Businesses are transforming to a new way of working, allowing for more flexibility and freedom by breaking away from the traditional confines of 9-5 working hours within an office space. This change is occurring in industries all over the world but has been slow within the legal realm. So, what does this mean for the future of solicitors?
A modern approach to running a practice
Lawyers and solicitors are starting to adapt to a new approach to practice with consultancy. Consultant solicitors can be described as individuals who value time and freedom over status within a company, practice on their own, and set their fees and working hours. Several up-and-coming law groups are facilitating a home for consultant solicitors, who are combining the best of both worlds.
Pros and cons of being a consultant
While there are many advantages to being a consultant solicitor, like with any new and exciting adventure, comes with its challenges. It is important to fully understand the choice to strike out on your own. This article discusses both the pros and the cons of transforming your current way of working, from the stereotypical law firm practices to a new and positive practice.
Greater control over your career direction
The underlying advantage of being a consultant solicitor is the control you gain. The control over your hours, money, where you work, how you work, and your client journey. This means as a consultant, you can see your client and case through from beginning to end and control the direction it goes in. When you are employed by a traditional law firm, you lack control over everything, including business decisions, acquisitions, and ultimately the success of the business.
Time is precious, use it wisely
Time is a luxury, and as a consultant solicitor, you can be flexible with your time, manage your time in a way that works best for you as well as give yourself more time with family and doing things you love. As long as the work is done, being a consultant means flexibility in how you arrange your time and caseload.
As an employee, you agree to your working hours in advance (only until recently have industries become more flexible with time and part-time hours) but the standard office hours are 9-5. So if the office is open, employees need to be there.
Money, take a home a larger piece of the pie
The opportunity to earn more money per hour is increased when working for yourself, especially if you have control over the time you work, the fees you charge, and how smart you work. You are free to take on or turn away any work that you wish and therefore, have more control over how much you earn. There are no costly overheads and all earning potential goes straight to you. However, this becomes a challenge if you do not have a regular influx of clients, meaning you do not have your trusty salary at the end of each month. You will also become responsible for paying the correct amount of tax and covering the costs if you are sick. With a salary-based office job, you have the security, but you are also refined with the amount you can earn.
The biggest satisfaction that comes with being a consultant is the work-life balance you gain. This is because you can choose your working hours, work anywhere in the world, take off time when you choose (without the restraints of 4 weeks per year), and overall perfect for managing your time around your commitments. This kind of flexibility is hard to come by when you are employed! The keyword here is balance. There needs to be a good enough balance, so you can ensure you are earning enough to pay your bills. Being a consultant may be challenging at first while you get your feet off the ground and grow a solid client base.
More attention to client satisfaction
As a consultant, you have direct access to the client and full control of the case at all times, which can mean better and improved communication and quality of work. In a large firm, employees usually split their time across a large number of cases and there is typically little to no communication with the client directly and instead, a long chain of employees work on different areas of a case. This does, however, mean as a consultant, you deal with all aspects of the case, from marketing, onboarding, setting expectations, and completing the work.
Becoming a consultant can be a great alternative to full-time employment, especially with the rise of specialist consultancy groups that combine the benefits of a large law firm with the freedom of being self-employed.