After twelve years in a traditional firm, I switched to consultancy and never looked back

Angie Dooling

CONSULTANT BLOGS / ANGIE DOOLING

I started working with Setfords as a consultant conveyancer in September 2019, after 12 years at a traditional, high street firm. I was feeling frustrated with the restrictions of nine to five working, especially since I run two businesses, have five grandchildren and a hectic home life.

It was clear that something needed to change. I wasn’t quite sure what that would be until I received a letter from someone who was already working at Setfords and was representing the other side on a transaction. I was intrigued and once I had researched the firm, I rang the solicitor to have a quick chat.

We had a good talk and he suggested I contact some other consultants to get a better picture as to what the working environment is like. I did, and was so delighted and excited by what I heard, I decided to make the move.

The grandchildren enjoying time with Nan at the beach.

The grandchildren enjoying time with Nan at the beach.

I was slightly nervous since I had always worked in an office environment and was used to the camaraderie and helping partners get through the daily tasks. I was also worried if I would have enough clients.

“Almost immediately, I noticed that Setfords was a whole different world…”

But, almost immediately, I noticed that Setfords was a whole different world and everyone made me feel incredibly welcome. The system that they had up and running was already tried and tested, and I set up my home office in a very professional manner.

When I first started, I didn’t have many clients, but as time went on, I found that people were able to find me. I also had lots of referrals come through from friends and family.

I have found that I am now able to deliver a higher-quality service since my hours are no longer restricted to nine to five, much to my clients’ delight. I have worked with some of them for many years, and I am only too happy to visit them, have a coffee and discuss how their transactions are going.

Enjoying more weekday walks in the countryside.

Enjoying more weekday walks in the countryside.

My day usually begins at 6am with a dog walk. My emails are on my mobile phone so I can answer them early if I wish to do so.

“Some days I finish work at lunchtime, others at 3 pm and sometimes I might finish work at 7 pm, but it’s always my decision on the hours I choose to work.”

I have a rather large circle of friends and love to go out and socialise. I quite often go and have a coffee in the morning, meet other friends for a dog walk or have a long lunch. I never feel the time restrictions I felt working in a traditional firm. If I do have a matter that is pressing, I can leave whatever I am doing to ensure nothing is ever left waiting.

Some days I finish work at lunchtime, others at 3pm or at 7pm. It’s always my decision on the hours I choose to work.

Whilst the frustrations of conveyancing have not disappeared, they have been significantly reduced, and I no longer feel that once I have left the office a client is left in limbo.

“I have actually found that I can make more money than was possible in the office environment, whilst also having a lot more flexibility, long weekends away and also just generally enjoying life more.”

Rufus enjoying time at the beach.

Rufus enjoying time at the beach.

When I left my high street firm, some of my friends and family were slightly concerned that I wouldn’t have a regular wage coming in. Some thought I was mad for leaving the ‘security of an office environment’. But my thoughts were if I didn’t have any work, I would simply go out and market myself a little bit more. I participate in networking groups and always have done. Failure has never been an option.

The biggest challenge of being a consultant was overcoming the fear of the unknown and worries about not being able to make enough money. But those fears were short-lived. I have actually found that I can make more money than was possible in an office environment. I have also enjoyed having a lot more flexibility, long weekends away, and generally just enjoying life more.

“It’s great to see people coming on board and to see the excitement when they realise their lives are changing for the better.”

The lockdown that started in March 2020 hasn’t affected my work because I was already working from home and had the system very well set up. What I did find was that a lot of solicitors in traditional firms, who only occasionally worked from home, were finding it incredibly difficult because they weren’t really set up for it.

In comparison, Setfords Solicitors has excelled during this time, and we have seen an increase in consultants joining. It’s great to see people coming on board and to see the excitement when they realise their lives are changing for the better.

“I would never look back, but I do look forward and hope to expand in the not too distant future.”

Moving forward, I would love to buy a smallholding and run an office from there. I love the countryside and would like to move there, have a bit more land and let my five grandchildren come and visit and enjoy the outdoors life too.


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        Currently, we can only work with lawyers qualified under one of these regulatory bodies