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maybemaybe

Government and in-house lawyers lifestyle

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4 minutes ago, maybemaybe said:

do you think a government lawyer could make a transition to in house as well? from what ive seen, some work on the commerical side of things as well which can be useful for in house work. I'd be interested in that kind of role working on commercial or labour law or working in banking law.

 

also, are in house positions concentrated in only certain places in canada? for example in places like vancouver and toronto where there are larger companies 

I can't really answer either of those questions. What I would recommend you do is browse through people's profiles on Linkedin. Do some searching and see what type of background in house counsel have for various types of positions. You'll see their year of call, city, and how long they worked where and did what. It's probably the best way for you to figure out the pathway to get to those positions. 

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25 minutes ago, SS624 said:

I can't really answer either of those questions. What I would recommend you do is browse through people's profiles on Linkedin. Do some searching and see what type of background in house counsel have for various types of positions. You'll see their year of call, city, and how long they worked where and did what. It's probably the best way for you to figure out the pathway to get to those positions. 

oh ok thats a good idea, thanks for answering my questions!

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10 hours ago, samii said:

I don't have anything to add to the discussion wrt law, but my friends who recently graduated from engineering and are now working jobs keep complaining that they have nothing to do. They're also earning the same - if not much more - than what a JD grad fresh out of law school would be earning. 

If you're looking for a career that pays well with minimal work, there are definitely easier paths. As someone who left one of the fields you listed above in favour of law school, - granted, I won't be starting till September - really think about what you'd be okay with doing for hours on end. 

are they software engineers? that might be why they seem to earn more with a nice work life balance

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Just wondering if anyone on here knows if you have to be bilingual to secure most government job positions? 

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1 minute ago, thumper300 said:

Just wondering if anyone on here knows if you have to be bilingual to secure most government job positions? 

Negative. I don't speak French. I went through the process for a number of provincial and federal government jobs, all in Anglo provinces, and this never came up once.

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I work in house and my work life balance is very good. In the beginning of my career I was pulling longer hours, but that was more due to the company I was working for. Now I do more or less 40 hours (work over lunch, etc) and am able to manage the daycare run. I travel a bit for work, or at least I did before, and that’s been a bit challenging but manageable. I make more than $150k or whatever by quite a bit so it’s doable. 
 

In house positions can be quite competitive. People often ask me about going in house. When it’s students they often assume it’s not as competitive as getting a firm job and that it’ll be easier since private practice is more prestigious and you make more money.  Interestingly when it’s private practice  lawyers it’s them asking me how to break in. It’s  It’s rare to get an in house job out of law school, but from what I understand is becoming more common. Typically you do have to have firm experience beforehand, not necessarily big firm, but certainly corporate/commercial type work. These days though many companies prefer to hire people with at least some in house experience under their belt. Once you are in house, it’s easier to move around to other in house jobs. 

the reason you got a mixed response on Reddit is because in house jobs vary a lot. It depends on your company, the size of your department and also your individual career goals. In house isn’t the easy law job as it once was. 

Edited by tanx

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When I got my position, the position had been open for almost a year (covered by a rotation of seconded Bay St associates). They were looking for the perfect mix of experience and were not going to settle. Luckily someone knew someone who knew someone who knew me (an old mentor of mine on Bay St, still a partner at a big firm) and convinced me that it would be a better position than it sounded like on paper, since I had seen the posting and wasn't interested in applying. And he was right!

 

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Do some practice areas at full service firms have a better chance at lateraling into in-house positions? How does commercial real estate fare?

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2 hours ago, stbajeff said:

Do some practice areas at full service firms have a better chance at lateraling into in-house positions? How does commercial real estate fare?

Being a generalist (either corporate/commercial solicitor or litigator) will help your chances the most.

However, often companies with an in-house team want to hire lawyers who can complement their corporate strategy. For example, if a company expects to be buying a lot of smaller companies in the near future then they'll probably  hire an M&A specialist. If a company expects to launch an IPO they'll probably hire a securities specialist. If a company expects to be in legal trouble they'll hire a litigator.

A company may want to hire a commercial real estate lawyer if they intend on acquiring or selling a lot of property (i.e., a rapidly expanding retail store, or a high-density property developer).

