As this year marks my 10th anniversary of being a consultant lawyer at Setfords, I wanted to share my experiences for anyone considering the consultancy model.
While doing this, I thought it would also be a great opportunity to share some personal photos to show just how this way of working empowered me and my family to spend more time together and pursue our passion for travel.
“The idea of a fee share arrangement with the flexibility of working from home was the main attraction as this fitted in with my home life.”
What made me originally consider Consultancy?
The Setfords Consultants Model was in its infancy when I decided to leave my employed role and become a self-employed Consultant. The idea of a fee share arrangement with the flexibility of working from home was the main attraction as this fitted in with my home life. I also felt that the opportunity of offering a personal service to the locals here in Ross on Wye would fill the significant gap in the Residential Property market and one which under the Setfords model could be further explored.
Miles and I rowing in Shrewsbury – December 2017
“The support from the Directors and support staff is at a level which is perfect for my style of working.”
Has it been what I expected?
The short answer is yes (and more!) The support from the Directors and support staff is at a level which is perfect for my style of working. They are available to deal with in-house concerns but I have every confidence that if any new issues arise, the Directors already have a plan in action.
Miles, Marina and me. Tae Kwon Do, black belts – 2013
How does it differ from working at a traditional firm?
A traditional firm is old fashioned. With a fee-sharing model, both clients and consultants can benefit from being able to work closely together but also have the backing of a larger firm with the latest technology and support staff to allow consultants to be more effective and efficient in the workplace.
Helicopter over London – 40th Birthday!
What have been the most significant benefits of consultancy?
The model provides for greater time and flexibility to have a much better work/life balance. The financial reward is also more significant as the fee generated directly affects the income a consultant earns.
My son Miles and I in the sea, Zanzibar – 2018
What has been my biggest challenge?
The main issue for any consultant, particularly in the early days is to ensure a sufficient flow of work. Generating new leads is hard work in the beginning, but I have managed over the last ten years, to build the name of Setfords and a reputation in the town which allows me to gain repeat business and new work through recommendation.
Miles and I fishing in Leominster – 2015
“The main benefit is that I’m not chained to my desk 9 to 5 and can plan my day around my home life, as well as logging on to Setfords from home if I need to.”
What does a typical day look like for me?
My day usually starts with a dog walk down by the river at about 7.30 am. It’s a good way to start the day before heading into the office here in Ross. Much of my day is then spent dealing with emails, post, dictating and meeting with clients (much in a traditional way). The main benefit is that I’m not chained to my desk 9 to 5 and can plan my day around my home life, as well as logging on to Setfords from home if I need to.
Miles and I skiing in La Clusaz , France – 2018
Throughout my ten years, what has been my biggest achievement?
Opening the office here is Ross was a great feeling and again having the support from the Directors to proceed down that route was a boost to my confidence and morale. This has led to a greater presence in the town and a personal sense of achievement.
All of us in Tanzania on Safari with Laban our guide – 2018
“Clients expectations have got higher and the fees have become more competitive. Clients want excellent service at an affordable price. The Setfords model allows for this.”
What is the most important lesson I have learnt after 10 years as a consultant?
This is a difficult question! I would say that over the last ten years, legal services have changed. Clients expectations have got higher and the fees have become more competitive. Clients want excellent service at an affordable price. The Setfords model allows for this as I can offer a personal service at a cost which is comparable to the competitors in the area. Whilst some clients are happy using an ‘online’ firm or local firms where an appointment is required to meet with their lawyer; most are not.
A large number of people comment on the Ross office and how welcome they feel, which I think has a great deal to do with the office itself (a previous shop), allowing for clients to pop in! Although this can be intrusive at times, the benefit of being on hand far outweighs this. Regardless, before opening the office the consultancy model at Setfords still allowed for this one to one service but it required me to meet with clients in their own home.
Marina and I at Cheers Bar in Boston – 2017
“Ultimately it was the best career decision I have made.”
What advice would I give someone considering consultancy?
Be sure that it’s right for you. Working alone is not for everyone and you need to be sure that you can generate the level of work you require. It’s not easy and it requires hard work and effort in the early days to ensure you establish your presence in the local area. Ultimately it was the best career decision I have made. It was a risk but one I was confident I could manage and an opportunity to put my name (and Setfords) on the map!
Miles and I at Grand Canyon – 2019
“Nothing is too much trouble and whilst I don’t meet many of the team due to my location, I am always made to feel part of the Setfords family.”
What do I like most about Setfords?
The people – all staff from Directors down have an excellent work ethic. Nothing is too much trouble and whilst I don’t meet many of the team due to my location, I am always made to feel part of the Setfords family.
“David was one of the first consultants to join Setfords and we liked him the moment we met him. He is a great guy and it’s a privilege to be celebrating 10 years of his success, knowing consultancy has had such a positive impact on his life. David has received many positive reviews from his clients proving that it is not only Setfords who appreciates his hard work — many congratulations from all the Setfords team David.”
– Chris Setford Co-CEO and Guy Setford, Co-CEO
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