Lawyers don’t exist just to be lawyers. They have plenty of interests outside of their careers too. Often, they simply don’t have the time to pursue these interests to the extent they would like. But, those who do have the opportunity to pursue their passions outside of work are usually more engaged and happier as a result.
One such lawyer is Debjani Mukherjee. Debjani is a consultant property and private client solicitor who joined Setfords in 2021, although she had been a consultant solicitor elsewhere for a number of years before that. Here, she discusses what working as a consultant solicitor means to her:
A second career
Debjani initially became a consultant when her children were young, as she wanted to balance her family and career:
“I was a consultant very early on in my career. I had young children, and I felt that this was a profession where I didn’t want to do part-time work. I wanted to devote my full attention to both my legal profession and the children. And the only way I could achieve that was to be a consultant, which gave me the flexibility of the times I worked, how I worked, what work I took on and what I didn’t.”
Becoming a consultant lawyer is perfect for those who don’t want to give up their career because of other commitments such as a family. However, as Debjani’s children became older, she soon realised that the consultancy model gave her the freedom and time to pursue other interests too. She says;
“I’ve created a second career and qualified as a personal trainer. I’ve been a Zumba instructor for 11 years now. I’m also a Strong instructor, and I’m a GP referral instructor, so I can look after people with various medical ailments. And I’m currently studying for nutritional nutrition coaching. So I’ve been able to forge that purely because I’m a consultant. I would never have been able to do it as an employed person. It’s been wonderful. I’ve also studied things that I love studying, such as Egyptology; I’ve got a diploma in that from Birkbeck. All of this has been possible because of the flexibility.”
This sort of flexibility just isn’t found in traditional law firms. The long hours, challenging billing targets, and often lengthy commutes just aren’t compatible with having the free time required. As a result, lawyers often feel burnt out and like they do nothing but go to work.
As a part of this, those who want to try something new often feel like they either have to give up their careers or wait until they retire. As Debjani demonstrates, this really doesn’t have to be the case. Consultant lawyers have the freedom and flexibility to fit outside interests around their work and not feel like they’re putting their careers on the backburner as a result.
What makes Setfords different?
But why do talented lawyers like Debjani choose Setfords over any of the other consultant law firms out there? For Debjani, she chose us for several different reasons. Firstly, she says:
“I looked carefully at the Setfords model. And I honestly wish I’d found Setfords 10 years earlier. I think their attitude towards consultants and the consultant model is very mature, it’s enlightened. It’s confident in the consultant, knowing they will provide the best service they can. They don’t have billing targets, making it a very inclusive profession for everybody, because sometimes we have different priorities in different parts of our life. At one point, I had small children that I was looking after, and I needed flexibility. Then, later on in life, I had elderly parents who I had to look after as well. So that’s what Setfords has provided for me.”
We’re a consultancy-based law firm. Our consultant lawyers are at the heart of our business, unlike some traditional firms that have simply added on a consultancy arm. We know that most lawyers turn to consultancy because, like Debjani, they want a different way of life. So, flexibility is crucial, and we encourage our lawyers to work in the way that makes sense for them and their lifestyle, even as this changes.
For Debjani, it is also the support that Setfords offers that makes us stand out from the crowd. She says:
‘The level of service that I get from Setfords, from the admin team, the secretarial team, and the tech team, is excellent. Different departments take care of different elements of the work, and they’re very good at resolving any issues straightaway.’
A better service for clients
Aside from the freedom it gives her to pursue outside interests, Debjani also enjoys the Setfords consultancy model because it gives her space to give her clients a better service. She says:
‘I can offer a much more efficient service because I have the patience, both with the work itself and the documents, the time I take to speak to my clients. It’s much more relaxed. And there’s nothing quite like a person who’s very new to conveyancing and is buying their first property, they want to know how everything works, and I’ve got time to tell them.’
This far more personalised service is something that clients appreciate. And it allows lawyers like Debjani to reignite their passion for the law. Many lawyers are attracted to the profession because they genuinely want to help their clients. However, the way that traditional law firms are set up often means they don’t have the time to do so properly. This is something that Setfords’ consultancy model fixes, so lawyers can spend as much time as they wish with each client.
A happier lifestyle
Many lawyers move to consultancy because they want to feel happier, and a career in a traditional law firm is often incompatible with this. So what does Debjani think about her experience at Setfords as a whole?
‘I’m definitely a happier person being a consultant at Setfords. They really manage everything so that you, as a consultant, can get on with the legal work, which I love. I love to be able to devote my time to my clients and the work itself.’
Is consultancy for me?
If you are interested in becoming a consultant with us, get in touch. We are happy to conduct interviews remotely for suitable, UK-qualified candidates with five or more years’ experience. If you’re a good fit, you’ll be joining a team that was created for lawyers to do their best work.
The next step towards a better way of working…