This article is written by Ashutosh. It gives in-depth knowledge about all the things that a fresher or a graduate law student needs to do in order to get an in-house counsel job. Other than this, this article also covers various other important aspects of an in-house counsel job such as its scope, duties, career path, earnings, skills, benefits, challenges, and other frequently asked questions related to an in-house counsel job. 

Table of Contents


Legal in-house counsel is a very crucial job in the legal field, almost all the big companies, MNCs and various other startups hire an in-house counsel to deal with the legal issues and problems that arise in the organisation. Earlier the role of an in-house counsel was only limited to handling the documents and other important paperwork of the organisation and sometimes giving legal advice to the members. They were also called paper pushers. 

Now the scope of in-house counsel has evolved and there have been a lot of opportunities coming up for the lawyers who wish to become in-house counsel. One of the most crucial things that an organisation looks for while employing an in-house counsel is their experience and skills and because of this particular factor, it becomes very difficult for fresh law graduates to become an in-house counsel in any organisation. 

Download Now

Thus, addressing this issue here in this article we will be dealing with all the important things that a fresher must do in order to become an in-house counsel in the initial days of his career. We will also discuss various other important things related to an in-house counsel job. So, make sure to read this article till the very end to know all the important insights related to in-house counsel jobs. 

Who is an in-house counsel

Most law students are very well informed about what law firm lawyers are and what their responsibilities include. However, there are very few law students who even know about in-house role jobs and responsibilities of an in-house lawyer. If you are someone who has an idea about what is an in-house counsel and wants to pursue this career, you must first understand who is an in-house counsel and what they do. 

In-house counsel lawyers are also known as legal counsels and work as employees of any multinational company or corporation. Although their role includes many different responsibilities, in general, their main role is to advance the business of a corporation and make sure that the legal documents of the corporation comply with all regulations of the government. Most of the corporations have a team of attorneys that comprise the legal team of the company. Such teams are mostly divided into two groups including senior counsels and staff counsels. Lawyers who are hired as senior counsel are usually people who have more than 8-10 years of experience. The salary of senior counsel in a corporation is very high as compared to the staff attorneys. The team of attorneys is usually headed by the most senior or experienced counsel. This counsel is sometimes given the name General Counsel. He is also known as the Chief legal officer of the company. 

The task of supervising the staff attorneys is given to the senior counsels, they are also trusted with advising the board of directors and advising the company in its affairs. The staff attorneys, similar to the junior associates of a law firm, are entrusted with the task of research and drafting. Thus, the tasks and role of an in-house counsel differ from experience to experience. But the overall task remains the same – to advise the company on significant legal matters. 

What are the different in-house roles

There are multiple in-house roles available for in-house legal counsel, the role of an in-house legal counsel depends upon the size of the employer and the budget of their organisation and how much they are willing to spend on legal matters. Some of the most important in-house legal counsel roles are mentioned below. 

In-house counsel

In-house counsels are also commonly known as legal counsel or in-house lawyers, an in-house legal counsel provides their employer with accurate, quality and relevant advice on the whole spectrum of legal matters that can be applied to their business and their products or services. In-house legal counsels often consist of only one member of a larger legal team and their duty is to report to the head of legal or general counsel of the organisation. In-house counsels have a duty to take care of all the legal issues that arise in the organisation and also to give advice to the members of the organisation on how they can prevent themselves from falling into any dispute.

Sole in-house counsel

The sole in-house counsel is similar to an in-house counsel, and the responsibilities of the sole in-house counsel are also similar to those of an in-house counsel. The sole in-house counsels are responsible for advising their employer but in a different sense because they are the only lawyers that are employed in the organisation. The sole in-house counsel does not have a team nor do they have any seniors. They are responsible for all the legal matters of the organisation and are solely responsible for all the decisions they take in favour of the organisation. Sole counsels are required to often arrive at innovative and smarter approaches to work and solve the legal problems that arise.

Sole regional counsel

The sole regional counsels are also known as sole divisional counsel and just like the sole in-house counsel, the sole regional counsel is a lawyer who works for an organisation and is solely responsible for all the legal decisions that are taken by the organisation. These lawyers play a very important role in an organisation and they provide important advice to the board of directors of an organisation and enable them to work in compliance with all the rules and regulations. The sole regional council operates as the sole adviser in a specific location, division or office. Sole regional counsels handle a large amount of work as compared to the in-house counsel or sole in-house counsel and thus because of this, the sole regional counsels are paid more than these counsels. 

What are the duties of an in-house counsel

A few decades earlier, the role of an in-house counsel was restricted to a channel of communication between their employer i.e. the corporation and the law firms. Thus, their role was not very significant in the company and they had little to no power in the legal matters of the company. However, this scenario has changed over the years and now most of the corporations keep a legal team and they entrust their legal attorneys with all the legal matters of the company. This has also increased the practice areas of in-house counsels including areas such as international trade, antitrust laws, securities law, real estate law, intellectual property laws and so on. 

An in-house counsel has many duties and responsibilities depending on their positions and experience. The different duties of an in-house counsel include the following:

Legal advisory

A corporation, in its course of business, has to make many legal decisions that might affect its business. The in-house counsels are responsible for providing general advice to the corporation and discussing the rights, duties and obligations of the corporation in relation to any matter. The counsels also provide advice to the corporation on matters of taxation, agreements, policies, regulatory compliance, liabilities of the company etc. so that the interest of the organisation is not compromised and at the same time, they follow the regulations issued by the government. Having a legal advisor is very important for any company as a wrong legal move might land up the company in a bad position. 

