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Editorial: The temptation of in-house




If you work in private practice, it's likely that you've considered – even briefly – a change at some point in your career. Moving in-house is a well-trodden route (although some do go the other way), as many feel that a fresh start is needed. However, some shun such a move altogether, preferring life in private practice.

Against this backdrop, our cover story explores the reasons why some move – and don't move – in-house. Unsurprisingly, there are a range of reasons why people take the plunge, in some cases after working at a law firm for many years. Rightly or wrongly, there is a perception that work/life balance is better in-house, while the dreaded billable hour is removed. On the other hand, private practitioners say that in-house roles lack variety and offer less job security.

We have not tried to play off private practice against in-house – rather, we have sought to show what motivates IP professionals and compare some of the reasons why you, as an IP specialist, might consider a change. There are many high-level issues to consider – pay probably being the most important (arguably remuneration will be higher in private practice) – but other, perhaps more trivial, ones too. For example, if you have a fantastic commute and don't hate your job, making a move may never cross your mind.

Putting the arguments aside, one thing is clear: the conversation itself needs to change. In the cover story, junior lawyers we spoke to complained that there is not enough focus on in-house career opportunities during study and education. "At career days we rarely saw companies come and talk about the benefits of in-house work – it was nearly always law firms," one said. This seems like an important point, particularly when the IP community could arguably be doing better at attracting people from more diverse backgrounds. It wouldn't be unthinkable for a budding young IP professional to pick a different career if they felt that opportunities would be restricted.

Elsewhere, we have covered a range of topics including the upcoming FRAND showdown at the UK Supreme Court, the lessons learned five years after the US Supreme Court's Alice v CLS Bank decision, global pharmaceutical trademark trends, and underused patent strategies for those operating in China. There should be a lot to chew on until our next issue, which will be the last of 2019.

As we move into conference season, we hope to see you soon.

Ed Conlon
Managing editor


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