Survey Profiles the In House Attorney: Where Do You Stand?

By Minara El-Rahman on November 19, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As any in house counsel knows, in house attorneys are a widely diverse group. You have to wear multiple hats, know different areas of law, and finally, be able to juggle multiple unrelated projects.

But the real question is: Do you know the profile of the average in house legal department?

Results from Hildebrandt's 2009 Law Department Survey shed light on the make-up of in house legal departments, and on the demographics of the lawyers working in them.

Here are some of the survey's key findings:

Staff Level

Most in house attorneys are mid-level. According to the Hildebrandt survey, the typical law department is comprised of Expert Counsel, Senior Counsel, and Staff Attorneys. These groups make up 76% of in house attorneys.

Years Of Experience

The Hildebrandt survey reports that most in house attorneys have between 11-15 years of experience.

Practice Areas

While most in house lawyers are Generalist/General Corporate at 20.5%, the amount of in house attorneys that make up lawyers from specialty law overall is a staggering 79.5%. The three most popular specialties among in house attorneys are Litigation at 14.3%, Industry at 13.9%, and Intellectual Property at 10.3%.

What Do These Results Mean To You?

These findings illustrate that most companies are looking for well seasoned and well rounded attorneys. The numbers certainly fall in line with another survey that was conducted by Hildebrandt back in October. We previously discussed its indications that many companies want to scale back their use of law firms. Nearly a third of the companies surveyed in October expected a decrease in the number of law firms that they will use in the United States. This means that more companies will be relying more on in house counsel to get the job done on various projects without any outside help.

The statistics provided by Hildebrandt about the typical in house counsel shed some light on areas that in house attorneys should be focusing on during the recession. For example, if you are a specialty attorney who is working in house, taking a few CLE classes on an area you may not be familiar with but your company needs will not only help your company, but also help you.

Focusing on specific skill sets that you may not be familiar with will help make you a better in house attorney and keep in line with the rest of in house attorneys. In order to make sure you can keep up with your in house compatriots, check out our Related Resources links.

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