Legal compliance

The work or business of a corporation often comes under various industries and the government issues various regulations pertaining to different industries. The legal counsels make sure that the businesses are adhering to the applicable regulations of the particular industry. Sometimes the counsels also have to work with outside counsels from firms to conduct legal compliance or audits. If the counsels fail to make the corporation comply with any applicable law it might lead to situations where lawsuits are filed against the company. 

Intellectual property management

Any corporation owns a number of intellectual properties, from trademarked logos, slogans, music used in ads, recipes used by food companies etc. It is one of the most valuable assets that a corporation owns.  Due to the huge amount of intangible or intellectual property held by a corporation, it becomes difficult to keep a tab on all the properties and to make sure that it is not getting infringed by any other entity. Thus, in-house counsels manage the Intellectual property by filing cases against the infringers and registering any new intellectual property created by the corporation. 

Representing the corporation in court

A corporation is a juristic personality which means that it can sue and be sued. Usually, many different kinds of cases are filed against corporations relating to various matters like insolvency, intellectual property issues, compliance issues etc. The in-house counsels represent the company in all the cases that are filed against the companies and they also file cases in the courts on behalf of the company. Furthermore, they track the proceedings and file the required paperwork in court relating to the cases.  

Drafting and reviewing contracts

All the contracts that a corporation requires in the course of its business are made by the counsel. These contracts might include, employer-employee agreements, client contracts, lease agreements, agreements with contractors, vendors, suppliers etc. They also review the contracts between the corporation and any other company to make sure that there are not any clauses in the contracts that will undermine the interests or position of the corporation.


Legal research forms part of the daily work of every lawyer, whether you work as a corporate lawyer or start your own practice. A good lawyer invests a significant amount of his/her time in researching and reading documents as it gives clarity to the questions at hand. The legal counsel of a company also spends a notable amount of time in research to review and analyse the obiter dicta given in past cases and apply the same accordingly in the matter at hand. 

Maintaining paperwork for the corporation

There are many significant documents that are used in business transactions of a company. These documents are vital for the corporation and the company must keep a database of these documents as they might be used in future litigations of the company. Maintaining and storing the database is the responsibility of the legal counsel as they are the ones who will have to represent the corporation in the court of law, and eventually would need the documents for the cases. These documents might include, contracts with other corporations, agreements, business transactions, bylaws of the company, contracts with vendors, suppliers, contractors etc. 

Assist in making governance policies for the corporation

Although it is the responsibility of the human resources department to make governance policies for all the employees and make sure that everyone is abiding by the same, the need of legal counsel is required in drafting these policies because drafting governance policies is somewhat a legally technical work and the HR department is not equipped with the kind of skills required to make policies. Also, these labour policies have to be in compliance with many laws such as labour laws, companies act, POSH act etc. The lawyers have knowledge about these laws as these acts are a part of their law school course. The governance policies can include policies related to payroll (salaries), safety of women at the workplace, performance management etc. 

How can experienced lawyers become in-house counsel

Nowadays, most of experienced lawyers and attorneys want to become in-house counsel because of the lower workload and good payments. This line of work has gained a lot of prominence and because of this this role has become highly demanding for all the experienced lawyers as well as for freshers and young lawyers.

One of the main reasons why lawyers and attorneys are shifting towards in-house roles is because corporate firms have a lot of workload and the lawyers are overburdened with hectic work and they don’t have any work-life balance because of this. There are a number of young and experienced lawyers who still dream of becoming a partner in a big law firm but are unable to make it because of the politics and various other issues that take place in a law firm. The job of an in-house counsel has emerged as a good alternative for all those lawyers who are struggling in their law lives and want to move ahead in their careers. 

Most of the in-house legal teams are specific about the kind of lawyers they want to employ. Their first preference or the top most priority is those lawyers who have extensive knowledge and enough experience of work in other legal house teams. After this, they also want to hire experienced and knowledgeable lawyers from top law firms. In-house legal teams also pay a good salary to all the experienced lawyers and this is because the salary payment usually pales in comparison to what top lawyers and law firms charge. Therefore, if you are an experienced lawyer and have a proven track record and you are highly competent then you can easily get an in-house counsel job. Thus, it is suggested that all the lawyers who want to become in-house counsel to get enough knowledge and experience that is required in an in-house counsel and to connect and get guidance from already existing in-house counsel on how to excel in their skills. 

There are various in-house legal teams that recruit lawyers and attorneys on a large scale, such as insurance companies. The insurance companies hire an internal team of lawyers to process all the insurance claims filed by the customers. Finance and bank companies also hire a large team of lawyers to look after the legal issues and to process a large number of legal documents at a rapid speed, and these teams are structured like LPOs and nothing else. These kinds of hiring is also done by IT companies, IT companies also hire a team of lawyers to do high-level legal work and are paid higher fees and a separate captive LPO type structure that includes low skill repetitive work for a lower salary. The problem that arises with these teams that do mass recruitment is that in future you will face difficulties in finding a well-paid job when you are trying to shift to a different job in the future. 

In order to get recruited in a good organisation as an in-house legal counsel you need to be a specialised generalist. You should remain ready to deal with all the legal issues that your organisation throws at you. An in-house counsel is also responsible for handling all the competition law raids and defending a patent infringement suit on the same day when they are coming up with a new ESOP policy for the organisation. 

