Lawyers. Are you paying too much for your high salary?

LAWYERS’ SALARIES ARE AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH. According to a Business Live article, city firms are offering newly qualified lawyers £160,000 a year. This may be where the high bar currently sits. But what is the real cost?

From raw talent to law talent

It takes a lot of grit and determination to toil through years of complex law exams and qualifying work to be eligible for that kind of sum. A high salary and the status that comes with it is the least you deserve. If working for a top firm means more hard work, and a few late nights in the office, so be it.

Now, your hard work means you can swap house-sharing for house-owning; baked beans give way to meals out in decent restaurants; and you love waving bye-bye to the night bus from your Uber ride home.

The True Cost

However, soon you begin to see the reality of lawyer life. Stressful days have become the norm, weighed down by ever increasing billable hours targets. The goalposts for the top salary keeps moving further and further away.

With a modest target of 1400 billable hours per year you need to account for 6 hours of billable time per day. You have just one hour left in traditional core working hours to complete all the many other aspects of the job role including business development, administration and internal meetings. Soon you are working nights and weekends to fit everything in.

This is challenging enough, but now if you want to earn a top six figure salary, many law firms are demanding even higher targets. A recent Lawyer Monthly article reported that:

‘Some firms now expect their lawyers to bill at least 2,000 hours a year even without holiday, leading to lawyers feeling unmotivated and unsatisfied, as well as displaying signs of mental distress’.

Faustian pact

Facing mental burnout, your employment contract now feels like a Faustian pact. You’re well off in one sense, but you have no work-life balance. You have lots of money, but no time to really enjoy anything. A City A.M. article found:

‘Burnout is hardly unpredictable when considering nearly 30 per cent of lawyers surveyed, for a study by legal mental health charity LawCare, said their firm required them to be available to clients 24 hours a day.

‘The report found that over two thirds of the lawyers surveyed said that they had experienced mental ill health in the past year.

‘Critics argue that money isn’t necessarily the answer’

It’s all very well raising salaries but that doesn’t go far enough to attract or retain the best talent,” LawCare chief executive Elizabeth Rimmer told City A.M.’

Be in charge of your own destiny

No firm, no psychologist, no journalist reporting on the legal sector knows how much money is enough for you. Only one person knows that. You also know how much work is enough for you. Being in control of these major life factors is what appeals to those who leave conventional law firms to join us. This is what just two of them think:

“The benefit of the fee structure is that it’s completely transparent. I am rewarded for what I put in. It gives you a very strong sense of fairness, motivation and the ability to weigh up time versus cost to income,” says Tom Mitchell, who helps businesses with commercial, employment and regulatory issues.

Sonal Rabheru, who specialises in all aspects of residential conveyancing, adds: “You’ve got the ability to make quite a lot of money. I have found that it’s been very lucrative for me.”

If working as much as you want, whenever and wherever you want sounds appealing, becoming a consultant solicitor with us could drastically improve your work-life balance. Backed up by a best-in-industry support team, you can take home up to 80 per cent of everything you earn at Setfords.

Is consultancy for me?

If you are interested in 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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        Currently, we can only work with lawyers qualified under one of these regulatory bodies