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In-house lawyers have more business-centric roles

Posted by: Laurence Simons 20/05/14

Thanks to impressive bonus levels and growing prestige, in-house lawyers can now be as well remunerated as their flashy cousins in top private practice roles.

The opportunity to play a more business-centric role and help head up major organisations is attracting the brightest legal talent to internal positions.

A new report from law firm Bond Dickinson has highlighted this shift in attitudes, suggesting that General Counsel are increasingly being asked to take on more varied and complex tasks within their organisation.

The study, entitled 'Beyond Responsibility: The emerging role of legal counsel in sustainable business', took in the views of 60 in-house lawyers from leading UK and international businesses, across a host of different sectors.

One major factor in this shift has been the new credence given to concerns around sustainability in the wake of the reputation-damaging crises that emerged during the financial downturn.

This was reflected by the 52.9 per cent of respondents who described sustainable business as an important facet of their organisation's thinking and one in which they played a big role.

Victor Tettmar, executive partner with Bond Dickinson, said the emergence of this as a central issue is a big opportunity for general counsel to cut their commercial teeth.

"Boards are increasingly looking to their legal advisers to contribute at a strategic level; and whatever their professional remit or legal specialism, lawyers who really understand the more holistic dimensions of a business’s activities will be in a position to provide the best counsel," added Mr Tettmar.

Presumably, as sustainability makes it on to more board agendas, the number of prestigious internal legal positions will increase on a global basis.