The "one-way ticket" perception of the transition by attorneys from law firms to in-house counsel has become outdated, as attorneys are increasingly finding that their careers can go full circle.
The trend has definitely shifted as in-house attorneys have now become involved in every major business decision of the company they represent. As a result, today's in-house is not only exciting, but also very cutting edge. In-house attorneys can develop the kind of technical expertise that only an attorney working in all aspects of a company's business could develop. This type of technical and business in-house experience can be valuable to law firms. Those returning to firms with in-house experience not only have the legal skills to handle sophisticate deals, but also contacts and perspective that can help with getting and keeping business. And that is a tremendous asset to law firms looking to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive market. Check out Law.com
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What is it about going in-house that seems to increasingly draw attorneys from law firms to in-house legal departments? According to NALP, the attrition rate for experienced attorneys with about five years of experience jumped dramatically, from 60 percent in 2000 to 78 percent in 2005.
These attorneys expressed concerns regarding their work/life balances, rising billable requirements, business development demands, repetitive work, and unlikely prospects of becoming partners. Take a look
at the following article that discusses the factors prompting a growing number of attorneys to transition from law firms to in-house legal departments. What do think about this trend?
The U.S. economy expanded less than forecast in the fourth quarter as domestic spending declined and exports prevented an overall contraction. Gross domestic product rose at a 0.6 percent annualized rate, unchanged from the initial estimate last month, after a 4.9 percent gain in the third quarter, the Commerce Department announced today in Washington. Wall Street economists general predict a very slow first quarter, with the hope that the strength of exports will keep the U.S. out of a recession. While there is no question that we are experiencing a slowdown, the jury remains out as to whether we are heading for a recession. What does this mean for the legal market?
The market for legal services continues to increase as a proportion of the GDP. As we enter 2008, the legal market remains strong, though a slowdown in response to economic factors is expected. Some sectors have already responded to this economic slowdown. A few law firms, primarily those with large structured finance and real estate practices, have begun to announce associate layoffs and other cutbacks. That said, most firms appear to remain steady at this time.
The market for attorneys continues to experience steady growth across all regions of the country, with some minor regional variations with hiring on the East and West Coasts slightly outpacing hiring in the Midwest.
Take a look at the article written by the legal recruiters at ESQ Recruiting discussing practice areas on the rise, practice areas on the decline, compensation packages in-house, the rise of internal legal expenses, and the increase in in-house attorney hiring.