Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

(Discuss Advantages vs Disadvantages, Making the Switch From Private Practice to In-House, Compensation & Hours, Work-Life balance, In-House Reviews & Experiences)
Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:31 pm

Currently commercial counsel at a large tech company (not a notorious one like Amazon). Work-life balance has been pretty bad (60+ hour weeks, unpredictable schedule). Starting to think about my next role and how to avoid the same mistake again.

When I interviewed for my current position, people made general comments about work-life balance being better than a firm. I didn't push for more details, and I clearly should have.

What factors tend to correlate with better work-life balance? For example: public v. private, large vs. small legal department, industry, sales support vs. procurement, etc.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:31 pm
Currently commercial counsel at a large tech company (not a notorious one like Amazon). Work-life balance has been pretty bad (60+ hour weeks, unpredictable schedule). Starting to think about my next role and how to avoid the same mistake again.

When I interviewed for my current position, people made general comments about work-life balance being better than a firm. I didn't push for more details, and I clearly should have.

What factors tend to correlate with better work-life balance? For example: public v. private, large vs. small legal department, industry, sales support vs. procurement, etc.
Based on my experience in house itself isn't a factor to the work-life balance. Unless you are married with kids, it's ok to focus on career to a fault. Just don't jeopardize your health or ethics. Once you near that line, it's too far.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 2948
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by nixy » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:31 pm
Currently commercial counsel at a large tech company (not a notorious one like Amazon). Work-life balance has been pretty bad (60+ hour weeks, unpredictable schedule). Starting to think about my next role and how to avoid the same mistake again.

When I interviewed for my current position, people made general comments about work-life balance being better than a firm. I didn't push for more details, and I clearly should have.

What factors tend to correlate with better work-life balance? For example: public v. private, large vs. small legal department, industry, sales support vs. procurement, etc.
Based on my experience in house itself isn't a factor to the work-life balance. Unless you are married with kids, it's ok to focus on career to a fault. Just don't jeopardize your health or ethics. Once you near that line, it's too far.
This is not remotely responsive to the original post. Did you even read it?

Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:44 pm

Fully responsive, and yes.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 2948
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by nixy » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:44 pm
Fully responsive, and yes.
No, it's really not. Maybe you just can't read?

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


RandomInternetPerson

New
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:49 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by RandomInternetPerson » Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:49 pm

nixy wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:47 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:44 pm
Fully responsive, and yes.
No, it's really not. Maybe you just can't read?
Back at you

Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:06 pm

OP here. Not looking for someone to convince me that I should just work all the time. I've already done the Biglaw thing.

I don't need 9-5, but would love 8-6 or 9-7. No legal job will be completely emergency-free, but hoping for something where fire drills are relatively rare.

RandomInternetPerson

New
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:49 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by RandomInternetPerson » Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:06 pm
OP here. Not looking for someone to convince me that I should just work all the time. I've already done the Biglaw thing.

I don't need 9-5, but would love 8-6 or 9-7. No legal job will be completely emergency-free, but hoping for something where fire drills are relatively rare.
I can tell you first hand, if you are not talking solo or govt or huge pay cut, you will have extreme difficulty finding this (or matter WHAT you are "looking" to hear)

Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:18 pm

Tagging because I’m a TTG associate in the Bay Area that would also really like work life balance, most likely in a commercial counsel role for a big tech company.

Off the top of my head I’ve heard that google and Facebook for commercial counsel roles (not product or privacy stuff) can have decent work life balance. Certain groups at amazon as well (but you might really be rolling the dice on amazon, since there are plenty of horror stories there). Apple advertises its commercial counsel positions as 40 hours a week, though who knows how that plays out in practice. I’ve heard their legal team is understaffed. Apple also went on a hiring blitz for commercial counsel, though. I’ve heard varying stuff on pay for entry level commercial counsel (eg at Facebook, below $200k base).