In order to stand out among all the competitors you need to learn the laws of other countries as well, because knowing the law of one country is not sufficient for an in-house legal counsel, because there are high chances that your organisation works and collaborated with various other foreign organisations, thus for this purpose it is very important for an in-house counsel to know the laws of various nations. As an in-house counsel, you may have to negotiate contracts on behalf of your organisation with the other organisations that have a different jurisdiction thus it is necessary for an in-house counsel to learn the laws of different countries. 

Career path to becoming an in-house counsel

For all the lawyers and attorneys who are confused about what should be their career path to pursue in-house counsel, we have a few important things that you must keep in mind and follow the same for better chances of employment as an in-house counsel.

Pursue a joint degree program

Firstly, all the lawyers who wish to become an in-house counsel must consider obtaining a business degree along with their legal degree, because this will help you out in being more qualified than other candidates. Not only the lawyers who have an MA, MS or MBA degree earn more than a lawyer who has a JD degree, but they also have more experience and a better understanding of the business world and therefore they make themselves in front of the employer and various other organisations who are looking to appoint in-house counsel. Thus, it is suggested for all the lawyers who wish to become in-house counsel to pursue multiple or joint degrees to increase their chances of employment in this heavy competition. Other than doing a joint degree or a business degree lawyers can also learn new skills such as writing and communication skills, learning these skills will increase the chances of your employment.

Mobilising personal network

One of the best resources available to a lawyer is his personal network. In-house lawyers who have built strong relationships with their colleagues within legal and all other departments have a high chance of getting employment through reference. It is very necessary for a lawyer to build a strong connection and personal network to get multiple opportunities for work in future, it is also advised to maintain a good reputation among all colleagues and seniors. These kinds of business relationships are reciprocal and pay dividends.

Utilise multiple resources

In-house counsels mostly deal with paperwork and handle all kinds of multiple legal documents of their organisation. Thus, it is very necessary for an in-house counsel to use various multiple resources in order to complete their work. The in-house counsels can easily seek out and schedule their meetings with their internal business contacts and ask all the questions and issues that they face and what are their long and short term strategic priorities that they aim for. By understanding all the main solutions and challenges they find themselves capable of adding more value when higher positions become available.

Keep your resume up to date

Lastly, one of the most important things that an in-house counsel needs to work upon is their resume. Make sure that your resume is up to date and accurate. Your resume must give a clear picture of your accumulated experience and skills to the employer. If an organisation carries out every aspect of the hiring procedure, then those responsible for interviewing and screening the candidate will quickly rule out any kind or level of expertise that does not go well with what the company is looking for. Whether or not the person responsible for hiring is a lawyer or not does not matter, they will focus on your resume and the things that you have mentioned there. Make sure to mention those things in your resume that you have personally achieved and don’t put any false information, as this can get you in trouble.

Ultimately, the career path of an in-house counsel cannot be paved with good intentions alone, you also need some additional skills and expertise. Being exceptional in your daily legal work is very important. 

Learn continuously

Development of talent takes advantage of various opportunities that companies provide so you can easily develop new soft and hard skills. It also helps an individual in staying relevant. In the current time scenario, it is very necessary for all lawyers to develop new technology skills. Currently, most of the companies are under the threat of cyber-attacks, and in such scenarios the in-house counsel is required to protect the sensitive data of their company and prevent any kind of data breach, thus in order to prevent these things and to safeguard the interest of the organisation they work for it is very necessary for them to learn new technology laws.

How to get an in-house counsel job as a fresher

There is no doubt that an in-house counsel job is one of the most attractive jobs in the legal field, and this is the reason why most of the lawyers nowadays want to shift to in-house legal teams. However, most of the companies and organisations want to hire lawyers and attorneys with in-depth knowledge and experience in the field of law as their in-house counsel. This is one of the biggest concerns for all the freshers because they don’t have enough experience and because of that they don’t get the opportunity to work as in-house counsel.

There are few things that a fresher can do in order to get themself an in-house counsel job without any experience. If you are a fresh law graduate and want to get an in-house counsel job then make sure that you read all the below mentioned things very carefully and keep that in mind while preparing yourself for an in-house counsel job.

Long term internships

It is true that companies and organisations don’t want to hire freshers but they do give internships to law students. Make a list of all the companies that give internship opportunities to law students, update your CV and cover letter and send an application for internship to all the companies and wait for their reply. If you get selected in any of the organisations then make sure that you make the most out of it, because these internships can help you in getting a in-house counsel job in that company. Make sure to be diligent throughout the whole internship and get your internship extended for a longer period. Build a good relationship with all the other employees of the company and assist them in legal work. Long term internships are a great tool for all the law students who want to get a job opportunity as an in-house counsel.

During your internship make sure that you get to know all the legal work that is being carried out in that particular organisation and try to develop all the skills that are required to carry out those legal works. This will increase your chances of employment in an organisation because they feel that you have got the required skills that they are looking for in an In-house counsel.

Target those companies that hire freshers

Almost all the lawyers and law students want to get an employment opportunity in a company organisation which pays heavy salaries and is a renowned company. If you do this and target only big companies then you will end up with nothing and this is because all the big companies and organisations always hire experienced lawyers and attorneys, they hire partners of top law firms and senior renowned advocates as their in-house counsel, thus, in short, there is no scope for you in such companies.

In such a scenario what you can do is do a little research and find out all the various companies and organisations that hire fresh law graduates. Or you can also look for organisations that have a huge legal team and they do mass recruitment of lawyers. By doing this you will have a higher chance of employment. 

Companies such as SREI, ICICI Bank, Reliance and ITC often hire a team of lawyers for the purpose of handling all their legal disputes. These companies don’t hesitate in hiring lawyers and when there is a large space for a legal team the bigger will be the chance of your employment. 

