The Law Society of Scotland has published a new guide for solicitors setting up in-house for the first time.

In-house lawyers play a unique role within their organisation and the new guide sets out steps to take in establishing an in-house legal function, along with advice on what to expect as an organisation’s first in-house lawyer, including any pitfalls or misconceptions about what the role might entail.

From setting expectations and demystifying the function of the in-house solicitor to developing a deep understanding of the organisation and marketing your services effectively, the guide provides information and helpful advice on how to achieve your goals as legal adviser and those of your employer.

Sheekha Saha co-convener of the Law Society’s In-house Lawyers Committee, said: “Whether you’ve come from private practice or another in-house role, being the first and only solicitor in an organisation can be as daunting as it is exciting.

“As the first or sole in-house counsel for an organisation, you’ll undoubtedly face a unique set of challenges, but such a move also offers a great opportunity to create the legal department that you want to run, and which is not bound by existing cultural or operational traditions. The guide sets out what to expect and how you can set up a new legal department which provides real benefits to your internal clients.”

Co-convener Vlad Valiente added: “The guide, while primarily for solicitors who are their organisation’s first in-house counsel or are setting up a legal team for the first time, offers great advice for solicitors who are already working in-house and want to review their existing set-up to make sure they are as working as effectively as possible in meeting the legal needs of their organisation.

“It’s also well worth a read for any solicitor planning to move from a larger legal team to becoming a business’s sole legal counsel or is currently working in private practice and thinking a move to in-house might be their next career step.”

The new guide is sponsored by LexisNexis who provide specialist guidance, tools and insight for the in-house sector. Emma Dickin, Head of In-House Practice Area Strategy at LexisNexis said: “This guide contains a wealth of invaluable tips and guidance to support you through the in-house legal department set up process, highlighting key areas and tasks we recommend you consider in those early days.”

Setting up in-house

A guide to setting up an in-house legal department