Is it really possible to become a satisfied solicitor?


Really? Do you wake up on Saturday mornings and think: ‘I wish there wasn’t a whole weekend to trudge through before I can get back to work’? To all lawyers whose mood suddenly lifts on Monday mornings, we salute you. You really have cracked it.

You don’t have to be an unhappy lawyer to continue reading. You may simply be an underwhelmed one. Marginally disappointed with your career. You may wonder whether all the exams, the student debt and the stress you went through were worthwhile. If so, read on…

Let’s start with the obvious question: what makes lawyers happy?

Just three things, according to an article written by a former practising lawyer. Paula Davies now writes, talks and coaches professionals on burnout prevention and stress resilience. She asserts that satisfied solicitors have the following in common:

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Relatedness


On autonomy, she writes: ‘This was a consistent problem for me… I often felt like I left the best of who I was in the car. I would pull into the parking structure and become “Paula the lawyer” – the person I thought I needed to be to be successful in law.

A sense of autonomy is the reason lawyers often choose to work with us as consultants. The freedom to choose when they work, how much they work and where they work ticks all our consultants’ boxes. Having control of their own destiny contrasts starkly against the constraints many felt working with traditional firms.

Here’s how one of our consultants felt working in a traditional firm:

“Prior to being a consultant, I felt a little bit trapped and demotivated. I was considering giving up law altogether until I came across Setfords,” says Tom Mitchell, who helps businesses with a wide range of commercial, employment and regulatory issues.


Mastery is another key component:

‘Happy lawyers are the masters of their domain’, the Forbes article continues. ‘Mastery is your desire to get better at something that matters to you, to feel competent and be successful at difficult tasks.’

Though dispersed, our lawyers are in regular touch with one another, asking and sharing information on different areas of the law. This cross-fertilisation of a wide range of specialisms deepens everyone’s understanding of the law. It helps our consultants develop the breadth and width of their knowledge base. This results in an enriched service that leads many happy clients to leave positive feedback via Trustpilot.


Relatedness is the final piece of the creating-happy-lawyers jigsaw, according to the article.

‘Relatedness’, we read, ‘is how you connect or relate to others, and whether you feel a sense of belonging at work’.

Unlike autonomy, relatedness is not so easy for dispersed law firms like ours to get right. People often wonder how we foster connectivity and a sense of belonging when all our consultants work independently, usually within their own homes.

Indeed, it’s an issue many types of businesses grappled with when the UK went into lockdown in the spring of 2020.

But, unlike most companies, we were set up to work in the way we do. Our dispersed model is not a post-pandemic bolt-on. It’s baked into our DNA. It’s what sets us apart from those who had to quickly scrabble around with technology to continue operating when the world went into lockdown.

Our 140+ support team members also help glue together our network of 400+ consultants. Contact is regular and frequent. All office admin is dealt with at our central headquarters in Guildford, Surrey. As is IT support, marketing, PR, invoicing… everything that could tangle up our lawyers’ time is taken care of.

For our consultants, this is the equivalent of a tidy desk. Being free of administrative clutter allows them to fully focus on clients’ needs. Which in turn makes our clients feel connected and valued.

Sue Cunningham-Sawyer, who joined us from a conventional law firm during the first lockdown in 2020, sums up our model and ethos in a few sentences:

“Less time commuting, being your own boss, managing your own workload, no office politics and being able to work in tracksuit bottoms if you want to! I thought the training and support were fantastic and, even though you work alone, you are never alone. In fact, I believe there is more support with Setfords than I have ever experienced in other firms. Combined with contact with all of the other consultants, it really does feel like one family.”

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 of experience. If you’re a good fit, you’ll be joining a team that was created for lawyers to do their best work.

Fill in the form below, call us on 0330 058 4012 or email

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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        This allows us to send you the information you need to know about consultancy

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