The Role of Consultancy Law Firms and Consultant Lawyers
Have you ever considered becoming a Consultant Lawyer? Here is what a consultancy law firm is, their status in today's legal market and what it is like to work at one.
What is a Consultancy Law Firm?
The model is straightforward. Consultant Lawyers are self-employed, receive support from the law firm and take a percentage of the work that they bill.
The main benefit for senior Lawyers is they are given the freedom to work how they want. There are now billing targets and no bureaucracy, red-tape and Partners meetings; which are often associated with traditional private practice law firms. In exchange for this, Lawyers typically retain between 60-80% of their billings.
The Rise of the Consultancy Law Firm
It is clear that fee sharing, or consultancy model law firms are now the no.1 growth model for law firms in the UK.
According to Codex Edge, who track all legal moves in the UK: “consultancy models are growing organically by headcount at a significantly faster rate than that of their traditional competitors”. To the extent that last year, a report from Arden Partners predicted that around of a third of the legal profession, 50,000 Solicitors, could be working as Consultants in just five years’ time.
This has been due to a number of factors, not least the rise in PII hitting smaller law firms but the more equitable approach to fee sharing and freedom given to fee earners have proved to be key factors. Though what is it like making the transition to a consultant model law firm?
Life As a Consultant Lawyer
One of the main concerns given by Lawyers considering the consultancy model, is that they are afraid of losing a guaranteed income. It is true that there are no guarantees when entering into a fee sharing model and you will have to have some form of self-sufficiency. However, Consultancy law firms have a number of ways to ensure collaboration and help you pursue business development.
One of the key selling points of consultant law firms is collaboration. With Lawyers’ benefitting from the firm being managed centrally and a support network, they can focus their attentions on developing relationships with their colleagues and seeking out areas of synergy between practice areas and mutual clients. Anecdotally, we’ve heard of consultant Lawyers having 40% of their annual billings being comprised of referrals from other consultant Lawyers within their firm.
Given the model can result in great earning potential, time saved and increased collaboration, the reality is that Consultant Lawyers thrive when given the freedom to work in a way which suits them. This is backed up by data which shows that Consultant Lawyers generally stay longer than their counterparts in traditional law firms.
With a looming recession, clients are likely to be looking for a legal service provider that can be competitive on price. Given the flexible resourcing provided by consultant law firms, this means that Consultants can be competitive on price when pitching for work.
Ultimately, you will receive an equitable share of the work you do. No more complicated points based systems between the Partnership. Your time and attention can be channelled into practicing law and developing relationships, with the wider administrative and support function being provided by the firm themselves.