Posted on 13 May 2022
Journal of a busy father, balancing life as a Commercial Property Consultant Solicitor and family in the West Midlands…
Welcome to the first of my semi-regular blog posts about life as a Consultant Solicitor. I work as a Commercial Property Partner with Nexa Law. Mixed with this I am an active parent to my two boys aged 5 and 3, with my fantastic wife. Consulting is the best balance I have found yet for juggling the two. In this column I intend to range over different aspects of life as a Consultant. Maybe you are considering consultancy as your next career move? Maybe you are curious as to what you are getting when you instruct a Consultant Solicitor? If so, read on…
Flying Solo? Or Dreamwork makes the Teamwork?
When I first set out on the Consultancy path 7 months ago, I had assumed it would be a solo path. With 14 years’ post qualification experience under my belt, I knew I had the legal knowledge and business sense to be able to make it work. I did wonder if I would miss the team element of working in a traditional firm.
Actually, a Consultant Solicitor can have both. Consultancy is a great opportunity for an entrepreneurial solicitor to escape the confines of a traditional law firm. You may always have had a dream of setting out in business on their own account – and this allows you to do that. For instance, it offers great freedom to you to model your practice in your own image. You can set up your own website, design your own fee structures and run files your way. All within the regulatory confines of the SRA of course. No more fee targets, meetings and internal politics that can fill up so much of your time in a traditional practice. Instead you can fill your time delivering quality service to your clients. Or doing the school run. The choice is yours.
For the first time in a long time, I am enjoying my work. This boils down to having more control over my day. I control the number of clients and matters I take on, and can deliver better service, on time. I don’t have the stress of juggling too many files to hit an ever increasing fee target. I’m able to take my children to school, and pick them up again, and not feel guilty about it.
Benefits of the Consultant Solicitor Model to the Solicitor
As a sole practitioner, you are on your own. The element of consultancy I did not expect is working with some great other lawyers. I consult through Nexa Law, and have been pleasantly surprised that:
- There is every incentive to refer work around the firm. A great way to get you on your feet, depending how on how many clients you have already. I’ve had some great referrals from Corporate Lawyer Steven Mather, and have equally been able to refer my clients to him. You are financially rewarded for both.
- If I end up in the position where I have too much work for my capacity levels (hasn’t happened yet, as I control what I say “yes” to), I have the option to refer this out to my fellow consultants. Or, I can bring them in to work on the project together. Unlike a traditional firm, I don’t have to take on more work than is sensible, just to meet ever increasing targets. I can maintain service delivery standards, which is so important for clients, but also for the mental health of the lawyers.
Benefits of the Consultant Solicitor Model to the Client
Instructing a Consultant Solicitor can be great for the client too:
- Consultants are by their very nature experienced. All the consultants with Nexa have over 8 years’ PQE. So I know that when I refer work internally, it will be picked up by someone competent. So important, as I want to make sure my clients are looked after, even when I am not actually doing the work because it is not my area of expertise.
- Within that Consultant base are all the specialists you can wish for. When I worked at Eversheds, the size of the firm meant if there were specialist matters (like Planning, Environmental or Tax), I was able to refer to a specialist. However, only PLC clients could afford the resulting legal bill. At a regional firm like my previous firm, there just wasn’t the size of team to justify employing all those specialists. Accordingly, they were not available. I had to refer out to third party contractors, which was ok, but not ideal and a bit disjointed for the client. With Nexa Law, I have been able to reach out to planning specialist David Brammer and property litigation specialist Caroline Gumbrell and tax specialist Femi Ogunshakin. It is like being able to offer a top tier firm service, at a much more competitive and flexible rate. Win win for the consultant and the client.
So, to sum it up, Consultant Solicitors have the freedom and flexibility to create their own practice, and work in their way. But, they can call on the network to deliver cross departmental or large projects just like you would at a traditional firm. With the ever expanding bank of Consultants, you can also do so in a far more effective way than all but the biggest firms can deliver.
Flying free and Dreamwork? Consultants can have their cake, and eat it.
If you are a client who would like to take advantage of the flexibility and experience that Consultant Solcitors have to offer, then do contact me. For a no-obligation, free, quotation you can contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01384 872069 or via my Free Enquiry Form. I carry out all work through Nexa Law Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the SRA.
Thanks for reading my above article, and I look forward to seeing you on the next blog post!