Edited by canuckfanatic

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20 hours ago, CleanHands said:

Negative. I don't speak French. I went through the process for a number of provincial and federal government jobs, all in Anglo provinces, and this never came up once.

Good to hear.. Thanks for clarifying! 

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On 2/19/2021 at 6:03 PM, tanx said:

I work in house and my work life balance is very good. In the beginning of my career I was pulling longer hours, but that was more due to the company I was working for. Now I do more or less 40 hours (work over lunch, etc) and am able to manage the daycare run. I travel a bit for work, or at least I did before, and that’s been a bit challenging but manageable. I make more than $150k or whatever by quite a bit so it’s doable. 
 

In house positions can be quite competitive. People often ask me about going in house. When it’s students they often assume it’s not as competitive as getting a firm job and that it’ll be easier since private practice is more prestigious and you make more money.  Interestingly when it’s private practice  lawyers it’s them asking me how to break in. It’s  It’s rare to get an in house job out of law school, but from what I understand is becoming more common. Typically you do have to have firm experience beforehand, not necessarily big firm, but certainly corporate/commercial type work. These days though many companies prefer to hire people with at least some in house experience under their belt. Once you are in house, it’s easier to move around to other in house jobs. 

the reason you got a mixed response on Reddit is because in house jobs vary a lot. It depends on your company, the size of your department and also your individual career goals. In house isn’t the easy law job as it once was. 

Hey I was wondering if you could shed some light on what in house lawyers work on? I am very interested in business and corporate law, administrative, regulatory, real estate and I think these would relate to in house but I'm wondering how the work varies from firm life? Is it just getting tasks or questions from people at the company and providing advice or guidance, preparing for trials, or something else?

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I am not an in house lawyer but I work for a regulator and have worked closely with the lawyers who work there (and with external counsel).

I think it depends on the organization. Some organizations generate enough legal work it makes  more sense to hire lawyers in house to do the work than hire external counsel. This can include real estate lawyers to handle transactional work that would be similar to work done by real estate lawyers in a firm or litigators who would handle trials. More commonly though, in-house counsel is there to provide advice and to liaise and manage external counsel. The lawyers at the organization I work tend to provide privacy and administrative law advice; actual litigation and specialized advice is done by outside counsel.

For most in house lawyers in business corporate experience is more relevant. For government jobs experience in the area is usually more helpful (I previously practiced primarily in administrative law related litigation, focused on human rights and employment).

As a prospective law student though my advice is that unless you’re not footing the bill, you should only go to law school if you want to practice law. The prospective debt load is simply not worth it otherwise.

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17 hours ago, maybemaybe said:

Hey I was wondering if you could shed some light on what in house lawyers work on? I am very interested in business and corporate law, administrative, regulatory, real estate and I think these would relate to in house but I'm wondering how the work varies from firm life? Is it just getting tasks or questions from people at the company and providing advice or guidance, preparing for trials, or something else?

I'm not an in-house lawyer (yet... still articling) but I don't think my job will change much past my call date. Private sector. I review and draft a lot of contracts. Like tons of them, so make sure you love reading boring, dry, and highly technical materials (note: neither undergrad nor law school prepped me for that... I just rolled with it and now I'm ok. We really should start moving away from Legalese to Illegalese...). I also work with external counsel we hire on matters outside my department's expertise. I'm too junior right now to run deals or negotiate with opposing counsel, but they will be part of the job in the future.

The main difference about working in-house and at a law firm is that our output is not measured by billable hours, so we get to spend more time on files (assuming we aren't swamped at the time) to learn and do a good job. My boss and the other lawyers I work with often have time to debrief files with me and teach me the trades, which seems to be a luxury many of my friends articling in big law don't have.

But honestly, the most important skills to have (I guess not just for working in-house, but everywhere) are people skills. Your value in being an in-house counsel is that business users know that they can easily access you for advice. No matter how brilliant you are as a lawyer, if the business users feel that they don't want to talk to you because you are unpleasant to interact with, then chances are you will no longer be needed by the organization.

Good luck!

Edited by Tamago
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On 2/18/2021 at 11:40 PM, maybemaybe said:

are they software engineers? that might be why they seem to earn more with a nice work life balance

They're all sorts - software, computer, mechanical, electrical etc. I think engineering in general has really good work life balance, if you're interested in the field, of course. 

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