Why should you become a Consultant Solicitor?

Posted on April 2021 by Danny Wiseman, Legal Recruitment Consultant

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Thinking about becoming a Consultant Solicitor?

Like many businesses adapting to the effects of COVID-19, most law firms have had to shut their doors and ask employees to work from home over the past 12 months. Our legal recruitment consultant, Danny Wiseman, has been talking to partners across the sector who have been debating taking the plunge into consultancy. And, because the benefits include spending time with your family, maximising your earnings and having the freedom to work how you want, we can see why an increasing number of lawyers are considering this route.

So, why should you consider it?

To answer this question, perhaps we should firstly look at what a lawyer is and examine the pathway to partnership – which has effectively been the traditional route for most lawyers for many years before the consultancy model was introduced. Succeeding in the legal field is often associated with excellent grades at school and university, before moving on to a trainee program and, eventually, upon qualification (and blood, sweat, tears and billable hours), the route of associate and partnership for those with tenure and loyalty, in addition to being successful enough to develop their own client following.

After some years in the profession, a growing number of senior level candidates might decide that they can service their client base under the umbrella of another law firm as a ‘Consultant Solicitor’. The consultant is not considered a PAYE employee and therefore receives no basic salary but a percentage amount of all billings from their clients. This is usually done in two ways: either the consultant services their own clients whilst utilising the expertise of the firm; or the Consultant assists with large caseloads or urgent requests on an ad-hoc basis for internal clients of the firm.

Consultancy is not for everyone. What makes a good consultant is not only their ability as a technical solicitor, but their further business acumen and commercial awareness. These consultants will be the ones attending networking events, constantly keeping up to date with the legal market and what’s happening on social media, cold calling potential new clients and generally being extremely knowledgeable on brand and self-marketing to boot. Consultant solicitors are usually expected to be experts in their field and are often senior lawyers in the industry.

But why would you become a Consultant Solicitor?

After all it seems like a lot of work – although Consultancy roles usually come with support from the firm in the form of case management systems, compliance support, professional indemnity insurance and access to accreditations and lender panels, they are not driven by billables and KPIs. Essentially, they must be able to not only self-motivate but be confident in their ability to grow their practice and develop their business every single day.

Enter, the benefits of being a Consultant. These include the ability to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working when, how, and where they want. Additionally, they have the potential to earn a great deal more; on average, consultants pick up much more than a salaried Partner as fee shares are often 60% for the consultant (they can be up to 80% for some of the larger firms). Whilst a salaried partner may be well paid above £100,000pa if they bill £300,000+, some consultancy roles would allow the candidate to earn £260,000+ in their first year alone.

If you are a partner who has worked somewhat tirelessly since qualification to develop your own client base and feel that you can service them whilst working as a consultant, or want to hear what’s out there, contact us and we will make an appointment to discuss these options with our legal team today. We have a range of opportunities, from the friendly high street solicitors to the top 100 law firms in the UK.