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Are you really a Consultant?

At nexa law, we describe our team members as Consultant Lawyers or Consultant Solicitors. Other consultancy firms may call their lawyers Partners, but of course they’re not – in the legal sense at least. Arguably it doesn’t really matter what you call yourself! Certainly most clients don’t care about your job title. But we see plenty of Consultant Solicitors out there who perhaps aren’t quite what they seem!

When we talk about our Consultant Solicitors, we are talking about lawyers who have committed to a new and alternative way of working. One which is flexible and autonomous and enables them to take control of their earning power and their lives. But there are some Consultant Solicitors out there who don’t enjoy any of these freedoms, but still go by the consultant title.

Traditional law firms are increasingly inviting members of their team to become Consultants. Often this occurs when Partners are coming up to retirement age and the firm wants to make room for new blood in the partnership. Or sometimes it occurs when lawyers practise in a very niche area of law which firms want to access, but don’t necessarily want to pay for on a full time basis. For the lawyer, this is likely to entail giving up their salary or drawings and entering into a fee share agreement.

In theory this sounds like a potentially good route for lawyers who want a bit more flexibility and think it might enable them to share in the rewards which come with generating legal fees. But all may not be as it seems. We’re aware of lawyers who have taken this route being offered very unfavourable fee share arrangements. At nexa law you will retain at least 75% of the fees you generate from work you bring to the firm, but we’ve seen consultants at traditional law firms be offered less than 40%. When the firm has such high overheads to cover, it just doesn’t have the ability to offer competitive arrangements.

We’re also aware that lawyers working on a fee share basis are still required to attend the office to carry out work and have none of the flexible lifestyle benefits that come with being a nexa law lawyer. But the biggest challenge we’ve come across for lawyers operating in this way is the lack of work. Often firms will promise their consultants that there is a great deal of earning potential from taking this route. But the reality is that firms will always look to fully utilise their employed team members before sending anything to a fee share consultant. It’s simply more profitable for them to do so.

This means that consultants at traditional law firms are given little ability to earn a living. On the one hand they are given very little work, and on the other hand they are not allowed to go and generate their own clients. Or rather, they are allowed to do so, but they have to bring those clients into the firm for the employed team members to service.

As a Consultant at nexa law you have complete control over your clients. There’s no fighting for a fair share of the work with your firm and no question that you own the relationship with your clients. At nexa law we provide the perfect home for you to build and nurture your client relationships and to see your fair share of the rewards.

If you’re a consultant in a traditional law firm and you want to find out more about nexa law, please contact our Sales & Recruitment Director, Nigel Clark at nigel.clark@nexa.law.