After 10 years spent in traditional law firms, David Miers saw the opportunity to build his own practice, specialising in psychiatric injury and stress at work claims. Following David’s move to become a consultant solicitor at Setfords in 2019, he is now one of the UK’s top legal specialists in this area, having won compensation worth millions for his clients.
A Legal Entrepreneur
In his previous role David had been given the opportunity to lead a fledging stress at work department, however he felt trapped by the red tape and the reluctance to change the way of working within the firm.
David had a strong belief on how stress at work needed to be serviced in the real world:
“I loved being a solicitor, but I became frustrated that I couldn’t offer the service I wanted whilst working in a traditional law firm, burdened by clunky office policies and politics.”
“Stress at work fits in the space between traditional employment law and personal injury law, but too often stress at work was aligned with disease work, which it is, but there is far more synergy with employment law; something which I tried to change but I became frustrated with the reluctance to change and implement new ideas.”
David’s frustration with the status quo, combined with his entrepreneurial streak, gave him the impetus to build his own ‘stress at work’ business:
“Moving to consultancy allowed me to do that effortlessly, and I haven’t regretted that decision once. Becoming a consultant solicitor allowed me to shape and refine my service to clients, which has helped me to achieve much better results for them”
Achieving a Work-Life Balance
Switching to consultancy also gave David the opportunity to spend more time doing what he enjoys, instead of being burdened by targets and spending every minute trying to meet deadlines.
“Not only do I now have happier clients, but also a healthier work-life balance. A true win-win.
I now have time to play golf and tennis and attend the gym, which I struggled to find time to do previously. The only things that are important are family, health and happiness. It was a case of working out what I needed to do to achieve that and working backwards from there.”
Being a consultant solicitor is about taking control of both your career and your life. That is why Setfords gives solicitors the autonomy to make their own choices, decide how many clients they have and how many hours they want to work. For David, this meant seeing more of his young family.
“I am no longer a weekend dad. I hated leaving the house at 7 am and getting back after my little boy had gone to bed. It only really gave us the weekend. Since becoming a consultant, I’ve become a dad to a beautiful little girl and whilst two under four presents its challenges, I cherish being a bigger part of their development, and we are now a stronger and happier family unit as a result. I also have a more relaxed outlook on the working day. I work just as hard as I ever did, but I have the flexibility to work when I want and where I want, which is a great feeling.”
Setfords believe lawyers do their best work when they receive the support they need and the rewards they deserve. When asked about the culture at Setfords, David said:
“I have never known such a happy bunch of lawyers. When I reflect on conversations I’ve had with other lawyers in private practice, hardly any of them seemed happy, even those who had achieved promotion just to realise the extra hours and targets weren’t worth the extra pay at the end of the month.”
The support structure at Setfords is not just about meeting the needs of the consultant solicitors, but going far beyond their expectations. Setfords have dedicated years building the biggest and best support team in the industry and, because they understand one size does not fit all, they tailor this support to suit the individual and teams.
“You get all of the traditional support as and when needed.”
“The business development and marketing teams have been immense for me. I came to Setfords with a business plan, and right from day one, they shared my vision and put in place the business development strategy to help us achieve that. You can be a great solicitor, but it will be hard to build a successful practice if no one knows about your services. My clients tend to be ‘one off’ legal users, so my practice isn’t based on a following or loyal clients. Setfords have some very clever individuals who specialise in generating work for its lawyers.
In 2.5 years, Setfords have generated in excess of 3,000 initial enquires for me, which has allowed me to grow my practice, and I now have three other lawyers working for me.”
Lawyers supporting lawyers
David’s shift from a focus on personal injury and disease to employment has meant that he has developed a close relationship with Setfords’ employment law team.
“I have found working closely with Setfords employment team very helpful. The communication between two, traditionally very different departments, has allowed us to offer clients a unique service.”
Setfords’ fee-share structure acknowledges achievement – the more you bill, the greater the rewards. The fee structure is about honouring their commitment to their consultant lawyers to give them the rewards they deserve. At most traditional firms, you might expect to take home a third of your billings; at Setfords, it can be up to 80%.
“Consultancy isn’t without its risks, but I would say that goes for any lawyer in any practice. If you’re not hitting targets and making money for the firm you are working for, you are vulnerable. I had already proven a business model in my previous role; it was simply about repeating that but this time on my own terms and for my own benefit.”
“With Setfords help, I am now able to earn far more than would have been possible in private practice, even if I’d made Partner. I now feel there is less risk to consultancy as I am more in control of my career and can react more quickly to market opportunities.”
The Reality of Being a Consultant Solicitor
Choosing to make the move to consultancy is a huge step for many lawyers, it can be incredibly daunting. When asked what advice he would give to someone who would like to be a consultant solicitor, David said:
“Speak to as many consultants as possible as everyone will have their own stories on how they made their decision.”
For many lawyers, including David, the opportunity to work flexibly and take on as many or as little clients as they want puts lawyers back in control. Working a happy medium is far more achievable than you may think.
“The sense of freedom it gives me both professionally and financially and how that freedom allows me to enjoy life more is everything.”
Is consultancy for me?
Get in touch to find out more about becoming a consultant solicitor with Setfords. Don’t worry about traipsing into our office to find out more. We’ll chat to you on Teams 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.
Thinking about consultancy?
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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