Case study one

Richard Hastings, group legal counsel at Interoute Telecommunications (UK)

Richard Hastings left Hammond Suddards, where he was an IT/IP assistant, to take up his role as group legal counsel at European telecommunications company Interoute.

Hastings made the move because he sought a more commercial role within his area of expertise.

He says: “I love my job. My life here is 100 per cent better. I’m part of something that is growing. It’s not about hourly rates – Interoute is going to be a successful business. I get to determine my role and my work, and make decisions that affect the whole company. I’m on the executive board.”

But he concedes that it can take a while to adjust to extra in-house responsibilities. “It’s my job to ask, ‘Is that the right value for an agreement?’ But if you’re entering into a management agreement with surveyors, for instance, in private practice, the price would have been checked by someone else. Here you can’t assume someone else has done that. You don’t get the back-up support. A lot of private practice lawyers must be shocked by the responsibility,” he says.

He also says that one of the reasons in-house lawyers have more responsibility is that there are fewer resources. But he adds that he generally likes his new environment because “you roll your sleeves up a lot more”.