There has never been a better time to consider a career as a legal consultant!
The legal market is growing and evolving, with new ways to practice law, working as a legal consultant delivers the opportunity to embrace this to its fullest.
Discover below what the key benefits are to joining this exciting sector of the legal market and comments from some of our clients who we recruit for.
Independence and flexibility: Legal consultant solicitors typically work on a self-employed basis, allowing them to have greater control over their work schedule and the clients they choose to work with. This level of independence can be appealing to those who value flexibility in their careers and can be a huge advantage if you have other responsibilities or interests outside of work. As Karen Bexley at Bexley Beaumont explains:
“It’s more than just flexibility as to where and when people work. It’s also about the team they work in, the firm they are part of, the ability to set their own goals and targets and work in a way which best suits them and their clients. Clients’ and lawyers’ interests being aligned, and lawyers having the opportunity and autonomy to thrive and develop within a supportive and collegiate environment”.
Diverse client base: As a legal consultant solicitor, you have the flexibility to build and maintain your own client base. This can lead to exposure to a wider range of clients and legal matters, which can be professionally enriching and broaden your experience.
·Higher earnings potential: Fee-sharing arrangements often allow consultants to keep a significant portion of the fees they generate, as they are not burdened by the overhead costs of running a traditional law firm. This can result in higher earnings compared to salaried positions in law firms. The team at Setfords are particularly passionate about the rewards of their model:
“At Setfords, we have created a way of working that recognises achievement and gives lawyers the freedom to make their own choices. We don’t set billing targets, so our lawyers decide how many clients they have and how many hours they want to work. Our pioneering fee-share structure acknowledges achievement – the more you bill, the greater the rewards. If you have grander ambitions and perhaps want to be involved in business development or maybe run your own department or team, we can help you achieve that, too. Our fee structure is about honouring our commitment to our consultant lawyers to give them the rewards they deserve”.
Work-life balance: Many legal consultant solicitors are drawn to this career path because it offers the potential for better work-life balance. You have the freedom to set your own hours and work from different locations, which can help you achieve a healthier work-life integration.
Reduced admin responsibilities: Traditional law firms often require lawyers to handle administrative tasks like managing staff, office space, and billing. As a legal consultant solicitor, you can focus more on practicing law and less on administrative burdens. Marie Dancer at Richard Nelson LLP supports this, stating that:
“Fee sharing consultancy enables experienced solicitors to work flexibly, from the location of their choice, free from targets and management responsibilities, with the opportunity to earn significantly more than in a traditional firm. Consultancy is also a great alternative to setting up a practice for solicitors. It enables them to focus on generating and conducting client work, free from having to invest time and money on IT, compliance, professional indemnity insurance etc. They also benefit from the combination of having autonomy, but also not feeling alone, as they have access to full back office staff and colleagues to bounce issues past”.
Career progression: Legal consultant solicitors can build a strong reputation and client base over time, potentially leading to increased demand for their services and the ability to command higher fees. This career path can be especially attractive if you have a niche specialisation or industry expertise. Legal consultants can even grow their own teams within the consultancy model.
Networking opportunities: Working independently doesn't mean you're isolated. In fact, many legal consultant solicitors’ network with other legal professionals, forming valuable connections that can lead to referrals and collaborations. Stephanie Bristow of Taylor Rose highlights the importance of this within their business model:
“After 9+ years of running a leading consultant programme we’ve recognised that community is key, not just to the success of the programme but also to the well-being of our consultants and their continued growth and so we have heavily invested in this. We wanted to create a platform where consultants had the ability to share not just knowledge and experience but referrals and opportunities in an environment that promotes collaboration, leveraging the collective network of the firm. We love our consultants connecting with each other, with key firm personnel and really feeling part of the key fabric of the culture of the business, giving them learning opportunities and seeing them thrive, because that’s when we all succeed together.”
No overheads: Since you are not responsible for the overhead costs associated with running a law firm, your financial risk is lower. This can be particularly advantageous during economic downturns or slow periods in the legal industry.
Adaptability: The legal industry is evolving, with alternative business structures gaining popularity. Being a legal consultant solicitor demonstrates adaptability and an openness to new ways of practicing law, which can be a valuable skill in today's legal landscape.
So if you're looking for a new challenge in the legal market, becoming a legal consultant could be the perfect opportunity. With the right approach, you could build a successful and fulfilling career on your own terms and reap the rewards of your own endeavours!
It's important to note that while fee-sharing consultancy can offer many wonderful benefits, it also comes with challenges, and your success as a legal consultant solicitor depends on your ability to build a strong client base and maintain a steady flow of work.
Before pursuing this career path, it's essential to conduct thorough research, evaluate your personal and professional goals, and to consultant with an expert legal recruiter within the market. We can assist you by offering an unbiased view on the Consultancy firms offering the most fit for your circumstances and career goals.
To view which legal consultant vacancies we currently have available please click here.
To download a PDF version of this newsletter please click here.
Kaye Thumpston, Director
020 7183 8586
Lauren Harris, Senior Consultant
0113 320 0575