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22 B. L. J. 56 (1990)
What Is It Like to Be a Solicitor in Commerce and Industry

handle is hein.journals/braclj22 and id is 71 raw text is: WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A SOLICITOR IN
By Peter A. Hall, Director and Group Secretary
of More O'Ferrall PLC, an advertising and media Group
Mr Hall is a solicitor, and a member of the Law Society's Commerce and Industry
Group Committee.
Solicitors are well represented in employment in commerce and industry
perhaps reflecting the benefits of a more rounded and wider legal education
programme for the solicitor. A robust personality and the ability to cope with the
unexpected, often within a totally unreasonable time scale, are pre-requisites of a
successful in-house solicitor. Many would argue that the in-house solicitor has to
be more self-reliant than would be the case for his counterpart in private practice.
This view stems from the fact that an in-house solicitor may either work alone, or
in a small legal department, which will not have the resources of a large number
of professional colleagues of the same disciplines where matters of mutual interest
can be discussed. Many solicitors like the cut-and-thrust of the small department,
whilst others will be happier in the structure of a larger legal department.
The choice for a young solicitor is wide, ranging from large multinational
groups of companies with substantial legal departments, to small businesses with,
perhaps, only one qualified lawyer. These days practically all business sectors have
in-house solicitors and the scope of activities includes engineering, property,
construction, banking and finance, advertising and media, shipping, mining, oil and
various forms of manufacturing, to name but a few. There is something to interest
every one and, as a quick glance at the legal job advertisements will show, there
are plenty of opportunities worth investigating which offer attractive terms and
conditions of employment.
Career progress from within a legal department depends much on the
individual. Some solicitors prefer to work their way up through the legal
department, aiming to become Head of the department in due course. Others will
become company secretaries, either in a dual legal/secretarial role, or in a large
company responsible for a significant part of the company's administration.
Ambitious solicitors may well use their invaluable experience in the legal
department to progress into live management or general management. There are
several examples of in-house solicitors who have graduated to become managing
directors of successful businesses.
The role of the sole solicitor in a small business can be very rewarding, both
financially and in terms of job satisfaction. The job often takes on a much wider
role than a purely legal one and the sole solicitor is often at the heart of the
company's activities, enjoying both a close working relationship with the directors
and a real sense of involvement in the business.

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