Nathalie White tells her story

There’s more to life than work. Everyone knows it, but for many lawyers, it’s simply not a reality. Long hours, impossible targets, commutes, and more all get in the way. So, when lawyers become Setfords consultants, they get to enjoy a new-found freedom. They can use this freedom for anything their heart desires, from more time with family, travel, relaxation, and anything in between. Some choose to explore passions outside of the law, and one such lawyer is Nathalie White.

Nathalie is a property litigation solicitor who joined Setfords in 2021. She decided to come on board as a consultant because traditional firms were no longer offering the sort of lifestyle that she was looking for.

In this article, Nathalie discusses why she made the move to Setfords, and what life as a consultant has allowed her to do that just wouldn’t be possible in a more traditional firm.

New beginnings

Nathalie first considered consultancy during lockdown, when it became clear to her that there actually is a better way to do things. She says:

“Like many people, the pandemic gave me pause for thought. I was working with an incredible team at my previous firm, but felt that I wanted a different life from the one I was leading. I didn’t envisage staying in full-time practice at a traditional law firm and knew I wanted to make a change. I was not set on what or how that change might look like, but knew what I didn’t want.

Working in litigation involves an immense amount of dedication and time, which I have always strived to give wholeheartedly wherever I was working. In fact, I prided myself on it. Though it was a very difficult decision, given how much I did enjoy working with my team, I knew in the long term, it wasn’t the life I wanted.”

She decided to make the jump to consultancy with Setfords for a number of reasons:

“Firstly, I knew people who worked there. Secondly, the true flexibility they offer and the culture that comes with that. You can structure the day in a way that works for you and have the time to fill your life with more than the law.”

That freedom to have a great work-life balance is what the Setfords model is all about. When they’re not confined to the long hours of traditional law, Setfords consultants get to enjoy more of their lives outside of work. And, we actively encourage them to spend their recently discovered free time doing things that matter to them. This allows lawyers to live more fulfilled lives so that when they are working, they can approach things with a fresh mind, do better work, and therefore provide an exceptional service to their clients. Happier lawyers equal happier clients after all!

Time to explore new passions

For Nathalie, working at Setfords has allowed her to explore a passion for helping animals. She says:

“I’ve arranged my week so I now volunteer at a wildlife centre called Wildlife Aid based in Leatherhead, who do amazing work in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of British wildlife. Taking up this volunteer position not only gives me the reward of helping others and of course the very beautiful animals, but has also allowed me to work with some really fantastic people.

Being a full time solicitor, I think it is easy to spend all your time indoors using a very specific set of skills and your interactions are primarily working with people in the legal sector or providing legal advice to clients. Of course you can work on great cases, really stretch your legal knowledge and you are normally surrounded by some of the brightest and wittiest people (all of which I love). You don’t however get to go outdoors, converse and work with people who have other passions and backgrounds, or use those practical ‘hands on skills’.

The staff at the centre have really encouraged and trained me to deliver care to animals and reminded me that I have other interests outside of law and can still be myself, which simply put, makes me happy. I think it goes without saying that the pandemic really pushed people’s mental health and highlighted the importance of community. Being a part of something like Wildlife Aid has given me another purpose and it’s also great fun.”

At Setfords, we encourage our lawyers to pursue things that make them happier, and make a difference in their communities. If she was still working at a traditional firm, Nathalie wouldn’t have the flexibility that allows her to dedicate so much time to Wildlife Aid. Just think: what could you do with more freedom, flexibility, and precious time?

Nathalie also adds:

“Like many solicitors,  I felt I was missing out on being there for friends and family and watching their kids grow up. Now I can take a day to visit and celebrate a first birthday or just be more present and involved with loved ones lives, without having the nagging feeling at the back of my head that I really need to crack on with that witness statement. I’ve also found time to learn to drive… about time!”

The Setfords model allows our lawyers to fit work around their lives, and not the other way around. Our consultants don’t need to worry about asking for time off; it’s totally up to them to work whenever, wherever, and however they want. That means no lengthy commute or endless hours in the office. The traditional way of working as a lawyer is outdated, and Setfords offers a modern alternative.

Final words of advice

For any lawyers who may be considering consultancy, Nathalie has some words of advice:

“Work out what parts of your legal work and your working environment you enjoy and what you would like to change. Think about an area of law you excel at and consider how you would feel practising this on your own. But really, it boils down to having confidence in your abilities and backing yourself. Don’t be scared to ask questions and speak to one of the consultants here, they are a friendly bunch.”

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.

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