In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Tips for Managing Promotion Expectations as GC

In case you hadn't noticed, there's a remarkable difference between in-house attorneys and out-house ...

Alright, that wasn't fair. But you know where we're going with this. In-house counsel and outside counsel are different animals.

It's not just that one goes to work in casual wear, and the other wears a dress suit. It's actually about the difference in pay -- and not what you think.

Career Satisfaction

According to the latest Evers Legal Career Satisfaction Report, in-house lawyers care more about advancement opportunities than salaries. It is also the leading factor in retaining talent.

Evers, a recruiting firm for corporate law departments, surveyed 181 lawyers throughout the United States. The results were, actually, not surprising.

Two years ago, Evers received similar responses. This year, the survey confirmed the findings. As Corporate Counsel reported, most in-house attorneys "crave upward mobility."

"It's clear that in-house counsel value several things over compensation -- particularly being trusted with additional responsibilities and ascending the legal department ladder," said Mike Evers, president of the company.

Managing Expectations

General counsel can use these findings to manage expectations in the law department. The report may really be useful with new hires and during annual reviews.

Lawyers should know -- especially those making the leap from the outside to the inside -- that they probably will not make more money than partnership tracks promise. Stock options and other benefits can help, but promotions can close the deal.

In part, that's because once attorneys go inside, it's not so easy to go back outside. As if ...

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