Successful family lawyer Thowheetha Shaah found that being a Partner and Head of Department within a traditional law firm began to weigh her down, leaving her burnt out and unhappy. A friend recommended that Thowheetha consider becoming a consultant solicitor at Setfords…
Thowheetha Shaah is a Family Law and Mediator who has been qualified as a solicitor for over 30 years. She is incredibly passionate about helping people find a way forward when a relationship breaks down, and in particular, helping the children who are often at the heart of any dispute.
With Thowheetha’s legal knowledge, skill and dedication she built a hugely successful career and eventually became a Partner and Head of a large department at a traditional firm. However, her increased responsibility only exacerbated her already stressful role.
“Being a family lawyer is already stressful as you are dealing with emotions all the time. The stress I felt was even worse when I had to please my clients and my boss. As a Partner and Head of a large department, I was always responsible for other people’s actions. I felt increasingly weighed down by office politics and drama, writing documents, red tape and policy decisions. I didn’t want to do any of that, that’s not why I became a lawyer.”
A Bold Move
Finding herself increasingly unhappy and frustrated, Thowheetha sought guidance from a friend who already worked as a consultant lawyer at Setfords.
“My friend suggested that I was working too hard for very little gain, and that I would be far better off at Setfords.”
Although rewards were important, For Thowheetha her priority was to find a firm that could take away as much of the admin and bureaucracy from her workload as possible:
“I saw that other firms offered a higher initial fee split, but I chose Setfords because of the support offered. Yes you are autonomous as a consultant, but you need the support behind you to ensure that you can deliver on the promises and the expectations of the client. I was initially concerned that they wouldn’t be able to replace my PA, but the Setfords support is excellent. If I need something I just ask and they provide it. I don’t have to worry about compliance or typing or post, I can just focus on doing the best work for my clients.”
A Happier Career
Since joining Setfords, Thowheetha has forged a successful practice and built up a considerable caseload. Unburdened by the pressures and responsibilities of being a Partner, she has found a much happier, and more balanced, way of working.
“My job is still stressful but now I just have to focus on pleasing my clients and myself. I also have a much better work life balance, which is what I wanted. I don’t have to worry about targets, and billable hours. I have time to do all the other parts of my career that I really enjoy including my mediation work and being a school governor. I’m happier because I can do the things that I enjoy.”
Although remuneration was not a deciding factor in Thowheetha’s move to consultancy, she has benefited from the fee structure at Setfords. This has not only benefitted her financially but also her confidence:
“I get paid more now I’m at Setfords. When I was an employee, I worked my socks off, and the majority of the money went to the employer as it should do. But as a self-employed consultant at Setfords, I know I’m going to get a fair share of the amount I’m billing my client providing exactly the same service. It is far more rewarding and has really helped to boost my self-esteem.”
Alone Doesn’t Mean Lonely
For many consultants going from a busy office environment to working from home can be daunting. As a family lawyer, Thowheetha also felt that she needed an office space where she could meet clients face to face if requested. Despite initial concerns, Thowheetha has really enjoyed the culture at Setfords and has benefited from Setfords’ offices in Guildford and Chancery Lane.
“I have found Setfords to be incredibly friendly. They bend over backwards to try and make sure that they look after the consultants. They really do make you feel like you are part of the Setfords family, as opposed to being out on our own.”
“I do spend a lot of time working from home, but the London and the Guildford offices are just so professional and versatile. It’s easy for me to book a hot desk and to come down, use it for as long as I want. I see clients here for meetings on a regular basis.”
For anyone thinking about becoming a consultant, there will inevitably be an abundance of questions and concerns. Thowheetha’s advice is to consider what you are really looking for in your legal career – what really matters to you?
“I would recommend considering consultancy at Setfords for many different reasons. It gives you a better work life balance, it gives you greater work satisfaction and it can boost your self-esteem. For me, it has made me a happier and more confident lawyer.”
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…