Any large in-house legal team is a potential candidate for hiring fresh law graduates, however, most of these in-house legal teams have their favourite campuses from where they hire, and they usually hire from those campuses from where they have a tie up. Thus, it becomes really hard for freshers to land jobs in these legal house teams unless they are studying in a college which has a tie up with these legal teams.

There are also various PSUs that hire freshers for the in-house positions, but to be very honest these are very lucrative and most of the PSUs hire freshers who top the CLAT LLM exam or some other tests. Not all fresh law graduates can grab these opportunities until and unless they have prepared for it or they have studied in a really good college. 

Develop exceptional skills and pursue additional courses from your initial days of college

One of the most important things that all the companies and organisations look for during the hiring or interview round is the skills a lawyer possesses. There are four most important types of work that is being carried out by in-house counsels namely, compliances, contracts, litigation and policy advocacy. 

Contract drafting is the most important skill that all fresh graduates must excel in if they want to work as in-house counsel. This is because in-house counsel are required to draft various legal documents for their organisation and if you don’t know how to draft legal documents then you are of no use to them. Being skilled at drafting contracts and negotiation can help you a lot in getting an employment opportunity as an in-house counsel.

Another critical area for in-house counsels in compliance, having in-depth knowledge of all the statutory compliances will make you an attractive hire for in-house legal departments. If you have heard from a lawyer that doing a CS course will help you in getting an in-house counsel job, then that is because CS is all about dealing with compliance. Though it is not compulsory to do a CS course to learn about compliance, you can also learn it from online courses or by studying on your own.

Policy advocacy is also one of the most important areas of work for all in-house lawyers. Under policy advocacy, an in-house counsel needs to engage with the government, bureaucrats, and politicians and they also need to put across policy positions that would be very important for the company, and they are also required to persuade them to not change or implement policies that may hurt the business of the organisation in future. Not all the companies and organisations have policy work for their in-house teams. However, in most of the tech companies and certain other industries which are highly regulated, such as alcohol, tobacco, transport, insurance policy is very critical.

Litigation is another major area of work for all the in-house lawyers. While the in-house counsels can not appear before the courts on their own they often manage litigation in various courts and instruct their litigators. The in-house counsels draft documents, build a strategy with the outside counsels and make certain critical strategic decisions.

Sometimes companies also hire in-house lawyers for a particular skill they are good at or which is required to carry out the activities in that particular company. Specific skills such as negotiation, acquisitions, handling consumer litigation, employment and labour law are in great demand. 

Target SMEs and startups

If you are a fresh law graduate or a very young lawyer, then you must try to get a job in small startups and SMEs that have 10-30 employees. Most of these organisations don’t have a legal team but they have enough legal work with which you can help them. These organisations find lawyers and attorneys to be expensive and because of that they usually hire fresh law graduates and provide them a chance to work with them. You can also intern with these organisations and help them out in making drafts and compliances. As you begin to assist them and you add value to their organisation they will be ready to provide you a job offer.

If you don’t get the job opportunity, you will definitely get valuable experience and you will also be able to build a network of professional connections that will help you a lot in the future and will also boost your career. 


No lawyer should miss out on building networks with people they meet in their career, it doesn’t matter whether you are introvert or extrovert, if you are in the field of law you must go meet and build connections with your seniors, colleagues, batchmates etc. because you don’t know from where you can get a job reference. 

If you are doing an internship then make sure to connect with all the employees of the organisation you are working in, connect with them on LinkedIn, send them a request and have a little conversation and eventually make a bond with them. If you build connections and create a good bond with the members of your organisation then there are high chances that they will refer your name for a job opportunity. Sometimes people with good connections get an excellent job opportunity whereas an individual with exceptional skills fails to do so. Thus, you should never miss out on making a strong network. 

One of the best things that you can do to develop your networking is through LinkedIn, it is the best way of building new connections and connecting them with ease. If you are still not a LinkedIn user then make sure that the first thing you do after reading this article is to go to the LinkedIn website and create your account. It will be extremely helpful in increasing your network. If you want to know more about LinkedIn and how to use it then click on this link. 

Become tech savvy 

There has been a lot of demand for lawyers who have technological skills and those who know how to deal with the issues of technology. There are various organisations and companies that hire technology lawyers in their in-house legal teams, this is because with the growth of technology, there has been a huge rise in online frauds and cyber attacks, thus to deal with these kinds of issues they hire technology lawyers in their teams. 

In the current scenario, there are very few lawyers who have expertise in technology law and it is the best time for a fresh law graduate to develop an expertise in technology law. One main reason why one should learn technology skills and technology law is because most of the senior lawyers are not used to technology and they still stick to the traditional method of work. Thus, it is a great area of work for fresh law graduates to utilise this opportunity and get an in-house counsel job in a company that hires technology workers.

If you want to know about technology law and technology lawyers, then refer to this article.

What to do in law school to get in-house opportunity

A lot of law students want to pursue in-house counsel careers and because of that, there have been a lot of online courses created for such students. Many of these courses are created with the intent to prepare the law students to tackle all kinds of issues that are most common in corporate practice such as internal investigations and contract negotiations. 

Developing good writing abilities and communication skills is also very important for a law student to excel in the field of law. Law students must prepare themselves in their initial days of college to master all the tasks that are done in an in-house counsel team. You can take classes in legal writing and oral advocacy to polish your skills. Make sure that you do a lot of hard work in your law school and try to write and publish as many research papers and legal articles, this adds extra weight to your CV, and a good CV will always increase your chances of employment. 