OP, would you mind sharing a little more about your company and what geographic region? Maybe comp range as well? If you’re not comfortable with that, I’d be curious about why you’re so slammed. Understaffed? Commercial counsel seems generally negotiating customer contracts and vendor agreements, which usually aren’t (but of course can be) as urgent as deal work, like M&A. I have also been on the other side of negotiating with major tech companies, and I routinely don’t have comments back for at least a week, sometimes more, which led me to believe in house would be much cushier than firm work.

Edited to add: ignore the boomer dude telling you to work all the time. I do think for our field there are more stable jobs out there.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:18 pm
Tagging because I’m a TTG associate in the Bay Area that would also really like work life balance, most likely in a commercial counsel role for a big tech company.

Off the top of my head I’ve heard that google and Facebook for commercial counsel roles (not product or privacy stuff) can have decent work life balance. Certain groups at amazon as well (but you might really be rolling the dice on amazon, since there are plenty of horror stories there). Apple advertises its commercial counsel positions as 40 hours a week, though who knows how that plays out in practice. I’ve heard their legal team is understaffed. Apple also went on a hiring blitz for commercial counsel, tho. I’ve heard varying stuff on pay for entry level commercial counsel (eg at Facebook, below $200k base).

OP, would you mind sharing a little more about your company and what geographic region? Maybe comp range as well? If you’re not comfortable with that, I’d be curious about why you’re so slammed. Understaffed? Commercial counsel seems generally negotiating customer contracts and vendor agreements, which usually aren’t (but of course can be) as urgent as deal work, like M&A. I have also been on the other side of negotiating with major tech companies, and I routinely don’t have comments back for at least a week, sometimes more, which led me to believe in house would be much cushier than firm work.

Edited to add: ignore the boomer dude telling you to work all the time. I do think for our field there are more stable jobs out there.
Don't want to be too specific, but it's a F500 company in a secondary market. Total comp is in the $150K to $175k range, which is competitive for my secondary market. I'm sure Bay Area comp is much higher.

I primarily support sales, and sales always wants everything ASAP. If a 50-page agreement on customer paper lands on my desk Friday afternoon, I'm spending my weekend marking it up. The business has very little sense of how long different projects should take, and they won't hesitate to escalate to senior executives if they think Legal isn't moving fast enough.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:17 pm

OP, I know what you mean. It’s not a great feeling to take a pay cut and then still have to work nights and weekends. I’m at a media company in a major market doing vendor contracts and now that we wfh I work between 9:30-5:30, but my job is very boring and the pay is not great (180k base) so I’m looking to jump. I have some friends who work at big tech companies and they seem to have very good schedules (no more than 9-6). I think generally you should stay away from in house m&a positions. I heard product counsel can also be stressful but those jobs seem more interesting.

The best way to find out the truth about work life balance is to see if you can find someone on LinkedIn (either directly or through mutual connections) who works/worked in the group and ask them for their honest opinions. I also think the groups that have good work life balance will be very vocal about it and will talk about it as a selling point in your interviews, whereas the people who are workaholics will also make proud statements of how much they work.

jagpaw

New
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:21 pm

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by jagpaw » Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:17 pm
OP, I know what you mean. It’s not a great feeling to take a pay cut and then still have to work nights and weekends. I’m at a media company in a major market doing vendor contracts and now that we wfh I work between 9:30-5:30, but my job is very boring and the pay is not great (180k base) so I’m looking to jump. I have some friends who work at big tech companies and they seem to have very good schedules (no more than 9-6). I think generally you should stay away from in house m&a positions. I heard product counsel can also be stressful but those jobs seem more interesting.

The best way to find out the truth about work life balance is to see if you can find someone on LinkedIn (either directly or through mutual connections) who works/worked in the group and ask them for their honest opinions. I also think the groups that have good work life balance will be very vocal about it and will talk about it as a selling point in your interviews, whereas the people who are workaholics will also make proud statements of how much they work.
I’ve noticed that a lot of in-house job descriptions emphasize drafting and reviewing contracts. For someone who actually likes legal research, thinking through legal/technical issues, etc. (but also very interested business) would most in-house TTG/corporate roles be a bad fit? I’m also more interested in product counsel roles than commercial counsel positions, but I’m not sure how attainable those are. And the lack of work life balance with worse pay than big law (and less WFH flexibility it seems) are all kind of the cherry on top for me thinking that in-house might just not be worth it, but I’d love for someone to change my mind.

