‘Life as a Consultant Solicitor has reinvigorated my passion for law’…

Commercial lawyer David Middleburgh reflects on his time at Setfords

David Middleburgh comes to Setfords with over 30 years’ experience as a commercial lawyer. Dual-qualified as an insolvency practitioner and solicitor advocate, David has rights of audience in the high court.

David Middleburgh

To say David has extensive experience as a commercial lawyer is something of an understatement. By any standards his skills in solving complex shareholder, partnership and joint venture disputes are at expert level. Finance litigation, fraud and asset tracing are all part of his remit. He is a genuine Insolvency and restructuring specialist acting for office-holders, companies In financial difficulty, directors and creditors.

His commercial expertise has been gained across sectors including shipping and aviation, property, media, hi-tech and internet, leisure and hospitality, care homes and retail.

Paying a hefty price to earn a living

That’s a fair amount to pack in. Needless to say, David has been pretty busy over the past 30 years or so. That business came with a hefty price tag in terms of time, sleep and general health and wellbeing. It didn’t help that, before joining Setfords, David had to drag himself into central London every weekday for work. His two-hour commute, and working till 7-7.30pm, meant he often arrived home after 8pm, tired, hungry and irritable.

Essentially, David was living for work. The irony is that all the while he was cementing a formidable reputation on coming up with creative solutions to his clients’ problems, he remained myopic when it came to his own.

His epiphany came during lockdown. Halted trains brought his commute to a standstill. And this period gave David the time he needed to completely re-evaluate his priorities.

More hats than a milliner

“Work had sucked me in and ground me down,” he explains. “It was all-consuming. I was trying to do several jobs at once. As well as helping clients with their legal problems, I was a human resources manager, marketeer, administrator, office politician, you name it….

David Middleburgh

“Setfords is a breath of fresh air,” he continues. “The firm prioritises lawyers’ wellbeing. We’re supported by a central hub of services that includes everything I used to do myself and more, including marketing and business development. This means us lawyers can focus on what really matters: our clients.”

David says his expectations of the consultancy model has been exceeded at Setfords. “I work remotely and can plan my work around my life. I’ve cut the commute. This alone has given me more energy and more enthusiasm for my clients.”

From rush hour to hush hour

David has swapped the time he used to spend commuting for meditation. Every morning, before setting off on a delightfully short walk to his home-office, he sits quietly to gather his thoughts. This means he feels “fresh and focused” by the time he starts work at 8am.

Yet he still feels well connected to his colleagues.

“Everyone I’ve dealt with at Setfords has been charming and fun to deal with,” he smiles. “Since joining, we have quickly formed a team of lawyers that is capable of competing with the very best of London firms. There is no way I could have done this in such a short space of time at my previous firms, if at all. We have a clear strategy for winning new business. And all the marketing materials to support this are put in place by a team of experts in their fields.”

London is not calling

David returns to the subject of his schedule. “After a few hours’ work, I break for lunch. Or to take a walk. Or sometimes both. Twice a week I play tennis. Some days I indulge in a speed nap and then do more work in the afternoon. I finish my day between 5pm and 5.30pm. The contrast with the ‘old days’ of commuting into London is stark,” he adds.

David Middleburgh

David’s better frame of mind is not just good news for him, his friends and his family, who have also noticed a change for the better. It’s also good news for his clients.

“In a matter of weeks, Setfords has reinvigorated my passion for law,” he says. “I have a really interesting case load and a clear head to provide my clients with really innovative solutions.”

Is consultancy for me?

Get in touch to find out more about becoming a consultant solicitor with Setfords. You needn’t worry about traipsing into our office to find out more. We’ll chat to you over Zoom if it suits you better. If we agree we’re a good fit for each other, you’ll be joining a firm that was created for lawyers to do their best work.

Call us on 0330 058 4011 or email info@setfords.co.uk.


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Lawyers who become consultants at Setfords earn more money, experience less office politics, and enjoy a better-work life balance. The next consultant could be you. So get in touch today and take the next step towards a happier life.

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