Michael Large is a specialist property litigator with more than 20 years of experience. He joined Setfords in early 2021, having previously worked at several large traditional firms. It became increasingly clear to him in recent years that the traditional model of law firm was out of date.
The pandemic and the lockdown showed very clearly that the old ways of working were getting in the way, instead of empowering lawyers and, more importantly, benefiting their clients. In order to deliver the best results for his clients, Michael decided he needed to make a change.
When deciding on the next step for his legal career, Michael’s top priority was his clients. Michael investigated the consultancy model at Setfords and found, in contrast to traditional firms, the model has numerous benefits for both lawyers and their clients. Happier lawyers lead to happier clients, which is a win-win situation for both.
“I chose to become a consultant solicitor because it was the best way to provide clients with my services. Setfords gives me the power and the freedom to put my clients first. They don’t have to come down the list after things like internal meetings, office politics, or other people’s clients. It is also the most cost-effective way for my clients to hire me. Hourly charging rates for consultant solicitors are generally lower than for employed solicitors, quite simply because we get to keep more of what we bill.”
A Top 100 Law Firm
Once he was set on consultancy, Michael decided to join Setfords specifically because of our extensive network of over 400 lawyers and established presence in the UK legal sector. He says:
“My clients usually have problems and requirements that involve property. Setfords has a large number of experienced property lawyers. So there is a big community of experts and knowledge to draw on if I need it.
As Setfords is a large firm, there is a lot of backup in terms of the vitally important administrative support. It all works extremely well. It is also very simple in terms of the fee structure for clients. There are no charges for things like photocopying or postage for clients to worry about or to be expected to pay for, which you do sometimes get at other firms.
Finally, clients can also be secure in the knowledge that Setfords is a substantial Legal 100 firm. Stability and confidence is very important, both to me and to my clients.”
We encourage our lawyers to work together, just as they would at a traditional firm. New consultants find they can get involved and network with others quickly, and there is always somebody available to answer questions, refer work to, or collaborate with.
At Setfords, we also pride ourselves on our extensive support team, who exist to make life easier for both our lawyers and their clients. With over 100 dedicated support staff on hand to deal with everything from admin to IT issues included in our fee split, help is never far away.
Furthermore, in 2022 we strengthened our position in The Lawyer’s Top 100 UK Law Firms list, so our lawyers and clients can rest assured that they have the backing of a trusted nationwide company.
A flexible option
Michael has found that the flexibility he enjoys as a consultant has allowed him to become more involved with Guardians of The Arches (GOTA), the largest association of commercial tenants in the UK. The organisation’s purpose is to protect commercial tenants of railway property by working together and sharing information. Michael says:
“I have many years of experience dealing with railway property and railway arches, so it was probably fated that I became involved with GOTA. I am a member of their advisory board. I was involved in the National Audit Office and Parliamentary Select Committee investigations into the sale of the portfolio, the negotiation of the Tenants’ Charter, and the negotiation of rent relief for members during the pandemic. We were also consulted by the Government about possible reforms to landlord and tenant law.
On a day to day level, I work for many GOTA members who have legal issues with their property, their leases, or their landlords. This might be lease renewals, issues with rent reviews, dilapidations, and many other problems faced by commercial tenants that need to be resolved.”
Working as a Setfords consultant allows Michael to serve these clients better. He enjoys the freedom to choose his own clients without worrying about hitting specific targets imposed by a traditional firm. Thus, he can decide where best to spend his time and work with the clients he wants to, enjoying his work and giving them a better service as a result.
Final words of advice
So what final words of advice does Michael have for those who may be considering consultancy with Setfords? He says:
“Don’t waste time, either yours or, more importantly, your clients. Do it as soon as you can. You will find that it is of huge benefit to your clients. You will find that you can work more efficiently and flexibly for them. And you will also be able to charge them less than you would do at a traditional law firm while you are at it.”
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…