Lawyer and legal recruiter Carrie Heller says that corporations are increasingly hiring “top-tier trained” in-house counsel and viewing their role as important to both the management and business sides of the organization.

“Corporate lawyers are advising not just on legal matters, but on strategic and corporate matters as well, and are becoming more sophisticated and specialized,” says Heller, president and founder of Toronto-based The Heller Group Legal and Executive Search Inc. “We have clients wanting to bring more of the work in-house and developing specialized practice areas internally, such as IP and employment law, and outsourcing less work, and are looking for the talent required to accomplish that.”

Heller notes that in-house lawyers are sometimes surprised by the heavy workload.

“Some have said they’re run off their feet and making less money, and want to move back to private practice. On the flip side, others have said they’re working as hard as they ever did in private practice, but absolutely love what they’re doing because they’re part of a business and not just a hired gun — and may not have taken a cut in compensation.”

She sees that “open-minded” companies that appreciate their lawyers’ skills will involve them on the business side, resulting in happier lawyers feeling more a part of the organization.

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