What is a consultant solicitor?

What is a Consultant Solicitor?

Thinking of becoming a consultant solicitor?

Then you’ve come to the right place. At Setfords we have grown organically from outside The Lawyer 200, to inside the 200, and then into the 100 in consecutive years. Our reputation as a law firm that puts the happiness of lawyers at its heart has a large role to play in us continuing to attract the best legal minds in the industry.

We offer lawyers a highly attractive support package and we have invested millions of pounds in new technology and infrastructure to allow remote working from anywhere in the world. But what does our model actually mean for you? By the time you’ve read our FAQs, you’ll have a much clearer idea of whether becoming a consultant solicitor is for you and why Setfords should be your top choice.

So, read on to discover much more about becoming a consultant with Setfords.

Frequently asked questions

Rather than working in a traditional law firm, consultant solicitors work for themselves and are self-employed. They practice under the umbrella of a firm, like Setfords, and are covered by professional indemnity insurance. Consultants set their own hours and decide where they work and there are no targets or minimum hours that you have to work. There are many benefits of choosing to work as a consultant solicitor at Setfords which include;

  • Largest nationwide full service network of 500+ lawyers
  • 140-strong expert support team
  • A dedicated business development team to help win work
  • Set your own work-life balance
  • Unlimited earning potential

These and other benefits allow you to do your job to the best of your ability. Keep reading to discover more about them.

Working as a consultant solicitor at Setfords gives you the freedom and flexibility to build a career that works for you. Here are just some of the many benefits:

  • Total flexibility.
    • Recently, more people have become used to working from home. But lawyers need more: the complete flexibility to work whenever and wherever they like. This is just what consultancy at Setfords means. You can be your own boss in every way.
  • Uncapped earning potential.
    • At Setfords, you keep up to 80% of costs billed and paid. So, you can earn above and beyond what you might expect from a role in a traditional law firm.
  • Freedom from management responsibilities.
    • As a consultant solicitor, you can enjoy many of the same benefits as a partner in a traditional law firm. We also remove burden, such as management responsibilities. As a result, you’re free to use your time however you wish. So, you can choose to take on more work or simply enjoy more of what you like doing outside of work.
  • Work in a way that suits you best.
    • With no set 9-5 schedule or prescribed place you have to work means you can work whenever and wherever suits you best. With no lengthy commute, you have even more precious time to enjoy your day.
  • Industry-leading support.
    • We are committed to building the biggest and best support network in the industry. Every day, our support teams provide our consultants with everything from marketing and business development to secretarial support. And, at Setfords, we don’t charge for our support services.
  • Award winning Business Development team.
    • Concerned about generating enough work? Our business development experts convert thousands of quality enquiries every year which we pass on to our consultant lawyers. Our business development, marketing and web teams work hard to grow our client base for our lawyers, whilst at the same time improving the experience for those using our services.
  • Our lawyer network.
    • Working more independently doesn’t mean working alone. Every one of our 400+ lawyers collaborates regularly with their colleagues. We have online groups with common interests or complementary specialisms, and teams who work together on bigger matters. If you have a question, you can ask the wider network or just pick up the phone to an expert. Holiday cover is standard procedure and cross-referral of work is commonplace.
  • Great culture
    • We know how important it is to feel part of something meaningful. And while work is important, so is making friends and enjoying your time in the office. Setfords people have regular parties and get-togethers, and our head office includes a well-used social hub. We organise frequent networking events and provide meeting rooms so you can meet colleagues in comfort. Above all, we have created a friendly and welcoming culture, so you‘ll always find someone who can help.
  • Happy lawyers
    • At Setfords our consultants make more money, enjoy a better work-life balance and don’t have to spend time on office politics, management chores or billing targets. Hear it first hand from the lawyers themselves in our series of blogs.

