Quality over dollar signs: What do we know about in-house counsel career satisfaction?

Evers-Legal-In-House-Legal-Career-Advice-Feb-2018Career satisfaction. What does it really mean? Finding happiness in any job means different things to different people. While money is often an important source of career satisfaction, it’s not always at the top of the list.

At Evers Legal Search, we are conducting our second-ever Career Satisfaction Survey for in-house counsel to find out what truly makes in-house lawyers happy in their work. Click here to take the survey now!

We learned a lot from our first survey two years ago. Most notably, that in-house counsel value many things in their careers above financial compensation—such as responsibilities, supporting the company’s mission and working with a great team. 

One consistent element in a satisfying in-house career is striking that appropriate balance between the stimulating work that you love and the challenging issues that keep you up at night. In our 2016 Career Satisfaction Survey, 65% of respondents said that “intellectual stimulation” was the most rewarding aspect of their in-house job, whereas only 30% said it was financial compensation. And more than half of respondents cited “stress” as the most challenging aspect of their position.

In our popular Counsel Q&A series, we always ask our in-house counsel interviewees: What do you love most about being a lawyer? And their responses follow similar themes: helping the business achieve its goals, working with great people, doing challenging work throughout the world and finding solutions to difficult problems their colleagues face.

Here are some of our recent responses:

“I love that we’re aiding a business or individual get where they want or need to go. When someone comes to you with an issue they can’t seem to solve, you are there to guide them in doing the improbable.” — Jason Brown, GC of Dyson

“Our people are great. We make our customers happy with fantastic food at a great price. It’s a fun place to work overall. There are a lot of nice people working in our shops and in our Support Center (headquarters). We think that we are bringing a bit of happiness to our customers every day.” —Matt Revord, GC of Potbelly

“I love the people side of it. Being an in-house lawyer, I get to work with people in all types of fields. I’m supporting supply chain, plant workers, HR, marketing and advertising. I work with a lot of good people. I feel I can help them. Being able to engage in a way that is positive and helpful is the best part of my job.” —Talita Ramos Erickson, GC of Barilla America

“I like the international scope of the business. It’s been a lot of fun with a lot of challenges to work in different countries, in different legal systems and trying to get the best results for the company. And it continues to be exciting.” —Mark Jaeger, GC of Jockey

But as times change, so do our views on our careers. So it’s time once again to check in with our in-house counsel friends to find out what motivates them to go into the office every day. If you haven’t yet, please take our 2018 Career Satisfaction survey now. And keep an eye out for the full report of the survey results, which will come later this year.