Interested students can also take up management and business classes outside the law school to develop additional skills and expertise. By doing these classes, the student will be able to stand apart from the competition and they will become the first choice of all the recruiters. 

Speak to the corporate attorneys to gauge their interest in giving you an opportunity in the form of an internship or hiring you as a part-time law clerk, by doing this you will gain a lot of additional practical knowledge that will help you in getting selected. It will also allow you to establish contacts with some important persons who can in the future help you in securing a job opportunity as an in-house lawyer. 

Mistakes to avoid in order to land an in-house counsel job in an MNC

Most of the MNCs want to hire experienced lawyers who have already served as in-house counsel in any other company and organisation. It is extremely difficult for a fresher to land an in-house counsel job, MNCs only hire freshers from those universities with whom they have a tie up. Many fresh law graduates want to get a legal in-house counsel job in these MNCs because of the easy life and good salary they provide to the lawyers, but all the freshers make some common mistakes because of which they don’t get an opportunity to get employed in the MNCs. in this article we will be talking about the three most common mistakes that freshers make and because of which they lose the opportunity of employment. Read below to know about those mistakes.

Lack of practical knowledge

All the organisations and companies, whether small or big, always look for those lawyers who have the requisite legal knowledge to deal with any kind of legal issues. Most of the MNCs have four types of job roles namely, litigation, advisory, contracts and documentation, and compliance. Each of these roles is different from one another in terms of nature and requires a different set of skills to carry these roles properly. A fresher often does not know much about the laws and regulations governing the industry. They lack the necessary skills that are required to solve a particular issue. They don’t know how to proceed and what they are supposed to do. 

To be honest, none of the freshers have these skills from their initial days, because it takes time to learn all these skills. It is a very unrealistic expectation from the companies, but there are some individuals who have successfully got an employment opportunity as a fresher. The freshers who were able to get the opportunity stated that they started preparing for the job opportunities beforehand. They read all the relevant laws and took an online course which helped them in knowing about all updated laws. Speaking and connecting to various seniors and mentors to get some practical knowledge can also be extremely helpful.

Freshers are not ready for the job

Most of the freshers have a great expectation from their first job, they are always looking for a learning experience. That is not the case with MNCs, these MNCs work in a very different manner. They expect you to make quick decisions relating to all the legal issues that arise in the company. They expect you to give quick solutions to all the legal problems the company is facing without causing any harm to the company’s revenue. Freshers also lack flexibility and are too humble and because of that they succumb to the surroundings. To solve this issue, freshers need to have a reality check and ask themselves whether they are ready for this job opportunity or not. 

One thing which can help you in getting a job opportunity in an MNC is networking. If you have a desired company where you want to work then make sure to connect with the employees working in that company and check about the employability options. You can also take up online courses and gain additional knowledge that will help you in building a good reputation in front of the interviewers. During the interview make sure that you don’t leave any stone unturned and ask the recruiter any question that you want to know about related to the job profile. 

Don’t treat the company as a stop-gap agreement

Most of the freshers treat their job as a stop-gap arrangement till the time they get a better opportunity in any other company with a higher salary. This is one of the most common problems that most of the MNCs face. Most of the freshers believe that the best they can do is dig out hefty fees and salaries from their law degree by working at the top tier law firms, and because of these things they often keep switching their jobs. 

The problem of attrition has become so huge that the companies are now reluctant in giving employment to freshers. Owing to the growth of various law firms, startups and companies, freshers nowadays have endless opportunities. Most of the recruiters feel that the problems lie with the freshers but that is not hundred percent true, if the company provides enough benefits and stability to freshers then they won’t need to shift their job. It is important to understand that irrespective of all the challenges there are a lot of freshers who get employment opportunities in MNCs. If you prepare well and you are ready to face the challenges then you can also make it.

Why are in-house counsel jobs becoming extremely attractive

In-house counsels have a much better understanding of the business that they are hired to help than any other lawyer. The in-house counsel not only survive their job, but they actually enjoy doing their work, and they have the intelligence to think about all the critical stuff that will benefit their organisation. There are various reasons why lawyers and attorneys want to shift their corporate job to an in-house counsel job. We have listed some of the prominent reasons below in this article.

Higher job satisfaction

There are lawyers who like to get involved in a business and invest in an organisation that is growing rather than arguing and pleasing the judges. These lawyers help an organisation in their development and overall growth for their own job satisfaction. Many lawyers get into an in-house legal team in order to learn additional management skills that he was unable to learn in his litigation practice. Sometimes getting job satisfaction is even better than getting a six figure salary and not all lawyers work for money, some of them work for their own satisfaction. When an in-house counsel helps its organisation in developing, growing and overcoming all kinds of challenges he gets a satisfaction that nothing could match.

Legal in-house teams have better management

Many things that are acceptable in litigation chambers and big law firms are totally not acceptable in companies all around the World. One of the biggest problems that a junior lawyer faces in a corporate job or litigation is being overburdened with work and spending nights in the office. That is not the case with the legal in-house teams where the work is properly designated to all the lawyers and there is a proper timeframe in which they need to work and not beyond that timeframe. The work culture in a world-class company is far better than the work culture of a top law firm. Another area in which the in-house legal teams are better managed is in the area of technology. In-house legal teams use cutting edge technology that helps them in working more efficiently than a lawyer working in a law firm. 