Barrred

Bronze
Posts: 227
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:49 pm

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Barrred » Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:03 pm

RandomInternetPerson wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:11 pm
I can tell you first hand, if you are not talking solo or govt or huge pay cut, you will have extreme difficulty finding this (or matter WHAT you are "looking" to hear)
This is wrong, unless by "huge pay cut" you mean going from $300K to $200K. There are many ~$200K legal jobs that are pretty close to a 9-to-5.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


RandomInternetPerson

New
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:49 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by RandomInternetPerson » Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:18 pm
Tagging because I’m a TTG associate in the Bay Area that would also really like work life balance, most likely in a commercial counsel role for a big tech company.

Off the top of my head I’ve heard that google and Facebook for commercial counsel roles (not product or privacy stuff) can have decent work life balance. Certain groups at amazon as well (but you might really be rolling the dice on amazon, since there are plenty of horror stories there). Apple advertises its commercial counsel positions as 40 hours a week, though who knows how that plays out in practice. I’ve heard their legal team is understaffed. Apple also went on a hiring blitz for commercial counsel, though. I’ve heard varying stuff on pay for entry level commercial counsel (eg at Facebook, below $200k base).

OP, would you mind sharing a little more about your company and what geographic region? Maybe comp range as well? If you’re not comfortable with that, I’d be curious about why you’re so slammed. Understaffed? Commercial counsel seems generally negotiating customer contracts and vendor agreements, which usually aren’t (but of course can be) as urgent as deal work, like M&A. I have also been on the other side of negotiating with major tech companies, and I routinely don’t have comments back for at least a week, sometimes more, which led me to believe in house would be much cushier than firm work.

Edited to add: ignore the boomer dude telling you to work all the time. I do think for our field there are more stable jobs out there.
Remind me who is showing you their birth certificate.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:30 pm

Barrred wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:03 pm
RandomInternetPerson wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:11 pm
I can tell you first hand, if you are not talking solo or govt or huge pay cut, you will have extreme difficulty finding this (or matter WHAT you are "looking" to hear)
This is wrong, unless by "huge pay cut" you mean going from $300K to $200K. There are many ~$200K legal jobs that are pretty close to a 9-to-5.
My god, you don't consider a literal third of your pay as huge??

Barrred

Bronze
Posts: 227
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:49 pm

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Barrred » Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:30 pm
Barrred wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:03 pm
RandomInternetPerson wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:11 pm
I can tell you first hand, if you are not talking solo or govt or huge pay cut, you will have extreme difficulty finding this (or matter WHAT you are "looking" to hear)
This is wrong, unless by "huge pay cut" you mean going from $300K to $200K. There are many ~$200K legal jobs that are pretty close to a 9-to-5.
My god, you don't consider a literal third of your pay as huge??
This is a fair critique, but no, and here's why: What matters in terms of quality of life at a new job is not the % paycut, its the resulting salary. A 50% paycut when you're making $1M a year is not the same as a 50% paycut when you're making $100K a year.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:51 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:18 pm
Tagging because I’m a TTG associate in the Bay Area that would also really like work life balance, most likely in a commercial counsel role for a big tech company.

Off the top of my head I’ve heard that google and Facebook for commercial counsel roles (not product or privacy stuff) can have decent work life balance. Certain groups at amazon as well (but you might really be rolling the dice on amazon, since there are plenty of horror stories there). Apple advertises its commercial counsel positions as 40 hours a week, though who knows how that plays out in practice. I’ve heard their legal team is understaffed. Apple also went on a hiring blitz for commercial counsel, tho. I’ve heard varying stuff on pay for entry level commercial counsel (eg at Facebook, below $200k base).

