Nigel at Nexa’s ‘How to and how do’ series 2023 – Blog 1
How do I work as a consultant solicitor?
Our new series of blogs for 2023 will look in detail at alternative private practice careers for solicitors. I’ll be talking about some of the practical issues and questions which regularly come up in the hope of de-mystifying this way of working.
At Nexa we’ve been helping solicitors run their own businesses as self-employed consultants for over five years so we can’t really refer to ourselves as “new model” anymore. Once upon a time the way of working as a consultant lawyer was considered an exotic animal that people didn’t really understand, but our way of doing things has become much more familiar and the options for solicitors looking for an alternative career path has certainly grown.
While there are many more consultancy and freelancing opportunities out there for lawyers than there used to be, we’re confident that Nexa remains a market leader when it comes to culture, support and financials. So, how do our consultant solicitors actually work, day-to-day – what does a career as a consultant with us look like?
It’s quite simple…and ‘friction free’
First, it’s not that different from being a senior solicitor or partner in private practice but with added freedom and flexibility. You look after and manage the delivery of legal services to your clients (in whatever way you wish) and Nexa provides a comprehensive back-office support platform to enable you to do this. But with us, it’s what we call ‘friction free’.
How it works: what you get
You enter into a Consultancy Agreement with our SRA regulated entity Nexa Law Limited. It’s common for our consultant solicitors to work under their own (or a shared) personal service company (PSC). You will need to take your own tax advice as to how to properly achieve self-employed status and the personal implications of it for you.
Under the consultancy agreement Nexa commits to:
In return for these services, you pay a % of the legal fees you earn – effectively a licence fee.
At Nexa, there are no set up fees at all.
How it works: branding
It’s up to you how you market your services to your clients and potential clients – you can use the Nexa brand or your own personal (or team’s) brand – either is fine we us and we have a mix of these approaches within our current consultant community.
How it works: building your team
Many consultants are very happy to operate as “one man or woman bands”, indeed that is perhaps part of the attraction and that is just fine. Nexa’s supportive community means you will never be short of colleagues to collaborate with or talk to, if you wish.
However, it is quite common for consultant solicitors to have their own administrative and secretarial support while some also have their own legal teams and finance support which they would like to use. To facilitate this, these assistants can be employed via a consultant’s PSC and given access to Nexa’s systems. If they’re involved with any part of the legal services that you deliver, they will also need to contract with Nexa.
How it works: how you make money
There are lots of options for making money as a consultant. As well as earning legal fees from your own clients you can also earn income by referring legal work to other consultants and you can also receive referrals and work on those. If you refer other lawyers to join us, you’ll pick up a recruitment commission and you can also do work to support our freelance service for law firms, NexaConnex.
Have more questions?
If you’re interested in finding out a bit more detail about life as a consultant lawyer and what we can offer you at Nexa , check out our careers pages here or, have a look at our brochure. For a confidential, no obligation chat, contact David Roth.
–Nigel Clark, CEO