In-house counsels perform more cutting edge work

Earlier there was a notion that in-house counsel are not lawyers and they are mere managers and they just need to sit in their office and look at the documents. Not any more, because in the past few years, the role of an in-house counsel has evolved a lot. Now in-house counsel’s role is not only limited to handling paperwork and documents, but they also deal with a lot of outside work, like going to the court, drafting the important documents, implementing strategies and many more. In-house lawyers are also upgrading their knowledge to a higher level and they are giving the lawyers of law firms a run for their money. And they can afford to do so because they spend a lot more time on a given problem than a law firm lawyer ever can, given all the financial constraints.

Higher salary

There was a time when law firms used to pay a lot of money to their lawyers and there was no one paying that much amount of money to lawyers and advocates. Companies at that time did not even try to match the salaries offered by the law firms to the lawyers. Corporations later realised that having a good in-house legal team is a competitive advantage in the business and it will help them prevent any kind of legal dispute, and now because of that companies are not hesitating in allocating good budgets to their legal teams and in-house counsels. They have started to pay really well to the lawyers and they have started to hire top law firm partners and give them even better packages. 

Salaries provided by the companies to in-house counsels are even more than that of law firms and they also give certain other additional perks to their lawyers. Most of the in-house counsels get a salary of more than 7 lakh rupees.

Earnings of in-house counsel

There is no definite amount or salary of an in-house counsel, the salary of a legal in-house counsel depends upon the organisation they work in and the level of expertise they hold in this profession. Fresh law graduates who are employed under any startup or any other organisation earn on an average of 6 lakhs to 10 lakhs rupees per year. 

Any senior lawyer or the partner of a top law firm who has been hired by an MNC or any other big company or organisation can easily earn up to 50 lakh rupees per year. Thus, the salary of an in-house counsel depends on the organisation in which they are employed. 

Why work as an in-house counsel

There are various reasons why you should work as an in-house counsel, we have listed down some of the main reasons on why you should work as an in-house counsel, and they are as follows:

Practical legal experience

Most of the in-house counsels work on cases that are filled with legal concerns, whereas most of the new lawyers in a law firm are mostly assigned to a team that specialises in a particular area of law. An in-house counsel must always remain ready for various kinds of legal issues that arise in their organisation, whether it is a fairly simple matter of contract law or any complicated civil action.

Enough learning opportunities

For most of the in-house counsels, the most beneficial advantage of the job opportunity is the proximity to the daily tasks they do for the company, including all the activities that need legal expertise. Through this job opportunity, the in-house counsels also get a chance of improvising their legal skills, which could be very beneficial for them in their careers. 

Personal growth and intellectual stimulation

There are various opportunities for personal growth for an in-house counsel, an in-house counsel gains a lot of considerable professional growth from his work. During their employment as an in-house counsel, they get to learn about a lot of new business techniques and strategies, such as how to approach the management on a particular topic. This may include working closely with all the staff members and the managers, which gives an advocate insights into other aspects of the company.

Quality of lifestyle

In-house counsels have a very good quality of life, and it is one of their biggest advantages. The consistent nature of the in-house counsel’s workplace environment is amazing. The field of work of an in-house counsel is very different from the lawyers who work in an organisation and there are also no required billable hours, they don’t have any duty of acquiring new customers, and they also don’t need any partnership record.  

How to apply for an in-house counsel job

Freshers often get confused while applying for an in-house counsel job, and make mistakes that get their application rejected. So, here is a roadmap for all the freshers who are going to apply for an in-house counsel job. 

Know about your job

The first thing that you must do before applying for an in-house counsel job is to know about the working of an in-house counsel and the duties and responsibilities they have. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with all the different fields or areas of law in which in-housel works, namely, litigation, intellectual property, contract etc. 

Check on companies that are hiring

Do your research and make a list of all the companies and organisations that are hiring freshers. Research more and check what kind of roles they are offering to freshers. Make sure to attend networking events, attend various job affairs and connect with senior lawyers and other legal experts.

Develop skills and expertise 

After you make a list of all the companies and organisations that are hiring in-house counsels, make sure to check for what kind of work they are hiring. Once you get to know about the work they are looking for, develop relevant skills and expertise that can help you master those works. By doing this the recruiter will prefer you over anyone else.

Create an outstanding cover letter and CV

This is a very important step, when you apply for a job, the first thing that a recruiter looks at is your CV and cover letter.

Tips for a better CV

  • Make sure that you highlight all the achievements that you have, mention about your internships, legal courses etc.
  • Make sure to showcase all your analytical, writing and research skills
  • Mention all the certifications that you have, especially those that are industry specific or business related.

Tips for cover letter

  • In your cover letter make sure that you demonstrate the understanding you have about the company and the job role that they are offering, and why you need it, why you should be their choice.
  • In your cover letter, talk about your skills and expertise and how you can use them for the growth of the company.

Get ready for interviews

  • Once your application is selected you will be called for an interview round.  Once you are called for the interview make sure that you research all the things related to the company, and be well-versed with your CV. 
  • Practise all the commonly asked questions that interviewers ask 
  • Create your own questions that you can ask the interviewer

Ten things you must know in order to become a successful in-house counsel

An in-house counsel plays a very vital role in growing the business of a corporation. If the counsel fails to play his role properly and mitigate the risks for the corporation, the business might take a toll. Thus, it becomes very important that an in-house counsel must know a few things to understand his/her role before accepting the job. 10 things that every in-house counsel must know have been given below:

Understanding the company’s business

In order to truly help the company with legal matters, the in-house counsels must first try to deeply understand the business of the company. Most corporations deal with some products or services, so the counsel must have knowledge about the products or services given by their corporation. The counsel can themselves buy the product or services to understand the product. The in-house counsels must also try to learn everything about the business of the company including who the competitors are, what are the products or services of the competitor and what strategies are used by the company to tackle the competitors. This will equip the counsel with complete knowledge about the business and what goes in and out of the company. Thus, they would be in a stronger position while defending the company. 

