Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

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Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:33 am

is it possible to be a summer associate for in house at OCI? Do firms even come to OCI looking for in house? What is the difference between in house and Big Law like Skadden and K & L Gates.

I think big law is more prestigious where as in-house would be more stringent and lonesome. Thoughts?

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby Biglaw Investor » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:21 am

I've never seen in-house jobs recruit at OCI. They usually want law firms to spend the time and money training you before you work in-house, although that's not always the case. I know of several people who started at in-house jobs straight out of law school, but none of them "summered" there. I don't think that's a thing.

The difference between in-house and Biglaw is huge - suggest you find some alumni or other lawyers to talk it through.

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:33 am

Biglaw Investor wrote:I've never seen in-house jobs recruit at OCI. They usually want law firms to spend the time and money training you before you work in-house, although that's not always the case. I know of several people who started at in-house jobs straight out of law school, but none of them "summered" there. I don't think that's a thing.

The difference between in-house and Biglaw is huge - suggest you find some alumni or other lawyers to talk it through.


It's a thing, but it's rare and somewhat unpredictable. I know someone from MVP who spent his 2L summer in-house and the company recruited through our OCI. One major downside he mentioned was that the in-house job didn't know if he'd be needed permanently until late in the fall of his 3L.

Only know one person who went from big law to in-house and she said she did it because it gave her more time to be a mom. She openly admitted that she took a massive pay cut because of it. Not really sure what the other differences are.

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby Biglaw Investor » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:It's a thing, but it's rare and somewhat unpredictable. I know someone from MVP who spent his 2L summer in-house and the company recruited through our OCI. One major downside he mentioned was that the in-house job didn't know if he'd be needed permanently until late in the fall of his 3L.

Only know one person who went from big law to in-house and she said she did it because it gave her more time to be a mom. She openly admitted that she took a massive pay cut because of it. Not really sure what the other differences are.


Exactly - it's not like thousands of companies recruit through OCI for in-house positions. They're expecting you to get trained somewhere else first and then move over. Everyone knows that law school doesn't teach you the practical skills to become a lawyer and most in-house departments are not set up to train you in the basics.

As for pay cuts, you can make great money working in-house. A massive pay cut is definitely not a requirement. In-house jobs are more likely to be 9-5, less likely to have weekend work, usually handle simpler matters. They are great options for predictability, good salary and less stress. Many Biglaw junior associates spend time searching for the in-house jobs.

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:32 am

Some companies are experimenting with copying the biglaw model and doing OCI, summer associates, and all that. I assume it's to cut overall costs for their legal department by not having to pay a 1st year at a firm to do the grunt work their 1st year attorney could do herself. They offer competitive salaries and their benefits are far better than BL (but that's a low bar). Off the top of my head I know HP does it, but I can't think of any others that came to my school's OCI, though I know a couple more did. It may even just be a tech thing, idk

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby Abbie Doobie » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:I think big law is more prestigious where as in-house would be more stringent and lonesome. Thoughts?


i found biglaw to be much more stringent and lonesome than working in-house

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby Biglaw Investor » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:02 am

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Off the top of my head I know HP does it, but I can't think of any others that came to my school's OCI


That's cool to hear. Any idea of the size of HP's incoming summer associate classes? Curious if we're talking programs that hire 3-5 2Ls or bigger groups like 15+?

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Auxilio

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby Auxilio » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:44 pm

Biglaw Investor wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Off the top of my head I know HP does it, but I can't think of any others that came to my school's OCI


That's cool to hear. Any idea of the size of HP's incoming summer associate classes? Curious if we're talking programs that hire 3-5 2Ls or bigger groups like 15+?


I don't know the number for HP but it has to be a significant number. There are at least 7 HP offices that come to my school's OCI to recruit. So at a absolute minimum 7+.

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:15 pm

JP Morgan is running a program like this. Calling them summer associates, paying decent comp, etc. Seems like a good opportunity.

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Re: Real difference between In-House vs Big Law

Postby nealric » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:31 am

I went biglaw to in-house.

Overall: the in-house skill set can be very different. In biglaw, you are hired for your precision and technical skill. In-house, it's more about judgment and issue spotting. While there are people who excel in both environments, I would say that in-house tends to value a different personality type. Super Type-A striver types will probably be much more at-home in a biglaw environment. You don't get to have the ego of being the top-dog as a lawyer in a company, even the GC isn't going to be able to play alpha dog all the time. You are there to support the business- you are not the business. I have no idea what "more stringent and lonesome" is supposed to mean, but It's not that. Big companies are very social places (I wager more so than biglaw on average).

Pay is going to be all over the map. You could make nothing but promises joining a start-up, or you could make millions as GC of a megacorp. In-house isn't like biglaw where there are "market" rates for associates. Industry, locale, and practice specialty will influence how much you get paid. For what it's worth, at my F500 company, I did take a base salary pay cut coming over as a biglaw 4th year, but got a pay increase once contingent compensation, benefits, and tax advantages of moving were factored in. Upside potential is there just like biglaw, but the path is not as well defined. In theory, you could become a F500 CEO starting as an in-house lawyer, but that is of course not very likely. A rank and file senior in-house type is generally going to make less than a service partner in biglaw.

Hours are generally better, but this is going to be very company and role specific. One company may have a very 9-5 culture, while another expects biglaw hours. I find that legal work has a way of expanding or contracting to fill the time allotted, and a the difference between a 9-5 in-house job and a 9-9 in house job with weekends is mostly cultural within the company. Since hours are usually not tracked and assignments not usually divided up by any formal system, work hours can be uneven even within companies.

Job security is better at most companies compared to Biglaw associates. The company generally hires you with the expectation that you will stick around. They don't higher entry-level lawyers, so legal staff is not fungible like junior biglaw associates- they hired you for a specific role. Biglaw assumes you are probably going to leave or be pushed out in a few years. Layoffs do happen, however, and you probably won't be given a few months to plan and look when it happens like in biglaw- you will likely be escorted out immediately. A biglaw partner with their own book of business is probably more secure than any in-house attorney.

As far as going straight in-house. Could be good or bad depending on the program. Only a very few companies have direct to in-house programs. My company does not hire lawyers without experience. I only know of one in the industry. My biggest concern with starting in-house is that you may set yourself to be underpaid throughout your career, as companies tend to be stingy with raises and set starting salaries based on your last job. If your last job was biglaw, HR is probably going to be a lot more generous than if you just started in a straight out of law school program.



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