"I went in-house as a third-year corporate associate. Pay is good- 225 base with potential bonus bringing it up 270,000. The only problem seems the job seems very limiting. The work is shifted from the responsibilities initially advertised- so I'm doing mostly NDAs. A huge volume of these every day. I'm trying to stay put because of the economy, so it looks like I was on the job for at least one year on my resume, but I'm worried about what I think I can do next. I don't want to go to a big firm, and I worry I won't have much to talk about in another legal job interview. FWINM, my practice at that law firm is not very useful for companies (think finance and banking). Should I look for a new job?"
No, I don't think you should look for a new job. You certainly can, but if you are making all this money and they're paying you to do this work unless it's a different type of experience you want then I don't know that you need to. If they're having you do NDAs for 270,000 a year, I understand that may be somewhat limiting, but it is important for you to have some stability and to stay somewhere for several years and just try to get maybe different types of experience in-house and try to look at what's happening. My concern would be making sure that your career can advance and you want to do whatever you can. But you're going to hold yourself back if you leave because people are going to think that you won't stick around your next job.
That's one of the problems with going in-house many times. The jobs are not what they represent. There tends not to be as much employment stability as in a lot of law firms, and if you can find a much better in-house position, then that's great, and maybe you can look, but I personally wouldn't. It sounds like you haven't been there very long. You're only three or four years out of law school. I would probably try to stick around and see if there's any room to advance and maybe lightly look for a job. No job is gonna be perfect, and part of the reason people go in-house is because they do want to do a different type of work with less stress.
And one of the big complaints that people have about in-house jobs is many times that the most sophisticated work is done by a law firm. That, to some extent, may be what you chose to do by going in-house as taking a less-demanding job. I probably would not want to stay there, but my advice would be you probably should and just enjoy it as long as you feel like your- your position's safe, and then lightly look for a job, but not an all-out job search. And find something where you really do believe there's a future, but most of your concerns are probably going to be present in most other places you'd go to work. Most other in-house employers are going to have similar problems with the job in terms of level of challenge,a lot of times repetitive work, not feeling like you're getting a good experience.
Most of the good experience, by the way, when you go in-house, is done by law firms. The in-house is really using you to do NDAs and so forth because they don't want to pay outside attorneys to do those, and they're saving money by having you do that, which is smart for them but obviously, not the best thing for your career.