Strengthen relations with people in the business

If you have joined as an in-house counsel, you will find a number of people in your team who will be most probably senior to you. As a newcomer, you must try to build good relations with them, ask them if they need you in any case, work on different projects with them, and learn as much as possible from the seniors. Also, try to work with different seniors if you get the opportunity and blend in with people as much as possible. In addition to seniors from the legal team, you must also try to make connections with the non-legal teams or people like the directors, managers etc. This will help you gain the trust of not only the legal team but of most of the teams. Provide the best quality of work and it will make you an invaluable asset for the corporation. 

Understand why you have been hired

Once you are hired as a legal counsel in the team, you must try to figure out why they hired you because hiring of employees in a company takes place for different reasons. Sometimes, people are hired to fill vacant places left by some other employee, sometimes the candidate proves to be extraordinarily good, sometimes there’s a need for an extra hand due to an overload of work etc. Once you figure this out, you must take on the role to fill in the shoes for which you have been hired. In addition to this, you also need to keep in mind that no matter why you were hired, legal counsels always have to act as advisors to the business in spite of whatever more responsibilities they are entrusted with. Thus, as an advisor of the corporation, you must recognise future risks, and help the corporation in making sound decisions. 

Communicate constructively with clients and seniors

As an in-house counsel, you will have to communicate not only with lawyers but also with many non-lawyers like your client, and other members of the company like directors, HRs, managers etc. Thus, you will have to simplify whatever legal issues you want to communicate with the non-lawyer members in a way that is clear for ordinary people. Additionally, you also need to have good listening skills to understand the concerns of your colleagues and stakeholders of the company. 

Working as in-house counsel is like working as a team

When you work in a law firm, you provide services to clients outside the firm who bring in their legal problems to the firm but when you work as an in-house counsel, you have to keep in mind that you are part of a team and all of you are working together to grow the business of the company. Thus, the attitude or mindset of those who work in a law firm is very different to those working as in-house counsel. As a lawyer, an in-house counsel needs to use law to advance the business of the company, they do not have to wait for companies to get into some legal problem and then give the solution like law firm lawyers whereas they have to in advance identify any potential legal risks and prevent the company from getting into the problem. 

Understand your value as an in-house lawyer and put in work accordingly

Law firms or outside counsels charge the companies on an hourly basis because their aim is to earn money by giving legal assistance to the company and they hardly care, whether it affects the business of the company or not. However, in-house counsels are far more valuable to any company because of the fact that they know every nook and corner of the business. Thud, once you are hired as an in-house counsel, the first thing you should do is understand the business of the company to be able to play your role effectively. 

Be well versed in different laws

Since the job itself is of legal counsel, you must be aware of the laws that the business requires. A business has to deal with several kinds of cases that come their way, some might be related to intellectual properties, some real estate, some companies law, insolvency etc. Thus, as an in-house counsel, you cannot restrict your practice or knowledge to any particular field of law, unlike law firm lawyers who have the option to work under different legal teams. 

Balance risks with goals of the company

There are many risks that a business might face, it is the responsibility of the in-house counsels to make policies for the company that are in compliance with the legal rules and also help the company to grow its business. For example- the counsels must not draft any such policies for the company that helps in growing the business of the company or is in the interests of the company but on the other hand compromises with the legal compliances or vice versa. 

Don’t hesitate to take help from seniors

When you start as an in-house counsel, you will be delegated a lot of work by your seniors, most of which would pertain to researching or sometimes drafting. While even as a newcomer you are expected to know how to go about these tasks, however, it is natural for a human to not know everything. And laws especially are so vast with so many interpretations that you are bound to make mistakes. Asking seniors might feel like you are showing that you don’t know anything, but doing a task incorrectly is going to land you up in an even worse situation. So, do not hesitate to ask your seniors whenever you are delegated work that is beyond your understanding or in which you have any doubts. This will also help you in learning more and more.  

Be flexible and fast with work

Working as an in-house counsel requires a lot of flexibility. You might wonder what being flexible as an in-house counsel means. So, as stated earlier, an in-house counsel must not restrict their knowledge and work only to legal work, they are expected to know about the business model, clients of the business, rival competitors, objectives of the business etc. This means that you will have to be flexible with your work, you must have an answer whenever the company falls in a pit because most of such times require legal remedies. You must also be quick in coming up with solutions as time is very crucial for companies. 

Essential skills for an in-house counsel

The role of in-house counsel is very crucial in a company. Also, companies do not hire any other person for the role of in-house counsel. In order to become a successful in-house attorney, you must possess some skills that are crucial to become a successful attorney and to excel at work. 

Contract drafting and document reviewing

A company deals with various contracts in a day, as an in-house counsel one of the major skills that one will require is to be able to review and draft contracts. In daily parlance, contracts are used by corporations in their dealings with different businesses. When in-house counsel join a company they are mostly given the work of reviewing a contract and to make sure that the clauses are not in conflict with the business. Thus, you must make sure to learn the skills of contract drafting and reviewing before starting a job as in-house counsel. 


A lawyer needs to ace research skills as it is very much needed in building arguments for a case. When it comes to in-house lawyers, they need to constantly be researching on some matter or the other, as there is always some issue going on or some policies to be made for which high quality researching is mandatory. 

