For many in-house lawyers one concern is that the pyramid is very steep; so few will get to the top and be General Counsel in a large corporation. Where will they end up? What’s their career path?
Last night I had the pleasure of attending an informal reunion of a group of people who were young lawyers working together in-house in a FTSE 100 company 20 years ago. It was a great evening; lovely to see some old friends I’d not seen for years.
Well here’s where we ended up:
·one woman and one man from our old team are now CEOs of companies owned by private equity houses; both were always very entrepreneurial and it led them out of the law and into business;
·one man stayed in-house but decided he wasn’t interested in making it to GC, perceiving tedium in the management element of those roles; instead he sought out the best paid in-house role at non-management level and he now works in the in-house legal department of a bulge bracket investment bank;
·one woman took seven years out of the workforce when she had children and was fortunate that her General Counsel took her back into the business when she wanted to return; initially she joined on a part-time basis but now she is Head of Legal of a business division of this large aeronautical group;
·one man and one woman stayed at that same FTSE 100 company and are still there; they’ve not moved upwards but rather sideways within the legal department, getting new experiences and opportunities within the same organisation;
finally two of us, both women, left that FTSE 100 company and did various in-house roles before joining Halebury, the innovative and ground-breaking NewLaw firm Halebury where we work for a variety of TMT clients on a flexible basis, which enables her to work and care for her children and me to work and care for my husband who has Parkinson's.