Most Solicitors probably feel that their jobs are fairly secure. Of course, that is more so in the economic ups than the economic downs, but whatever the economic climate, clients still need legal advice.
Most Solicitors probably also feel that working as an employee or a Partner at a law firm is the most secure way to forge a career in the legal profession. It comes with a guaranteed monthly salary and the expectation that the firm will have saved some cash from the good times to see it through the bad times. All in all, it’s got to be much less risky than being self employed, right? Well not necessarily.
If you’re a Consultant Solicitor you are effectively self employed, even if many will contract through a limited company. You’ve got no employer to fall back on for a monthly income and no one to balance out the economic peaks and troughs on your behalf. But you do have a lot more control over your destiny when the economy starts to take a turn.
When you’re employed as a Solicitor, you may consider that you have many clients because you are working for different people or businesses. But in fact your firm has many clients, and you only have one – your employer.
Imagine you are Consultant Solicitor with, say, 10 regular clients each paying you roughly the same amount in legal fees per year. Then imagine you lost one of those clients because of an economic downturn – you’d lose 10% of your income. If you’re an employed Solicitor or a Partner and you are made redundant or are asked to leave the partnership – you’d lose 100% of your income.
Not many Solicitors will have looked at their employment in these stark terms, but there’s no denying that having one client (your employer) looks to be a much risker proposition compared to having multiple clients as a Consultant. Of course, Solicitors will inevitably look at the risks of being a Consultant and ask what if you lost all 10 clients? Well, what are the chances? And if you did, go out and find some more!
When you’re a Consultant Solicitor you are in charge of your own marketing and business development. When it’s the right time to find more clients, you can go out and do so. We’re not suggesting this part of consultancy life is easy, but we have many examples within nexa law of lawyers who have used their relationships and their business development skills to win work.
It’s a lot more enjoyable and a lot more lucrative when you’re doing this for your own benefit rather than then benefit of your firm. Plus, when your income is dependent on your abilities to generate and do the work, it’s good motivation to learn the right skills to achieve this. At nexa law we offer a supportive environment in which to grow and develop your practice and regularly offer training and coaching on business development skills to our team.