Andrew Thompson joined Setfords as a consultant solicitor last year, specialising in all aspects of commercial construction law.
He has spent the last 25 years working in traditional firms, advising funders, developers, landowners, contractors, tenants, and professionals to draft and negotiate the full range of construction contracts both in the UK and Australia. Andrew now lives in Stamford with his wife and children. Andrew took the leap to become a consultant solicitor last year as he started to grow impatient with life in a traditional law firm. His experience at Setfords has revolutionised both his career and personal life.
Although Andrew had found success as a Partner in a traditional law firm, he became increasingly frustrated with office politics:
“When I was a partner in London, I found that I spent a lot of time trying to keep the other partners happy, and it started to weigh me down. It isn’t like that at Setfords. I also no longer have to spend the majority of my time dealing with management and admin tasks, as that is not the reason I trained to be a lawyer. Now I find that I can focus on the work and client happiness.”
“In big traditional firms, working longer or harder doesn’t actually mean any more money, but at Setfords, it does.”
At Setfords, Andrew has found that increased time spent focused on client work, alongside the ability to earn up to 80% of earnings, has meant he has seen great financial reward as a consultant solicitor:
“Financially, Setfords is much better than other traditional firms, and I don’t have to worry about the nightmare that is budgets or billable targets. There’s no pressure from anyone else; it’s all up to you, so there is a lot more freedom, and it’s a lot more relaxed. You also get rewarded for the work you do. Often in big traditional firms, working longer or harder doesn’t actually mean any more money, but at Setfords, it does.”
“The flexibility Setfords offers is a huge benefit.”
Since joining Setfords, Andrew has realised that achieving a healthy work-life balance is possible. The opportunity to work from anywhere, with no set hours or targets, has allowed him to focus on what is important to him personally and allows him to pursue other interests:
“The flexibility Setfords offers is a huge benefit. It is refreshing not to be tied to fixed hours and work when I want, allowing time for myself. I regularly enjoy going for walks with my family and keeping fit with my cat (Bruce Springsteen). Traditional firms simply cannot offer the same freedom as lawyers are constrained within the normal working hours.”
“Most days, I get up early, around 5 am, with my boys (aged 4 and 6) or sometimes even 3 am to watch the cricket in Australia. I also tend to start work very early, and working at Setfords allows for that since I no longer have to make time to travel to work. Having the flexibility also allows me to spend time writing my trivia books that are published in America and partake in my weekly American radio slot to talk about my books. There is often pressure to record my slot for the next week well in advance, but I now have the flexibility to do that as and when I need to.”
“I am working on bigger and better deals than I ever have before. Joining Setfords was the best decision I’ve made.”
For many, the idea of moving from a traditional, office-based firm to working remotely permanently can be incredibly daunting. However, the close community amongst Setfords network of 350 plus consultants ensures that no one is ever working in silos. Andrew has experienced first-hand that regardless of the virtual set-up, everyone works very closely together:
“Traditional firms simply cannot offer the same freedom as lawyers are constrained within the normal working hours.”
“There is a great sense of camaraderie at Setfords, and everyone is very friendly and helpful. I work closely within a team doing construction law with a previous colleague of mine, who also moved to Setfords. Although we are not physically in an office together, we talk all the time and bounce ideas off each other, so I still get the sense of working as a team, and I never feel as if I am on my own. The clients are also really great, and I am working on bigger and better deals than I ever have before. Joining Setfords was the best decision I’ve made.”
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