit back and assess your options. There has never been a better time!
For further information, see Article, Re-evaluating your career path: getting out of in-house law.