We caught up with Warren Little, an in house solicitor at BT. In this exclusive interview, Warren openly discusses the motivation behind his decision to make the leap from private practice to in house practice, sharing his experiences as well as explaining what makes in house legal work so different.
Where did you begin your legal career?
I trained and qualified at Walker Morris in Leeds and then moved to CMS Cameron McKenna in London.
What made you decide to become an in house solicitor?
I initially moved to BT on a six month secondment but found it suited me perfectly. I got to manage most of my own cases, some of which were high profile and hit the national press. It was very challenging, but exciting at the same time.
How does your work as an in house solicitor differ to that of private practice?
BT has a very well developed commercial litigation practice that mirrors that of a private practice law firm, so it probably differs less than at other companies. For example, in most cases we instruct barristers direct and run the cases without instructing external solicitors. However, the difference is that we work very closely with the client day-to-day through the course of a dispute, so you live and breathe it to a greater degree – there is a very energising team spirit.
What are the best bits about working as an in house solicitor?
It’s very satisfying, particularly at a junior level. You see more matters through to a conclusion and you get a real sense of how you’re making a difference. It’s more what you imagined being a lawyer to be like when you started university.
What are the most challenging bits about working as an in house solicitor?
Necessarily you are mostly on the ‘cost’ side of the business, so there’s always going to be downward pressure on resources. You’re not pampered quite so much as you might be in a law firm. You’re in a stripped-out sports car, nimble and noisy, so don’t expect Rolls Royce leather upholstery and soft suspension.
What are your top tips for anyone considering working as an in house solicitor?
Secondments are a great way to try before you buy. Even if you realise you prefer private practice, the skills and perspective you pick up in-house are very useful. Try to find somewhere that lets you get stuck in rather than simply instructing external law firms.
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