Contact Us

Truly global and proudly local, we've been serving Australia for over 25 years with offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

Get in touch

Our industry specialists will listen to your aspirations and share your story with Australia’s most prestigious organisations. Together, let’s write the next chapter of your career.

See all jobs

Exclusive recruitment partners

Explore the opportunities from a range of organisations that exclusively partner with Robert Walters for their hiring needs.

Learn more

Australia's leading employers trust us to deliver fast, efficient hiring solutions that are tailored to their exact requirements. Browse our range of bespoke services and resources.

Read more

Capability Statement

We offer a range of services that we have perfected over time, yet we embrace all challenges without exception. Share your talent challenges with us and together we will find the solution.

Learn more
About Robert Walters Australia

G'day! For us, recruitment is more than just a job. We understand that behind every opportunity is the chance to make a difference in people's lives.

Learn more

Work for us

Our people are the difference. Hear stories from our people to learn more about a career at Robert Walters Australia

Learn more
Contact Us

Truly global and proudly local, we've been serving Australia for over 25 years with offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

Get in touch

Thinking of making the move in-house?

As an increasing number of companies continue to invest in their in-house legal departments to become partnering strategic planning functions, the option to work in-house is becoming ever more attractive to lawyers. That being said, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages compared to working in a private practice firm, so it’s important you weigh up the opportunity properly.

If moving in-house is something you are currently considering, we set out some of the pros and cons of such a move, which might just help your decision.  


1. One client

When moving in-house, typically it means you will be working for one client only; namely the business that employs you. This way of working can be preferred by lawyers compared with dealing with multiple clients at the same time, which is common practice when at a private practice firm. Although, if you are employed by a multinational group or a larger company, there is still the possibility you may have numerous ‘clients’ – different stakeholders within the business. However, here you have the advantage that you are also colleagues which gives you the option to negotiate deadlines based on business priority and required outcomes. 

2. Future career progression

Making partner has become increasingly difficult with increased competition in law firms and limited opportunities, particularly at the equity partnership level. The nature of work undertaken in-house can sometimes provide lawyers with the opportunity to take on a more commercial role and offer accelerated career progression. When it comes to legal work, everything tends to be very closely related to the particular area of business in which your employer is engaged, so a thorough understanding of the industry you work in is often just as important as knowledge of the law. 

3. Increased flexibility

Generally, being in-house you will not have to keep track of billable hours. The demands of recording your time can be frustrating and monotonous. Working in-house doesn’t mean you’ll be working any less hard, just that there isn’t the same pressure to monitor your billable hours; inevitably allowing you more flexibility.  You can enjoy consistency in hours and may also enjoy longer, less interrupted holidays. 

4. Broader compensation packages

Whilst lawyers may receive a lower base salary when working in-house compared to that in private practice, the extra benefits offered may actually boost the compensation package to make it more competitive overall. Benefits can range from a car, private medical insurance, pension entitlement and bonus schemes to even extra days annual leave.

5. Flexibility to structure work around your life

As an in-house lawyer you will work closely with your clients and have the opportunity to see the outcome of your advice, compared to private practice where you may not always observe how your advice was implemented and therefore the result achieved. With any luck, you’ll feel part of the decision-making process driving your company. Many in-house lawyers speak of the real sense of achievement that comes with contributing to the development and growth of the company and will often receive much higher levels of recognition for their work. 


1. One client

Working for only one client means you won’t have exposure to the same variety of work as compared with working in a private practice law firm. So, if you prefer a diverse range of work and clients, then an in-house position may not suit you. The quality of work you are exposed to in private practice is of an exceptionally high standard – working for successful Partners can offer unrivalled training and exposure compared to when working in-house. 

2. Lower salary

Whilst junior to mid-level lawyers might receive a large initial salary increase when moving in-house, this is likely to plateau in comparison to private practice where salaries would increase steadily year on year. In general, senior in-house lawyers are likely to receive a lower base salary than working in an equivalent private practice role. Large ASX companies are able to offer generous remuneration packages to their General Counsels and Senior Legal Counsels, but these roles represent a minority in the market. 

3. Fewer training opportunities

When working in-house, there tends to be less opportunity for you to increase your technical knowledge through training. This may be a concern for junior associates who still need to develop their skillsets, particularly if they plan to transition back into a private practice. Competing against lawyers with access to higher levels of training could hinder potential job opportunities in the future. 

4. Potential increased hours

Whilst most in-house roles do offer increased flexibility in comparison to law firms, they can still be a demanding work environment. As in-house lawyers are usually required to report to multiple departments and stakeholders, their roles can be extremely demanding, often leading to increased workloads without increased compensation. Within multinational companies this can also mean international hours working with different stakeholders across the world.

Share this article

Useful links

Sign up for job alerts
Salary survey
Career advice
Get in touch

Find out more by contacting one of our specialist recruitment consultants

Related content

View all

The new law career pathway - there is a better way

As a leading legal recruitment organisation, we often get asked about alternative legal careers available to lawyers. It seems that legal professionals are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the long hours, high stress, demanding clients and lack of career progression. They want to know what ot

Read More

How to adjust to a new legal job

One of the most exciting challenges in a professional’s career is starting a new legal job. However, this can also be a stressful and demanding time. Here are some tips on how to survive adjusting to a new legal job and, inevitably, a new boss. Anticipate challenge The first few weeks of a new job a

Read More

8 ways to prepare for a legal job interview

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced lawyer with many successful years behind you, having strong interview skills is essential to making the right move and progress in your career. Take the worry out of your next interview by following these quick and easy tips from our legal in

Read More

I'm Robert Walters Are you?

Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.