Lawyers: are your colleagues driving you to consultancy?

There’s no denying that consultancy is becoming more popular amongst UK lawyers. But why is that the case? Better financial remuneration and flexibility, perhaps? Or is there something else that’s driving lawyers to make the move?

In this article from the Law Gazette’s “Mother in Law” column, the author makes her thoughts on the topic clear: lawyers are moving to consultancy firms because their current colleagues are idiots. Now, she said it, not us! But it’s clear that this is a problem for lawyers in traditional firms.

Mother in Law points out that this ‘idiocracy can, of course, take many forms,” such as someone else taking all the good work, people overlooking you for partnership because you work part-time, the powers that be setting targets that are unachievable, or unachievable if you want to pursue extra-curricular stuff like pro bono work or branching into other work types. Being made to do stuff that is a waste of your precious time. Bullying.

It’s true that consultancy offers freedom from these office politics. Working at Setfords essentially makes you your own boss. You get to choose your own cases, so there’s nobody else taking the good stuff. There’s no hierarchical partner structure, and you get out what you put in, with the option to work part-time whenever you wish. Plus, there are no targets set by the firm, and you can spend as much time as you want on “extra-curriculars”. Our support teams help free up more of your time by taking care of admin such as scanning, filing, post, and more. And finally, a supportive workplace culture with a focus on wellbeing means that bullying simply doesn’t have a place in the firm.

But, as annoying as your colleagues may be, this isn’t the only advantage of the model. As the mother in Law article states, “It is a sad reflection on where we still seem to be, in 2023, that the comment I got most about the advantages of the model was ‘if I want to go to the dentist or my child’s nativity, I don’t have to ask permission’. […] Line managers, try telling a parent of young children that you will have to ‘think about’ their request for two or three hours off for sports day because ‘Dave has already booked that week off’. Not speaking from experience, of course, but see if that employee is still with you for the following year’s sports day.

It’s sad but true that many traditional firms are still reluctant to embrace totally flexible work. With just a brief look at the news, there’s always a new report of a firm that’s forcing employees back into the office with little regard for the flexible lifestyles they’ve been enjoying since the pandemic. Surely this isn’t a good tactic for staff retention? At Setfords, our lawyers are free to work around family, hobbies, and other life commitments – and many take advantage of this on a regular basis. Furthermore, if you want to take a few hours off to attend appointments or your children’s plays, you don’t even need to ask – for us, complete freedom means just that, with nobody to answer to.

But what about the concerns lawyers have about consultancy? Of course, like any new role, it’s not without its risks. As the Mother in Law column suggests, for many, the worry focuses on the financial. Your colleagues may be annoying, but you still need to pay the mortgage. Any consultancy firm that’s focused on helping their lawyers to succeed will recommend that new joiners have a financial buffer to see them through the first few months, much the same as would be expected when starting any new business.

However, at Setfords, we have another secret weapon up our sleeves. Our business development experts qualify thousands of leads per month for our consultants, which adds up to millions of pounds a year of work. This adds an element of stability that isn’t necessarily found in comparable firms, especially for those lawyers just starting out in consultancy. Plus, an entrepreneurial spirit shouldn’t be underestimated. Most come to consultancy because they want to be their own boss, and these driven lawyers tend to do just fine. But, don’t just take our word for it. Consultant Chartered Legal Executive Maria Schultz says:

“I was like a rabbit in the headlights the first month, but I told myself ‘I am going to do this’. I had 5 instructions at the end of the week, 10 the next, then 30 at the end of the month. I have ended up being more successful than I had ever imagined; I am earning 8 times what I had expected! You just have to go for it and be determined.”’

So, whether you’re considering consultancy because you just can’t stand your colleagues or you’re looking for an excuse to start out on your own, at Setfords we want to hear from you.

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.

The next step towards a better way of working…

Fill in the form below

Download our Brochure

Download our brochure to learn more about the Setfords model and how we support our consultant lawyers.

    You can read our full Privacy Policy by clicking here

    Take your first step today

    For unparalleled flexibility, greater earnings, and all the support you need to build your successful business, Setfords is here. If you’re an entrepreneurial lawyer who wants to join an award-winning firm where investment in your growth is the priority, fill out this form, and one of our team will be in touch to discuss life as a consultant lawyer.

    Alternatively, contact us by telephone or email:
    Email us: [email protected] / Call us: 0330 162 1792

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

      This enables us to get in touch and discuss life as a Setfords consultant

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