FIRMS OF CONSULTANT LAWYERS are set to grab a much bigger slice of the legal cake, according to a recent news article.

The report goes on to say that a third of the profession – around 50,000 solicitors – could be working in this way by 2026.

Setfords has every reason to believe the prediction will become a reality. Being able to work where they want when they want is such an irresistible offer it has allowed us to recruit over 400 consultant lawyers.

Five-year plan

We are confident we can increase that number by 150 per cent over the next five years, as we aim to have 1,000 consultants on our books by 2026. To meet this ambitious target, we are competing for the best legal talent against some firms that have been around for centuries.

“Some would argue that having to compete against really big legal hitters makes our target look tough,” says Chris Setford, one of the firm’s two founders. “But we’ve gone from zero to over 400 consultants in just 15 years.

“Several other significant factors convince us we’ll hit our 2026 target,” says co-founder Guy Setford.

A New Attitude

“The most important factor is the marketplace itself,” Guy adds. “Quite simply, the legal profession is far more accustomed to the consultancy model than it was when we began in 2006. Remote working is the smart option for those wanting to take full control of their lives. Post-lockdown, no one wants to go back into the office full time. It’s disappointing to see firms that promised ‘hybrid working’ after lockdown now going back on their promises. Flexibility to work from anywhere is one of the main reasons lawyers choose consultancy. And happy lawyers inevitably mean happy clients. The feedback we get on Trustpilot is testament to that.

“I can work from home so I can see my family. Now I’m there to see my children every day, and I can drop them off at school. Equally, I can wake up at sunrise in the mountains, do some work and then go cycling. It’s my choice.”

– Tom Mitchell, commercial consultant solicitor, Setfords

“I love that I can work from anywhere in the world. Just this year, I have worked from Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, North Italy, Florence, Rome and then Morocco. Working with the Setfords team affords you with the set-up and support you need to help you get started on your journey to freedom.”

– Antony Singh, consultant real estate solicitor, Setfords

The technological ripple effect

“The third important factor is that the world is very different to the one we inhabited in 2006,” Guy continues. “Take technology. Ubiquitous mobiles, fast broadband, our secure IT network. These are integral to our success.”

“The ripple effect of huge tech progress is that its use becomes more and more accepted,” Chris Setford adds. “It’s accepted by lawyers, by our support team and, importantly, by our clients. Twenty years ago, a client’s relationship with their lawyer was face-to-face in a specific office space. If you suggested to a client their lawyer would be based in the Cayman Islands in the early noughties and meetings would take place via a screen, they’d ask what on earth you were talking about. But we’re all completely accustomed to remote relationships now. And where a lawyer happens to be based is less important than ever before.”

Life conspires to make people think holistically

“As lawyers gain experience, their priorities change,” Chris continues. “They move out of city centre apartments. They have children. Long commutes soon become a chore. Life conspires to make them think holistically.”

“The balance is perfect. Working two or three days a week enables me to spend the rest of the time enjoying myself with my family or on my farm. I get emails to my phone, so I can deal with things when I’m out. If I’m on my bike, I can stop to talk to clients. It’s complete flexibility.”

– Tim Westhead, commercial property consultant solicitor, Setfords

Consultants’ top priority

“What we hear again and again from those we interview, and from those who join us, is that their time becomes more and more valuable,” Guy adds. “They want to fit work around their lives, not the other way round. This becomes their number one priority. It’s probably the number one benefit of our consultancy model. It means more freedom. It gives lawyers the ability to attend a regular yoga class during typical office hours. Or walk their kids to school. Or have lunch out with their partners.”

“I ask myself – what does success mean to me? If it’s more money, I have that; if it’s more control, I have that, but most importantly, it’s about a better quality of life. I could never go back to a traditional firm now.”

– Tracey O’Dwyer, family consultant solicitor, Setfords

Is consultancy for me?

Get in touch to find out more about becoming a consultant solicitor with Setfords. Don’t worry about traipsing into our office to find out more. We’ll chat to you on Teams if it suits you better. If we agree we’re a good fit for each other, you’ll be joining a firm that was created for lawyers to do their best work.

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