At Setfords, we have more than 400 consultant lawyers across many areas of law. This includes everything from residential property and family law, to highly specialised areas that very few solicitors in the country take on.
One such solicitor is Jeremy Asher, who joined Setfords in late 2021. He specialises in fraud and regulatory law, but more specifically in challenging CIFAS markers. Here, he discusses how the move to consultancy has helped his specialist practice to flourish.
Prior to joining Setfords, Jeremy worked at traditional firms as a Senior Associate:
“Before joining Setfords, I was a Senior Associate at a top 100 law firm where I built a Business Crime department and team specialising in regulatory prosecutions which became top ranked in Legal 500 for 5 consecutive years. I then moved onto a firm in Liverpool where I hoped to build a litigation funded private prosecution model, but lockdown and the subsequent increased backlog in the criminal justice system put paid to that, and I found myself on furlough.”
It was at this point Jeremy decided to hone in on an area of law that he was passionate about – CIFAS marker removal. He says:
“I had been doing some CIFAS work for a while, and realising that no lawyers had ever written about the subject before, I decided to see if I could develop a practice at challenging CIFAS markers. I realised that financial institutions were capable of causing great injustice when they incorrectly loaded fraud markers. So I wrote about the subject, and my practice took off – I have been writing about the subject ever since, and my posts on LinkedIn are developing a large following.”
Building a practice with Setfords
Jeremy realised that he needed a platform that would allow him to build up his work without the typical constraints of a traditional firm, such as inflexible working, earnings caps, and administrative work. So, he turned to consultancy at Setfords:
“I was offered a partnership by my previous firm. However, I live in Devon and the thought of spending an increasing amount of time in Liverpool was unattractive to me. I wanted to maintain a flexible working style without having to pay into a partnership. There was also the benefit of increased earning potential. Crucially for me, I wanted to retain my intellectual property and independence. Therefore consultancy became an obvious route to take.”
At Setfords, we pride ourselves on offering uniquely comprehensive support to our lawyers. This is something that Jeremy has already hugely benefited from, allowing him to grow his caseload without having to worry about all of the admin that usually comes with building a business. We also offer tailored sales and marketing support, which is invaluable to someone like Jeremy, who works in such a specific area of law. He says:
“I did look around but kept coming back to Setfords because of the incredible support it offered – other consultant model firms charge for websites, marketing and even secretarial/sales support, so when I balanced the cost of that it seemed to me that Setfords remuneration matrix was very reasonable.
At Setfords, Jeremy’s career has flourished and he quickly built up a substantial workload thanks to his own hard work and the extensive support from the marketing and sales teams at Setfords
Marketing have been hugely supportive and worked closely with me to help me build up my caseload via website leads. Now, I am working harder than I have for years!”
Work-life balance is key
At Setfords we encourage our lawyers to use consultancy as a way to achieve a good work-life balance. This means something different for every lawyer, but for Jeremy, it means being able to work hard whilst having the flexibility to fit life around it. He says:
“Now I work the hours that suit me, and if I need a break, then I can take time out of my working day or be flexible about taking a day off. I’m no longer rushing around the country to meetings or Courts, so I make time every day to get out and exercise.
One of the unexpected benefits of working from home is that I am on hand if disaster strikes. Just last week, 69 heifers broke out of the field at the back of our house and headed down the track to the road which leads down into town, and I was on hand to watch my wife, Maria, single-handedly herd them to safety out of our neighbour’s vegetable garden into an adjacent paddock. Luckily Maria has spent a lot of time working with cattle and knew exactly what to do whilst I called the farmer and gawped!”
Educating the next generation
The flexibility that consultancy at Setfords offers has allowed Jeremy to forge a hugely successful career that goes far beyond his day to day workload. Jeremy has been able to fulfil his passion to educate children and young adults about the risks of fraud.
“My work made me realise that there is a fine line between suspects being considered the victim of fraud and the perpetrator. I have spoken to countless young victims of scams, enticed by social media conversations into unwittingly allowing criminals access to their bank accounts and in the process have become money mules. Without proof of innocence, it is almost impossible to challenge markers loaded in such circumstances.
I therefore set about trying to teach young adults about the risks of money laundering. Maria, who used to work in education, suggested the idea of putting together a presentation and was instrumental in helping me to refine the talk and to deliver it.
I wrote about a presentation I gave to a local school, which in turn led me to being invited by Robert Brooker, a forensic accountant who heads the London Fraud Forum, to work with him. Together we worked on an initiative drawing in experts and academics in counter-fraud and banking who are willing to go out into schools, colleges and universities pro-bono, and teach young adults of the risks and how to protect themselves.
As a result, Robert and I have been invited to work at a high level with a bank and a task force within UK Finance to help pull together as many resources as possible. We recognise that this subject needs a joined up approach and message, drawing from as many financial institutions and professionals as possible, and I am proud to be part of these efforts.”
A rewarding career
At Setfords, we are overjoyed that lawyers like Jeremy can make a real difference through their specialised work. For Jeremy, he has found a rewarding career path that has revived his love for the law:
“Helping the innocent victims of CIFAS and other fraud markers has definitely re-invigorated my career. It’s a fascinating subject, no two cases are the same, and when you win a case it is the best feeling because the cases are very challenging. I have saved many businesses and careers.”
If, like Jeremy, you are a lawyer looking to build up a practice in a specialised area of law, Setfords has all of the support available to allow you to do so whilst working completely flexibly. Please get in touch today to discuss more.
Is consultancy for me?
If you want to find out more about 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.
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