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Can we dismantle unconscious biases?

Actualizado: 10 dic 2023

Factors such as financial barriers, gender, social class and more have an impact on the ability of individuals to enter and progress in the legal profession. In-House Perspective assesses these barriers specifically in relation to in-house teams – and what’s being done to break them down.

In the past decade, the number of in-house lawyers has increased dramatically, while working practices within companies’ legal divisions have become more sophisticated. This has partly been driven by the need to reduce costs and increase efficiency, which has led to more companies hiring their own team of lawyers rather than going to outside counsel, as well as a greater appreciation of the importance of legal expertise and its application within a specific business context.

‘In the US, there are no regulations that govern who can apply for in-house positions, so finding and landing such a position usually depends on market forces and supply and demand,’ explains Mark Hsu, Outreach and Education Officer on the IBA Young Lawyers’ Committee and a partner at Hawkins Parnell & Young, in New York.

Entry levels

A common barrier to entry in-house is that, globally, the more senior positions at companies require experience at a larger private practice law firm. Traditionally, most law graduates secure a role in private practice and legal qualifications are directed towards graduates entering the legal sector in these roles. Junior lawyers are likely to work for a law firm for at least five years, before a few enter in-house positions.

Mari Cruz Taboada, Head of Client Management and Legal Innovation at Lexington Consultants in Madrid, says that ‘many prominent companies prefer to recruit for their senior in-house roles from top-tier law firms, valuing the candidates’ advanced technical skills, ability to deliver quality service, and their capacity to work under pressure. However, these senior positions are often filled by white, male lawyers from affluent socio-economic backgrounds, perpetuating a pattern that constitutes a barrier to entry for a diverse pool of talented individuals’.

Read full article HERE


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