A big question – What do you value most in life? Family, friends, travel, challenges won, successes earned…?Where did the office feature in that collage? How about your daily commute? Your boss? Probably not at all. This begs the question – why do we continue to devote so much time, energy and resource to careers that actively work against what’s most important to us? We recently asked our consultant lawyers a similar question. What was it that made them choose consultancy? The answers unveiled what lawyers really value, and why they felt a traditional legal career was working against them.
Flexible consultancy means putting family firstAs any ambitious lawyer knows, a legal career doesn’t always marry with family life. But in our survey, the key reason cited by our lawyers for becoming a consultant was to allow more time for family and personal relationships. Traditional practice was not allowing them to build a lifestyle that welcomed children.
I have two young children and in traditional practice was finding it more and more difficult to manage their needs, childcare and having no flexibility with my working hours and no options to work from home. - Anne Thomas, Consultant Solicitor
I started my time as a consultant when my wife was due to give birth to our second child. My child required a nine week stay in hospital 25 miles from home and we also had to move out of home for a period of five months. There is no way I could have managed that whilst still undertaking work in the old practice such was their approach to 'being seen to be working' and seeming distrust of remote working. - Tom Mitchell, Consultant Solicitor
Freedom to return to work, on your own termsRecent reports of an unfair gender pay gap in legal services has again turned the spotlight on the lack of support for women, and mothers throughout their career. “By the time a first child has reached the age of 20, mothers earn almost a third less per hour, on average, than similarly educated fathers, according to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) undertaken for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.” The Guardian The Setfords’ model does away with all unjust reward structures. Women are paid the same as men, mothers as much as fathers. Crucially, we actively support lawyers who want to return to work following a break.
I took the plunge when I was pregnant and began my consultancy role. I love it, the freedom is brilliant. I spend so much more time with my little girl than I ever would have done if I had returned to the office! - Sonia Watson, Consultant Solicitor
Following Maternity Leave I wanted to return to work but I also sought to be available to my young family when they needed me and to have the time to enjoy them. The bonus is that I am able to have my career at a pace that suits my home life rather than allowing my job dictate my work-life balance. - Lauren Dimmack, Consultant Solicitor