What Do You Need in Order to Become a Consultant Solicitor?
Self-employment and flexible working arrangements have risen significantly in popularity over the past few years across nearly every industry, and the legal sector is no different.
With the coronavirus pandemic having an even greater impact on the public’s desire to modernize the way they work, we expect to see large numbers of solicitors choose to move away from the perceived constraints of working within a typical law firm.
Becoming a consultant solicitor is a particularly attractive option, especially for more experienced legal professionals, who want to earn a fairer financial reward for the work they bring in, while also enjoying the benefits of improved work/life balance.
But what do you need to get started, if you want to go down this route? In this post, the experts at Gibson & Associates give an overview of what solicitors need in order to become a consultant solicitor.
A business plan
One of the most important things that would-be consultant solicitors will need as they begin their transition from traditional, full-time legal work is a solid business plan that clearly outlines the benefits they will bring to a firm as a consultant.
Law firms will want to see that the consultant has potential, and a strategy, to ultimately drive more revenue for the business.
A business plan, therefore, should outline your proposal, alongside your objectives and understanding of the market that you are trying to target.
It should also consider how your strategy fits in with the larger, overarching strategy or approach employed by the law firm you would like to work with.
Access to clients
Arguably the most important part of a business plan should cover your client following.
Most law firms will want to take on solicitors that already have a network of clients that will follow you as you make your move, and will appreciate a deeper understanding of what you expect to generate from billable services
If you do not already have a client following, the firm will want to know how you plan to generate new clients or work alongside client introducers in order to drive your client base.
The detail is key when providing an overview of your existing or expected client base, so try to provide as much information as possible on:
- Who your clients are and what they do
- Typical spend on legal services and what you might expect them to spend with you
- Relationship with the client and key decision-makers
- The nature of your work with the client to date
- Potential areas of growth
For information on attracting clients as a consultant solicitor, take a look at this blog post.
The amount of experience required by firms of their consultants differs from firm to firm, but the vast majority will look for senior-level lawyers who can hit the ground running as a consultant.
At Gibson & Associates, for instance, we are looking for senior solicitors with more than six years of post-qualification experience.
Those with more hands-on, practical experience of delivering services at the highest level to an engaged and growing client base are most likely to fit the criteria for law firms, who will trust that they have the skills and knowledge to generate sufficient revenues for the business.
Moving away from the structure and relative safety of a traditional working setup as a full-time member of staff in a law firm is viewed by some with trepidation and a sense of unease. But others with a more enterprising spirit are attracted to the freedom, flexibility, and improved work/life balance that consultancy offers.
Not only will those with entrepreneurial flair be more likely to enjoy the progressive aspects of the consultant working arrangement, but they are also more likely to generate results that will see them get a significantly increased share of the work they bill for.
A combination of business acumen, drive, self-motivation, and a desire to do things differently will serve consultant solicitors extremely well.
What do consultant solicitors get in return?
It’s fair to say that consultant solicitors will need to bring a lot to the table, but they have the potential to take a lot from the arrangement too.
While the average employed solicitor earns less than 30% of their annual billing and receives nothing for the work they introduce to others, Gibson & Associates offers up to 80% of fees for the work they introduce and conduct under the Gibson & Associates umbrella.
They will also get access to:
- Modern office facilities
- Administrative, paralegal, marketing, and IT support
- Finance and billing services
- Case management systems
- Professional indemnity insurance (PII)
- Compliance support
- Access to other specialist solicitors that can help you support your clients and generate additional income
To find out more about becoming a consultant solicitor, contact us today for a no-obligation and confidential discussion.