Do you ever feel like your friends in law firms look down on you as an in-house counsel? I am the only one in my group of friends who started in-house right away and I absolutely love it, but feel that some of my law school friends get weird about the topic.

Founder Responses:
  • You are a potential client, so you should be the prettiest girl at the big party!

Counsel Responses:

  • Give it time. If you’re an associate, assuming your friends are the same level, they probably haven’t yet reached the level of burnout with their law firm jobs that taking a pay cut and having better quality of life looks really good to them yet. They’re still enamored with the prestige, etc, but we all know that fades over time. They’ll get there.
  • If your friends look down on you for being in-house counsel, they must also think business grows on trees.
  • Anyone who judges how you put food on the table is not much of a friend.
  • Maybe they are jealous.
  • Make new friends. 🤷🏾‍♂️
  • As someone who has worked at a large firm, boutique and in-house, it’s all in your head.
  • I’ve never felt this. I do get a lot of jealous comments though. :)
  • I’m not normally one to say “they’re just jealous,” but they probably are in this case.

Attorney and Associate Responses:

  • I’ve heard this before, but I really don’t get the thinking behind the prestige downgrade. To me, a good in-house gig seems like one of the better possible career outcomes. I’ve been doing this since before the turn of the millennium, and none of my firm peers feel any degree of job satisfaction at all. They only keep doing it because the money is hard to find in-house, because quality in-house gigs are a lot harder to come by than getting a good firm position. Not to denigrate certain in-house positions, but I do think compliance and contract management roles are viewed to be less prestigious; but generally speaking, I felt no loss in prestige going in-house. In fact, lots of lawyers all of a sudden seemed much more interested in what I was doing (and, of course, where I was going to send my work!).
  • I think it really comes down to money. However, I maintain that if friends believe your worth is tied to your net worth, you need a better caliber of friends. 
  • They probably want to be you, but are afraid to leave their firms. I certainly do. I’m actually pretty desperate to make the switch. I guess I’m afraid of a bad fit as in-house is a lot more idiosyncratic than BigLaw.
  • I’ll be your friend. I look very favorably on in-house counsel.
  • Same!!
  • If that's true, you need new friends.
  • I feel like sometimes they think I don’t work as hard or have stress anymore (which is not accurate). I find it’s people outside of the legal profession who think my job isn’t “prestigious” anymore.
  • I think my firm friends are jealous that I went in-house and I’m jealous that I’d be making so much cash had I stayed (multiple COVID bonuses, regular bonus, etc.)
  • I think it's the other way around. Every third person wants to “catch up” when we’re making billion-dollar acquisitions.