A question so many attorneys ponder: should they work in-house for a corporation or do they take their talents to a law firm? This question can have many implications. Working in-house offering legal counsel is a totally different ball game than working at a law firm. Here are some things to consider when thinking about starting your career or changing paths:


Each opportunity can be fulfilling in different ways. Weigh your options for new career opportunities as they come up. For example, if you are leaning towards working at a law firm but a dynamic, important position turns up in-house, take a leap of faith and learn something new by stepping out of your comfort zone. Who knows, you may just find your calling.


Compensation varies greatly between different law firms and in-house roles. As with any career, it depends on the location, particular company and rank of the position. The Partners Group blog brings up a point about benefits versus higher salaries. In most cases, the compensation will be higher in a law firm since there are less restrictions and no caps on salary, but benefits are a large added expense. Before immediately dismissing an in-house role because of a lower salary, make sure to weigh the benefits and rewards associated with in-house work. You may find its fairly equal, if not higher compensation, when adding in all of the factors.

Job Description

Take into account the particular job description for different positions. With many differences between working in-house and at a firm, a job description can help decide what path is more viable for you. Compare job descriptions of different careers, and decide what job sounds like the best fit for you. In-house positions won’t have billable hours or different accounts, but a lot of things will be regulated and standardized. Law firms may allow some more thinking-outside-the-box and flexibility, but the clients will be the number one priority.

law firm

There are many other differences between an in-house legal job and working at a law firm, but this may spark your interest or motivate you to take a different career path. Both in-house legal work and work at a law firm are meaningful and fruitful; you must decide where your passion lies and what type of work environment you are looking for.

If you are looking for a change in careers, contact a Major Legal Services representative to assist with any career questions or your next job search.