Knowledge about business

As mentioned earlier in this article, the work of an in-house counsel is different to that of law firm lawyers because the main goal of in-house counsel is to protect the company from any legal hazard and prevent the same from happening in future. Thus, it is very crucial that in-house counsels get knowledge about how businesses work, especially the working model of their company. This is why most in-house counsels prefer to do CS or have already done CS as completing this course means that the person has enough knowledge about companies. 

Project management skills

In-house counsels are most of the time entrusted with leading the legal aspects of the creation of any new project, product or service. They need to meet the goals of the company, in the time frame given. Thus, in-house counsels must develop leadership and management skills so that they are easily able to execute, control and achieve the desired results of any plan. 

Challenges faced by a fresh law graduate

There are a lot of fresh law graduates who dream of becoming an in-house counsel, but they don’t know about the challenges that they will face in getting a job opportunity as an in-house counsel. Here we have mentioned some of the most common challenges and issues faced by fresh law graduates in getting an in-house counsel job.

  • One of the most common challenges that they face is the lack of experience and practical knowledge. Most of the fresh law graduates don’t have enough practical experience, and they don’t know much about the work of an in-house counsel. Thus, because of this they often get rejected in the interview round.
  • Most companies and organisations hire experienced lawyers such as senior advocates and partners of top law firms, and because of this, the chance of getting a job opportunity for a fresh law graduate becomes zero.
  • Fresh law graduates often don’t get recruited for an in-house counsel job because they lack industry experience and do not have enough knowledge of business and business laws. Thus, it is recommended for all the law students who want to become an in-house counsel to do some additional courses on business and business law to develop additional skills.
  • Law students lack networking skills, and most of the in-house counsel jobs are filled through reference. Thus it is very important to build a strong network from the initial days of your college to get job and internship referrals.
  • Fresh law graduates are often paid less salary than experienced lawyers and because of this they get disheartened, but that must not be the case because the salaries are given based on the level of experience, so staying calm and building a level of expertise will increase the salary eventually. 


Yes, getting an in-house counsel job as a fresher is a difficult task, but it is not impossible. There are a lot of fresh law graduates who have successfully secured in-house jobs through their hard work and dedication. In this article, we have emphasised upon all the important things that a fresh law graduate must do in order to get an in-house counsel job opportunity.

We hope that you have read the whole article and have understood what you are required to do, to get an in-house job opportunity. Make sure to start your preparation in the initial days and prepare according to a plan, take reference from this article and you are ready to go. Best of luck!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the salary of an in-house counsel?

There are various factors upon which the salary of an in-house counsel is determined, some of the most important factors are level of expertise, reputation, additional skills and years of experience. Thus keeping all these things in mind the salary of in-house counsels varies from each other and it also varies from organisation to organisation. For example, a fresh law graduate who is employed in a medium sized company can get a salary of up to 7 lakh rupees per year, whereas, on the other hand, an experienced lawyer employed in a big and renowned organisation can easily earn up to 50 lakh rupees per year. 

What are the skills required to get an in-house counsel job?

If you are a fresh law graduate who wants to get an in-house counsel job, then it is very important for you to develop some additional skills. A few of the most important skills that a fresher needs to develop are contract drafting, business knowledge, and negotiations. Other than these skills you can also master various other skills to stand out in the competition and to become the first preference of the recruiter. 

Do companies hire freshers as in-house counsel?

Yes, there are some companies that hire fresh law graduates, but small companies and startups that can not hire senior advocates and partners of law firms often give job opportunities to fresh law graduates. All you need to do is do a little research and find out all the companies that are new and hire freshers.

What are the challenges faced by a fresher in securing an in-house counsel job?

There are various challenges that a fresh law graduate needs to face in order to secure an in-house counsel job, and some of the most common challenges are lack of years of experience, lack of practical knowledge, no networking skills, and not having enough business skills. If you want to secure an in-house counsel job then make sure that you work from the initial days of your college to face all these challenges successfully. 

Who is an in-house counsel?

An in-house counsel are lawyers who work for companies or businesses by providing them with legal guidance and advice in all matters. In-house counsels also represent their companies in a court of law. 

What does an in-house lawyer do?

There are various duties of an in-house lawyer who works in an organisation. Earlier there was a misconception that in-house counsels only sit on their desks and look at the papers. That is not the case because in-house lawyers are required to do a plethora of tasks such as drafting important documents, compliances, advisory, dealing with the clients etc. 

What internships should I do in my law school to make my CV  look good for a job as an in-house counsel?

Getting your CV ready from law school itself is great if someone wants to land up a job of an in-house counsel. In your initial years of the law school (first and second), you may do internships with NGOs and then with district court lawyers to learn basic knowledge about how courts work. Once you are done with these internships, by your third year you can start internships with law firms to learn more about how legal work is done. By the end of your third year, start looking for internships in MNCs and try to take long term internships in these companies. You can convert your long term internships into PPO (PrePlacement Offer) if you work hard during the internship. 

How can I get internships in the leading MNCs? I’ve heard they usually don’t take law interns. 

Yes, sometimes it’s true that many MNCs don’t take law interns because their industry of work is different and they already have a big legal team working and some don’t hire freshers. In such cases, you should use your personal connections. Ask your relatives if anyone works in any MNC, they can definitely help you in getting an internship in the MNC. Never hesitate to take help from personal connections, they are the best way to get internships in places that are reluctant in taking legal interns, and who knows, you might end up getting a job there. 




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here