We charge the clients. Our consultant solicitors then receive their share of the fees. You may know this as a ‘fee-share’ model. The fees you receive are often well above what you could expect to earn for the same work at a traditional law firm. For example, our consultant solicitors earn up to 80 per cent of their total billings.*

To find out how much you can earn as a consultant solicitor with Setfords, use our handy earnings calculator.

There are just a few simple steps to follow to start your journey to consultancy with Setfords.

First, consider whether you have the right experience to transition smoothly into life as a consultant solicitor. Consultants at Setfords have at least five years of post qualified experience. This is because most lawyers need a reasonable amount of client involvement to make the most of this type of role.

If that sounds like you, continue with the followings steps to see how straightforward it is to become a consultant solicitor with Setfords:

  • Fill out an application form to register your interest. Click here to go to the form now.
  • This will prompt our recruitment team to get in touch with you. Once everyone is happy that you’re a suitable candidate for consultancy, you’ll be given a login to our onboarding system.
  • On the system, you can provide all your details and sign your agreement with us. You’ll need to upload some documents, including your practising certificate.
  • Our IT team will get in touch to set up your computer on our systems.
  • Then, you can provide details for your new business cards and web profile.
  • Some of our support team members will get in touch to introduce themselves and answer any questions you may have.
  • On the day you launch as a consultant solicitor, you will be announced to the firm, and your profile will go live on our website. That’s it! You’re then free to start working in whatever way you wish!

You might find it helpful to have a business plan so you can plot your own success story. If you have the dedication and drive to make it work, we want to hear from you!

Founded in 2006, Setfords was the first full-service law firm to launch a consultancy model. Over 15 years Setfords has grown into a multi-million-pound business with over 400 lawyers throughout the country and over 130 support staff.

Setfords has helped reinvent how lawyers work and how legal services are delivered. We combine the use of technology with a market-leading support team, a fervent commitment to investing in staff development and a dedication to providing the best service to clients.

Our reputation as a law firm that puts the wellbeing of lawyers at its heart has a large role to play in us continuing to attract the best legal minds in the industry. At Setfords we believe that happy and supported lawyers lead to happy clients and we see this reflected in the many positive reviews our lawyers receive on Trustpilot. Our trustpilot rating is currently 4.8/5 with over 6,000 client reviews.

Despite being a top 100 UK law firm, Setfords still feels like a family for its employees and lawyers. Consultants might be apprehensive when they first join, but we ensure that they never feel alone. We offer lawyers a highly attractive support package including admin, accounts, marketing, wellbeing and an award-winning Business Development team that drives millions of pounds worth of leads to our lawyers every year. Setfords is a law firm with ambition and, more importantly, the ability to continue to grow for the benefit of our consultant lawyers and their clients.

Becoming a consultant solicitor is quite a change for many. So, it’s vital to ensure you have the proper support to help you thrive in your new role.

At Setfords, we are proud of the industry-leading support services we provide for all of our consultant solicitors. You can benefit from the following departments:

  • Business Development
  • Marketing
  • Compliance
  • Accounts
  • Secretarial and Admin Support
  • Scanning
  • Legal support
  • PR and communications
  • Reception and telecoms
  • Scanning
  • Technical Support
  • Design Support

Our extensive support services are designed to take the pressure off our consultants. With fewer distractions, you too could entirely focus on satisfying your clients’ needs and provide a far superior service.

