Why ambitious lawyers are rethinking their careers

TALENTED LAWYERS have always had options.

In the past, the two main options available to legal go-getters were to:

A) Become a partner or
B) Set up a new practice

Both options offered a host of benefits: kudos, more responsibility, more power and, of course, the kind of financial rewards that are the envy of everyone except Premiership footballers.

Unfortunately, both options also mean spending much more time at work.

Long, tiring hours can lead to less sleep

That’s a pity because long hours lead to some serious health implications. Logic tells us that long hours are tiring. Yet those who spend the most time in the office often struggle to sleep. Little wonder heart disease and stroke can also result from overworking, according to no less an authority than the World Health Organization. Which begs the question whether the ‘benefits’ associated with a partnership are really worthwhile.

Apparently, they’re not worthwhile among four out of every ten lawyers.

According to a recent article published in Forbes, 39 per cent of those who become a partner are not completely enamoured with their role. Which, as the article points out, is ‘a stark statistic when you consider the blood, sweat and tears it takes to make partner in many of today’s firms’.

As becoming a partner looks less appealing than it first appears, let’s consider option B.

As mentioned above, setting up your own practice does offer some benefits. But, founding a law firm is far from a walk in the park. To summarise the Forbes’ article, legal entrepreneurs need to think about:

  • Business structures and plans
  • Building a brand
  • Insurance and regulation
  • Winning work
  • Balancing profit with purpose

Spare room, spare cash

Oddly, the article fails to mention capital. It’s not simply that money is needed to set up a law firm. For example, even those who do it on a shoestring budget by converting their spare bedroom need a website. Which, to distract from the fact that you’re working from a converted spare room, will need to be very good indeed. Having made that investment, you will also need a healthy stack of cash for business as well as personal expenses while you build your brand and client list.

If that sounds stressful, you may want to look away before reading the next statistic: around 60 per cent of new businesses fail within three years.

Which leaves options A and B looking decidedly unattractive. Fortunately, there is an option C. This is to become a consultant lawyer.

Joining Setfords provides similar benefits of setting up your own business or becoming a partner without the associated risks or reservations you may have.

For example, there is far less bureaucracy for you to worry about. We take care of professional indemnity insurance tasks and SRA regulations.  But that’s not the only kind of support you can look forward to as a consultant lawyer with us. You won’t even have to think about balancing profit with purpose because we’ll also take care of that for you. You can also forget about business plans. And our business development team will help you win the type and amount of work you want to do.

Work in a way that suits you

In other words, it’s our job to remove the painful elements associated with options A and B. What this leaves you with are two things: the time to provide excellent, dedicated service to your clients and the freedom to get away from work altogether to enjoy some of the activities you love to do.

It’s also worth mentioning that all our consultant lawyers relish the fact that they have a network of hundreds of other consultant lawyers they can call on for advice on legal issues outside their own specialism.

Our own Sarah Edwards sums up why option C is far more preferable that either A or B. “I had no real insight as to what’s involved in running a law firm,” says the real estate specialist, who joined Setfords in 2019.

“My role changed from working towards targets and generating work to not only that but dealing with compliance, recruitment, advertising, applications for lender panels, paying invoices, sending payments for our matters, networking, etc. The list was endless!

“When I left my previous firm as a partner, I knew I didn’t want to go back to a traditional firm, work super long hours and try to hit targets that are sometimes unachievably high. I have a partner and a puppy and wanted a good work-life balance. I had looked into consultancy at Setfords a few years before and decided it would be perfect for me.”

Many of our lawyers cite our support package as the main reason why Setfords consultancy is preferable to setting up a firm. We have a dedicated Business Development team, whose sole job is to provide quality leads to lawyers. And, they’re good at it, driving over £10m worth of business to our lawyers in the last financial year.

We also have a marketing team who support our consultants with advertising and marketing materials. So, our lawyers can enjoy all of the perks that come with being self-employed, without having to worry about where all of their business is going to come from. It truly is the best of both worlds for lawyers who may be considering either partnership or setting up their own firm.

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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        This allows us to send you the information you need to know about consultancy

        This enables us to get in touch and discuss life as a Setfords consultant

        Currently, we can only work with lawyers qualified under one of these regulatory bodies