Irene joined Setfords as a consultant lawyer in 2017 after working for traditional firms and running her own family law practice. In her spare time, she enjoys politics, singing, swimming and has recently started taking tennis lessons!
Irene qualified as a solicitor in 1991 having trained at a traditional firm in London. She went on to work at a traditional firm in Ipswich, where she met her husband. A few years after having her 1st child, she returned to work part-time, but it was not a pleasant experience.
“I found myself working a 5 day week in 3 days with very little administrative support. I was only working for the sake of keeping my career going. It was a waste of time, so I left the firm. In 2003, when my second child started school, I started my own Family Law practice.”
“I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I had to make a change.”
Irene worked as a sole practitioner for 14 years; however, she became increasingly frustrated with the ever-increasing SRA regulations, costs associated with running her own practice and the constant battle with admin work.
“What ground me down was the increasing cost of running my own practice as well as dealing with what felt like constant changes to SRA regulations. The pressure of running your own firm and trying to stay on top of your game with no support is incredibly difficult. I outsourced calls, but having no admin support was tough. I’m not very tech-savvy, and it was hard work, especially whilst also trying to balance family life. I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I had to make a change.”
Eventually, Irene decided to take back control of her career and focus on her passion –delivering a caring and personal service for her clients. Despite initial concerns about moving away from the traditional law setup, she quickly adapted to consultancy and found that Setfords’ digital systems revolutionised her way of working.
“The flexibility of it all is perfect for a work-life balance”
“I decided why not give Setfords a go? What have I got to lose? And I went for it! I have found that Setfords’ digital systems have made my life so much easier as I no longer have to wait on other people. It gives me control over my own work! Overcoming my concerns was just a case of asking questions, getting my head down and ploughing through.”
For Irene, it is the central support team at Setfords that have helped to transform her work and personal life. She finally has the freedom to focus on delivering a dedicated service to her clients rather than being overwhelmed by bureaucracy.
“Being a consultant at Setfords takes away the drudgery of being in charge of your own firm. Of course consultants are responsible for keeping up to date with all SRA regulations, including money laundering. But if we aren’t sure, we have the compliance team to ask. It’s really important and makes life easier; they take away the burden of heavy admin work, and I can get on with my fee earning or enjoy other aspects of my life.”
“No one is over my shoulder questioning my decisions or my billing. I set my own financial targets.”
Unlike traditional firms, Setfords gives its consultant lawyers the flexibility and autonomy to work their way whilst also allowing them to make time for what is important to them.
“The flexibility of it all is perfect for a work/life balance. I like that you only answer to yourself; obviously, you have a responsibility to conduct yourself in a professional manner. But I can arrange my day around my family and hobbies and still keep up to date with my clients. I can work whatever time of the day I want, and no one is over my shoulder questioning my decisions or my billing. I set my own financial targets.”
Making the move from a traditional setup to being a consultant solicitor can be daunting; however, the friendly culture at Setfords means that everyone is there to offer support. Irene has found the network of 350 lawyers at Setfords to be incredibly helpful and always on hand to offer help or advice.
“People may be worried that when they leave a traditional firm, they will be on their own, but it is so easy to make contact with people at Setfords. Consultants send emails all the time and chat with each other within the firm. You don’t feel as if you are competing with the other consultants, whereas in a traditional firm, everyone compares their workload with what other people have been assigned.”
“I have found working at Setfords more rewarding, and it is definitely a healthier environment.”
Irene has now been a consultant solicitor at Setfords for 4 years and has not looked back. Mentally and financially, her life has changed for the better.
“I have found working at Setfords more rewarding, and it is definitely a healthier environment. If you are working in a particular field and have a good source of work, you can easily make money, and be happy.”
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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 lawyer could be you. So get in touch today and take the next step towards a happier life.
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