Yes! One of the biggest perks of being a consultant solicitor is the fact that you can set your own schedule. This means you can work whenever you wish. Whether you want to make the most of your early mornings, take meetings on weekends to fit your client’s schedule, or stick to the traditional 9-5, as a consultant solicitor it’s totally up to you!
Yes, as a Setfords consultant solicitor you are free to set your own fees if you wish. Please note that any pre-quoted work coming through our Business Development team will have set fees.
We encourage our solicitors to take as much time as they want for holidays. And, we understand that sometimes, you may be too unwell to work. But this is never an issue at Setfords. It’s highly likely that one of the other 400+ solicitors will be able to cover your matters, and the staff at Head Office can help you find someone. Failing that, you can bring in locum cover- but this is almost never necessary!
Setfords provides all of our consultant solicitors with a desk VOIP phone and dictaphone to get you started. A small deposit is taken for this. You would need to provide a computer and broadband connection and then you can get started.
Yes, you are free to bring staff to help you as a consultant solicitor. However, bear in mind that any staff you bring will be employed by you, and not Setfords.
Our dedicated compliance department provides regular webinars and other similar material for our solicitors. Beyond this, the responsibility to seek continued professional development lies with the consultants.
When it comes to setting you up as a consultant solicitor at Setfords, we can progress as quickly or slowly as you wish. But, we always aim to minimise delays and have even had consultants get set up in as little as two days!
Training on how to use all of our systems is available to consultants before their launch date. Beyond that, refresher training is provided if it’s needed. And, if we introduce anything new, full training will be given to all of our lawyers.
Each of our legal departments has a dedicated Head that you can contact with any questions or issues. And, our Wellbeing Team is also always on hand to help our consultants with absolutely anything they may need. The purpose of this department is to support our consultants throughout their Setfords journey, and many of our consultants use them as their main point of contact with the wider firm.
There’s a common misconception that being a consultant solicitor is lonely; at Setfords, we work tirelessly to ensure this isn’t the case! We always encourage our consultants to connect with each other, both virtually and in-person, to form a strong network and ensure that they have colleagues they can relate to.

Yes! Setfords is a social firm. We hold regular events that everyone is invited to; this includes consultants and support staff alike. So, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet other lawyers face-to-face.

Regular events include our summer and Christmas parties, normally held in London.

Yes, as a consultant you do not have to work exclusively with us. The majority of our consultant lawyers don’t choose to work elsewhere, but we understand that you may wish to, and therefore do not restrict your ability to do so.

Working as a consultant solicitor, you will need to be able to generate your own work. However, we’ll never leave you completely on your own. We have an award-winning Marketing and Business Development team that generates thousands of quality leads every year for our lawyers. Knowing this often gives our consultant solicitors more confidence when they join and it often helps get them up and running.

Every month our Business Development team will check the capacity of every lawyer to see who can take on more work so we can send them more leads.

Yes! We have a number of offices and meeting spaces around England and Wales that our consultants can use. Our Head Office in Guildford has plenty of space for our lawyers to work. And, we also have a location on London’s Chancery Lane, which is particularly popular for its proximity to the capital’s legal heart. But, we also have a number of other meeting room facilities around the country that you can make use of. Click here to see a full list.
To get paid as a consultant solicitor, you’ll need to invoice the firm once the clients bill has been paid. From there, you will be paid within seven working days. You are free to invoice us as often as you wish.

Of course, there are plenty of benefits to becoming a consultant solicitor. But it’s a big decision. So, you should answer YES to the following to be sure it’s right for you.

  • Do you have enough experience?
    • Most consultant solicitors have developed their specialism by working with clients in traditional firms for several years. That experience makes the transition to consultancy smoother.
  • Are you ready to work for yourself?
    • To become a consultant solicitor, you should have a solid business plan, and the dedication needed to build a career on your own terms. You’ll never be completely alone: we can help you find clients, settle into your role, and set you on your way to success.
  • Are you committed to building your network?
    • By building up a solid professional network, you’ll work with new clients and like-minded people on your journey to becoming a successful consultant solicitor.

If you want to embrace a better way of working, we’re here for you. Why not take the first step today? Get in touch to discuss how you can make consultancy work for you. You’ll be glad you did.

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    Take your first step today

    For unparalleled flexibility, greater earnings, and all the support you need to build your successful business, Setfords is here. If you’re an entrepreneurial lawyer who wants to join an award-winning firm where investment in your growth is the priority, fill out this form, and one of our team will be in touch to discuss life as a consultant lawyer.

    Alternatively, contact us by telephone or email:
    Email us: applications@setfords.co.uk / Call us: 0330 162 1792

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