5 things to keep in mind before you decide to be an in-house lawyer or consultant
After completing your law graduation, if you think becoming an advocate is too mainstream, there are other career options open too ! Becoming a consultant is one such great career opportunity. You can, of course, opt for this later as well.
An in-house consultant is one who is employed by a company to provide legal advice. Though it is a promising career, one should never get into it blindly. Some knowledge and vigilance is required here too. Here’s a list to help you with that:
Surrender of Sanad:
As an advocate, you cannot take up employment at any company or concern. When you accept employment at a company as an in-house lawyer, you will have to intimate the acceptance of your employment to the Bar Council and surrender your sanad (certificate of practice). You will then cease to be able to practice in the courts until you re-apply for sanad.
Knowledge of key focus areas of the company:
In-house lawyers are required to have a thorough knowledge of the key business areas of the company. So, a big company with a lot of employees would require an in-depth knowledge of employment laws and a company dealing in loans, mutual funds, etc would require knowledge of financial services.
In-house lawyers don't have a one time relationship with their clients. Their client is only one, the company. This means in-house counsels need to be really good at strategic planning. They should also be good at thinking about long-term goals and solutions to the company's problem. This, of course, has to be done by figuring out the law and applying it to the business.
As an aspirant of the in-house counsel, it is not only your legal skills that will get you the job. You need to understand what earns the company money and what the business will look like in the future. You need to be forward-thinking and business-minded in your approach. In-house lawyers apply legal expertise as well as business knowledge in finding dynamic solutions to a company. Go in for choosing in-house counsel as a career option if you are interested in how a business operates.
Be sensitized to economy changes:
Essentially, the work of an in-house counsel doesn't just end at knowing the law. Your advice must evolve with the company's needs and the changes in the economy. The 'law firm within a company' model provides aspirants with the best of both worlds; the business and the law.
The list here is not meant to scare or prejudice you. But it is always better to be prepared for something, isn’t it? According to an article in Forbes, a growing percentage of lawyers are finding it tough to maintain their earning capability. In such a situation, a career in consulting looks like the silver lining for many.
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