Corporate law keeps pulling me back To in-house or not?

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At Tim Ho Wan, SM Seaside

Lately my work as a public interest lawyer was shaken at the immediate prospect of relocating to Manila for work. The problem was that after living in Manila for almost a decade, getting married to frugal husband and after enjoying the laid back atmosphere and low cost of living here in Cebu City, I had no interest in being pulled back to Manila.

Despite being employed, I’ve always tried to go on one or two interviews every year just to see what’s out there and keep my interview game sharp. This time it was different because I was seriously considering moving industries just to avoid relocation.

Long story short, the relocation plan was shelved, for now. Nevertheless, after talking to this one company and its representatives, who really sold the company to me, I was convinced! Sort of.

 

Keeps pulling me back. Is it a sign?

 

I am now contemplating working as a company in-house lawyer and consequently, corporate law. The work at this company would mostly revolve around corporate work as the litigation parts are handled by external counsel. What draws me to the company is the PEZA and TIEZA-related work which I find interesting. And well, I find corporate law mostly interesting work. I enjoy the drafting, review and negotiation that goes into contracts and it’s fascinating to see microeconomic factors at play in conjunction with legal practice.

For the past few years, I’ve received some invites to join some companies here in Cebu as their legal counsel. One company even called me two days before my wedding!!! As I previously wrote, I came close to accepting one of those offers because I liked the company so much but changed my mind. I am again in one similar pickle.

 

Drawbacks

 

What draws me back is a possible pay-cut, and even if the company matches my current pay, there will still be a relative pay cut such that I’ll work longer hours for the same pay. Add to that the usual corporate culture of emails and texts after work, making me an on-call employee. Simply put, the per-hour pay is drastically reduced. Work tenure will possibly be precarious and dependent on the financial health of the company and the industry (real estate).

 

Nature of in-house lawyer position

 

An in-house lawyer’s tenure is precarious because your employment is at mercy of the head of the company. Note that this position requires you to render your opinion on the il/legality of certain acts contemplated to be done by the corporation. Not all of these acts will be within the bounds of the law and so once you so opine, you will invite a lot of displeasure from the folks who only want to increase business. In short, you’ll need to say no to a lot of bigwigs, who in turn, are your employers. And so I say, precarious, don’t you think?

Despite all these though, I am open to what the future holds. Excited even! Just like the average millennial, I am young and feel like the rest of my life is still ahead of me. I am open to exploring fields that may be outside my comfort zone and I welcome learning even more. I may be willing to take a pay cut even, in return for learning more.. But we’ll see….

Do you think I should take this job?

George

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4 thoughts on “Corporate law keeps pulling me back To in-house or not?

  1. I think you should go for it. That’s one of the perks of being financially stable, you can accept a lower paying job just to banish the what-ifs from your mind (i.e. What if I took the job? What if I made a career change?).

    From your post, it really does seem like you want to do it, so go girl! You can always go back to the government sector later if you find that corporate life doesn’t suit you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to run a large company and had in house counsel. Everything you have said was true for us. He was under paid (I didn’t set his pay) and was on call and was consistently unpopular in that he rained on everybody’s parade when he told them their awesome great ideas were completely illegal! He was not, however, overworked. And as you said when we had an ownership change his job was eliminated in favor of the takeover company’s in house attorneys. He did enjoy his work and remains a friend of mine. I think you have set the parameters of your decision very well, only your personal values can lead you to what is the best choice. It actually sounds to me like either way you will do very well!

    Liked by 1 person

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