Remote working and watching the world go through major upheaval has redefined what many lawyers need and want from their careers – and their lives.
The latest Deloitte Global Millennial survey found that millennials’ anxiety levels were eight percentage points lower than those seen prior to the COVID-19 crisis. A ‘silver lining’ as a result of the pandemic, but also a wake-up call that the stressful work lives of many are leading to burnout.Many lawyers have taken the time over lockdown to reflect on what their careers mean to them. What at work gives me energy? What takes it away? Do I feel truly rewarded and satisfied? These reflective questions have prompted many to make changes and take back control of their professional lives.Over 121 lawyers joined Setfords between March and December 2020, more than double the number of lawyers that joined over the same period the previous year. Two of our consultants, Adam and Marija, explain how the pandemic motivated them to make the move into legal consultancy.
“I realised that I felt trapped in my career and felt unappreciated and unfulfilled.”
Time for Reflection
Clinical Negligence Solicitor Adam Wright found that lockdown caused him to start asking questions about his career and life choices. He was able to take a step back and look at how his role within a traditional law firm was impacting him financially and mentally.
“2020 provided a moment of realisation for me – As an employed solicitor, I was often tasked with achieving unattainable goals and targets which would directly impact my eligibility for a pay review, bonuses and promotion. I was working long hours to meet these targets and working on other time-consuming projects. I would find that, despite achieving what was asked of me, the goalposts would move, or there would be other external factors at play over which I had no control but were being used as an excuse as to why I was being held back. So my attraction to consultancy was that it would put me in direct control of my own rewards and career.”
Likewise, Consultant Family Solicitor Marija Markovic was prompted to take stock of her career. She saw the potential for autonomy and financial rewards with the consultancy model:
“During lockdown, I realised that I felt trapped in my career and felt unappreciated and unfulfilled. I wanted to be in control of my hours and my earnings. I wanted to be financially rewarded for all of the hard work that I do and to be able to choose to work as little or as much as I would like. I spoke to three consultants who loved their lives at Setfords and decided to make the move myself! I love the complete autonomy and the fee structure. Setfords has a great model, I can now earn much more than I would in a traditional firm, and there is all the support I need from Setfords’ central team.”
“The move to consultancy has put me in the driving seat of my career, and I am now responsible for my own rewards.”
Freedom and Flexibility
The Covid-19 pandemic has been incredibly challenging for everyone, but for many, it has served to highlight the stress and pressures in their daily working lives. Lockdown has given lawyers a taste of what it is like to have a better work-life balance. Adam found that the forced move to working from home during the pandemic opened his eyes to a better way of working:
“I found that I was spending much more time with the people important to me, my wife and young daughter, and I was getting to experience precious moments that come with fatherhood which would otherwise have been missed if I was in the office. Lockdown made me realise I didn’t want to go back to my previous working and commuting ways. At Setfords, everything is my choice. I choose when to start and finish my day, whether I want to go out at lunch or go for a walk with my wife. There were other unexpected rewards too; by removing my lengthy train commute, I was saving significant amounts of money whilst generating extra time in the mornings and evenings.”
Marija was also motivated to make the move to consultancy because of the flexibility that Setfords provides:
“Being at home during lockdown made me appreciate how much happier I was when I had more control over my own time. The consultancy way of working was perfect over lockdown. I love that you do not have to be stuck in one office and have the freedom to work from anywhere. Setfords technology and remote working setup makes it easy to assist people from any location.”
Adam has also found that reduced pressure and increased flexibility in his working hours have also positively impacted his work and clients.
“My clients appreciate the flexibility – some work full time, meaning that they are often unavailable to discuss important issues arising in their case during the working week. I arrange to speak with my clients at a time that suits them. I have found that because of this, my cases seem to progress more quickly because time is not lost trying to get hold of each other or spreading meetings over my clients’ lunch breaks.”
“2020 provided a moment of realisation for me.”
The pandemic has caused many lawyers to ask fundamental questions about their life choices and whether or not these align with their core values. With the move to consultancy, both Adam and Marija have found that their career aims have changed:Adam says:
“As an employed solicitor, a lot of emphasis was placed on salary and career progression, and I would work tirelessly to do everything I could to try and move up in the hierarchy to achieve my ambitions. As a consultant solicitor, I am still very ambitious and driven, but the relief of pressure from escaping the need to progress is really refreshing. I still strive to be the best at what I do, and I have ambitious plans to grow my business and build a team within this field of law. If anything, the move to consultancy has put me in the driving seat of my career, and I am now responsible for my own rewards.”
“Consultancy has made me realise that the traditional way is old fashioned and, though I thought it was what I wanted, I no longer wish to aspire to become a partner within a traditional firm. I can earn as much money as I wish as a Setfords consultant solicitor, but with complete autonomy and no pressures of managing a firm! I’m so happy that I made the move to Setfords; I won’t go back to my old life.”
Find out more about taking the next steps towards achieving success at Setfords. FILL IN THE FORM BELOW.