Where can you see yourself next?

Hire now, pay later

Hire now, pay later

For the last decade, the traditional financial services firms have faced mass challenges in the market as technology has developed and created financial services disruptors.

The majority of these disruptors have been through technology-based platforms that make it more accessible and convenient for customers (like you & me). The industries that these businesses have been focusing on are within alternative financing like payments (buy now pay later), home loans, green loans, peer to peer lending, neo-banks, insuretech, wealth management platforms and the most recent being within blockchain & crypto.

So why am I telling you this? – We have seen a trend in the calibre and types of lawyers that are securing these positions in-house & why in-house lawyers are wanting to go there relative to the more traditional banking & financial services organisations that have had a longer presence in the market.

Why do in-house lawyers want to go to them?

  • Technology is the future and allows financial services lawyers to have that exposure to that industry.
  • There are risks associated with joining startups but by the time they are usually hiring in-house counsel they are financially backed & profitable therefore they are joining through their growth phase. When joining in this phase the lawyers are living through the success of the business & what it takes to get there – their work is revolved around making an impact on evolving it & implementing change.
  • One of the main reasons a lawyer goes in-house is to be a part of a business and understand how it works. They wish to work closely with both internal/external stakeholders & the decision-makers that get the business to where its success is today.
  • The scope of work within these companies is broader than the more traditional financial services businesses where there are multiple, huge, pockets of specialised legal teams and lawyers become worried about being pigeon-holed. Lawyers are able to keep the speciality that they have been previously practising whilst having exposure to other areas that they usually wouldn’t.
  • The work inevitably has its “business as usual” components like any other in-house position but it tends not to be repetitive, as the business grows there is stimulating & innovative work (such as new product launches).
  • For more Senior Counsel joining these businesses at the right time allows for future progression & the ability to grow out your team rather than inheriting a large team.
  • There is expansion into leadership opportunities and moving into more strategic, non-legal roles for senior lawyers.

There are then the obvious perks that come with these exciting fintech disruptors being equity/share options, working from home, epic offices with casual office attire, flexibility, free breakfasts/lunches onsite and social events that create a good culture.

Why don’t in-house lawyers go there?

  • Junior solicitors tend to be more risk-averse when starting out their careers and prefer to have a more reputable name on their CV for their first in-house move.
  • The businesses tend to have flatter structures which might mean that management roles aren’t available straight away.
  • The concept of being a sole legal counsel is daunting for junior to mid-level solicitors as there is sole responsibility on their shoulders, lack of collaboration and no general counsel to report into to learn from or review their work.
  • Whilst the idea of a broader scope of work is appealing to some, there is also element where you have to be a hands on lawyer which isn’t appealing to some.
Rosie Allen

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