A common belief in the legal profession is that frustrated lawyers leave their firms for corporate legal departments in search of more job satisfaction. The 2016 Evers Legal Career Satisfaction Survey, conducted among 223 in-house counsel, sought to determine whether the belief holds true. The survey uncovered that corporate legal departments are sought-after places of employment for lawyers.
On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), 16 percent rated their job a 5, while 39 percent rated their job a 4. This confirms the prediction that corporate legal departments are desirable places of employment for lawyers. When asked what could be done to increase their satisfaction, respondents revealed that they have a desire for increased control to make legal decisions and be involved with strategic development.
Most Challenging Aspect:
Perhaps most unsurprisingly, 51 percent listed stress as the top challenge. The second most challenging part so having to work with a difficult internal client and/or supervisor. Corporate politics are frustrating because they can’t control the business decisions internal clients choose and struggle when their advice is ignored. Only 12 percent of respondents said that “lack of passion for company mission” is a challenge, which supports the idea that in-house lawyers enjoy working for a business in a team environment.
Enjoying the Rewards:
The majority of respondents cited “intellectual stimulation” as the most rewarding aspect of their job. In-house lawyers crave opportunities to take on challenging work as opposed to repetitive tasks. Creating a healthy work environment matters more than money since only 30% responded that it was their main motivation on the job.
The desire to go in-house seems to have a constant theme – lawyers have grown weary of the law firm lifestyle driven by numbers. The corporate legal department offers a healthy work environment that doesn’t require them to keep track of their work life in 15 minute increments. While in-house lawyers report they lack control, legal technology tools can help them gain some of the control they covet by supporting them with the evidence they need to make strategic decisions.