OP, would you mind sharing a little more about your company and what geographic region? Maybe comp range as well? If you’re not comfortable with that, I’d be curious about why you’re so slammed. Understaffed? Commercial counsel seems generally negotiating customer contracts and vendor agreements, which usually aren’t (but of course can be) as urgent as deal work, like M&A. I have also been on the other side of negotiating with major tech companies, and I routinely don’t have comments back for at least a week, sometimes more, which led me to believe in house would be much cushier than firm work.

Edited to add: ignore the boomer dude telling you to work all the time. I do think for our field there are more stable jobs out there.
Don't want to be too specific, but it's a F500 company in a secondary market. Total comp is in the $150K to $175k range, which is competitive for my secondary market. I'm sure Bay Area comp is much higher.

I primarily support sales, and sales always wants everything ASAP. If a 50-page agreement on customer paper lands on my desk Friday afternoon, I'm spending my weekend marking it up. The business has very little sense of how long different projects should take, and they won't hesitate to escalate to senior executives if they think Legal isn't moving fast enough.
I think the scenario you describe is pretty common for in-house counsel working on sales side contracts. I was on a zoom happy hour recently and two different attorneys were observing that sales has all the clout (or leash to basically do as they please) and legal basically has to deal with it because sales is viewed as making the money for the organization. So it might make sense to look for other types of in house roles.

I'll also say that I have similarly been very busy -- I am more of a generalist, but mainly work on lit and IP. With the advent of the pandemic, I volunteered/worked my way into position for several new responsibilities, and I am paying the price for it. My sense is that corporations may be trying to do less with more until it becomes clear how things will play out as things progress with COVID-19. That said, my company has been stepping up to the plate from a comp perspective. I know this isn't exactly the answer you're looking for, but you might want to try to use your increased workload to start a conversation about additional compensation.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358820
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Finding Work-Life Balance In-House

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:05 pm

jagpaw wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:40 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:17 pm
OP, I know what you mean. It’s not a great feeling to take a pay cut and then still have to work nights and weekends. I’m at a media company in a major market doing vendor contracts and now that we wfh I work between 9:30-5:30, but my job is very boring and the pay is not great (180k base) so I’m looking to jump. I have some friends who work at big tech companies and they seem to have very good schedules (no more than 9-6). I think generally you should stay away from in house m&a positions. I heard product counsel can also be stressful but those jobs seem more interesting.

The best way to find out the truth about work life balance is to see if you can find someone on LinkedIn (either directly or through mutual connections) who works/worked in the group and ask them for their honest opinions. I also think the groups that have good work life balance will be very vocal about it and will talk about it as a selling point in your interviews, whereas the people who are workaholics will also make proud statements of how much they work.
I’ve noticed that a lot of in-house job descriptions emphasize drafting and reviewing contracts. For someone who actually likes legal research, thinking through legal/technical issues, etc. (but also very interested business) would most in-house TTG/corporate roles be a bad fit? I’m also more interested in product counsel roles than commercial counsel positions, but I’m not sure how attainable those are. And the lack of work life balance with worse pay than big law (and less WFH flexibility it seems) are all kind of the cherry on top for me thinking that in-house might just not be worth it, but I’d love for someone to change my mind.
You prob won’t be doing a ton of legal research as a commercial counsel. I have to do general google search fairly often but I don’t ever use Westlaw/Nexus. If it’s a complex regulatory/legal question I go to the internal specialist or ask for outside counsel’s help. Now that I’m taking on bigger projects and doing more complicated agreements, I’m starting to find some of my work interesting, but unfortunately there’s just not enough of it.

Sorry not sure if you are OP, but if you are I think you need to switch to another in house job at least once to see if it’s being in house in general that you don’t like or if it’s just your job. If you were going to leave the in house world anyway, there’s nothing to lose to try out being a product counsel (or whatever you want to do). The only problem is that it might take you a while to find a new job that fits all you are looking for. The job market is not too hot right now (at least where I am). I’m hoping more jobs will open up after the New Year’s.

Get unlimited access to all forums and topics

Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “In-House”