Careers in practice vs working as an in-house lawyer

Careers in practice vs working as an in-house lawyer

Beate Oera

December 12, 2022
The legal profession in the UK offers a range of career options to aspiring lawyers, including working in private practice and working in-house. While both careers have their own unique advantages, the decision to work in one versus the other often comes down to individual preferences and career goals.

Private Practice

Private practice refers to working for a law firm, either as a partner, associate or trainee solicitor. Lawyers in private practice are typically engaged in a range of legal work, including advising clients, preparing legal documents, and representing clients in court.

One of the key benefits of working in private practice is the variety of work and exposure to different areas of law. Lawyers can work on a range of cases, from small to large, and have the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of practice areas, such as commercial law, property law, and employment law. This variety of work helps lawyers to develop a broad range of legal skills and knowledge.

Another benefit of working in private practice is the potential to earn a high salary. Lawyers in private practice typically earn more than in-house lawyers, especially those who are partners in the firm. This is because private practice lawyers are often compensated based on their billable hours and the amount of work they bring in to the firm.

However, working in private practice can also be demanding and stressful, as lawyers are often expected to work long hours and meet tight deadlines. They may also face pressure to bring in business for the firm and to work on cases that may not align with their personal values.


In-house refers to working as a lawyer for a specific company, rather than for a law firm. In-house lawyers provide legal advice and support to the company, and are responsible for ensuring that the company complies with all relevant laws and regulations.

One of the key benefits of working in-house is the opportunity to work closely with the company’s business operations and to understand the company’s objectives and strategies. This helps lawyers to provide practical and commercial legal advice that supports the company’s goals.

In-house lawyers also benefit from a more stable work environment, as they typically work regular office hours and are not expected to work on weekends or evenings. Additionally, in-house lawyers often have a better work-life balance, as they are not required to meet tight deadlines or to bring in new business for the company.

However, in-house lawyers may have a more limited scope of work, as they typically work on legal issues related to the company and its operations. They may also have less opportunity to develop a broad range of legal skills, as they are not exposed to as many different areas of law. Additionally, in-house lawyers typically earn a lower salary than lawyers in private practice.


Whether to work in private practice or in-house is a personal decision that depends on individual preferences and career goals. Lawyers who enjoy a fast-paced, varied workload and the opportunity to earn a high salary may prefer private practice, while those who value a stable work environment and a better work-life balance may prefer working in-house. Ultimately, both careers have their own unique advantages, and it is important for aspiring lawyers to carefully consider their options and to choose the career path that is right for them.

About Fram's Legal practice

The specialist Legal Practice of Fram Professionals focuses on both in-house roles and private practice. Our aim is to be build a true partnership and a service based on high quality advice.

Contact us on [email protected] or call 01525 864 372 for an informal chat about our services.

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