Any solicitors out there making a fortune?!(30 Posts)
I'm a qualified solicitor. I now work in house for a smallish company. My job is stressful but I enjoy it - it's extremely varied, I have management input and (I think anyway!) we are an ethical company in our treatment of colleagues and customers. I earn good, but not spectacular money, enough for us to be very comfortable with our joint income.
DP has always been convinced (even when I worked in private practice for a top 50 firm) that I'm totally missing a trick, and if only I worked for a high street firm, or preferably set up on my own, I'd be making a killing. Doing conveyancing and wills.
He cites the sister of a friend who is apparently a millionaire - on paper at least - from conveyancing...
This is driving me insane!
So - am I wrong or is he??!!
Conveyancing, is he kidding? High work load and not much money in domestic conveyancing. Really it's not a fun or lucrative part of law to be in, as a rule, you must know this right?
Corporate law or tax law etc in the City, fair enough.
Does he only want to see you for 20 minutes a day, then? Conveyancing is lucrative if the economy is booming and you're the partner puppet dancing a brace of associates who in turn are driving an office full of legal execs. It is not fun to do the conveyancing, which is high turnover fixed fee work for clients who are permanently on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It can be extraordinarily complicated as well.
I don't know anything about probate except that I would know more people doing it if it was in any way lucrative and/or interesting.
Is your DH a lawyer himself?
Nope. I'm a solicitor. Quite senior in a large regional firm and earn less than £40,000. So not worth the years of study and long hours in the office!
Commercial property might be more lucrative in the right firm. If he doesn't want to see you for more than 20 minutes a fortnight or mind you taking calls from overseas at 3am.
I work in-house in a fairly large company; I earn a very good salary (by no means a millionaire though!), and I know for a fact there is no chance I'd be earning the same in private practice. I work hard, have a varied caseload, do some extra hours, but on the whole, I have a much better work-life balance coupled with a pretty nice salary and other benefits that I'd never see if I went back to private practice.
Private practice isn't all its cracked up to be; it's extremely stressful, you're working ridiculous hours, the money isn't that great, and setting up on your own would involve even longer hours until you were in a position to hire other staff to share your caseload. If you were working just yourself then there's a limit to how many cases/clients you could realistically take on.
I'm not a conveyancing solicitor mind you so I have limited knowledge on the kind of money they make, but as a general point, all the people in my team at work say the same thing - they'd never go back to private practice in a million years. They have a much better life and make far more money in-house.
He's not wrong. But unless he wants you working 18 hours a day, you have it pretty good. If you're happy and the hours and pay are comfortable for you I think you're doing incredibly well. Well done OP.
I'm a conveyancer, I'd be very interested to know how anyone could be a millionaire from conveyancing.
Stressed out clients, everything is your fault
Whatever you do, don't do conveyancing.
My friend brags that she earns loads and she lives in a very expensive area (Average house price in excess of 600k in the midlands) and drives a very expensive Aston Martin, not that theres a cheap Aston Martin . She also wears very nice clothes and eats in very expensive places.
She is always at work though. Ive walked the dogs past her offices at 10pm and she has been there, Ive also walked the dogs past at 7am and shes also there. If she earns as much as she suggests (over 100k) then its because she never goes home.
Her office is in a large wealthy town . I briefly did some secretarial work for her around 10 years ago and I was astounded at the costs involved in hiring her. At the time it was £85ph. As far as I could tell she earned less than everyone else as she was only a junior solicitor. I also know where the senior partner lived and he too appears on the face of it to have tonnes of money. They paid their secretarial staff a pittance though, that's why I was helping because no one would work for them for more than a few months with their reputation of poor treatment of staff .
If you want to earn loads then someone has to be paid a lot less than you to help keep the business afloat. Its rare to find a solicitors who pay a decent wage to their secretarial staff. Its definitely the lower end of the salary scale for a secretary to work as a legal secretary.
Are you competent in conveyancing and wills? If you went back to private practice, what area of law would you practice and what seniority would you go in at? If you set up on your own, how will you find clients?
You can earn a lot self-employed. Apart from setting up on your own, there are self-employed/contractor platforms like Axiom Law, Keystone and Lawyers on Demand which make it easier to go your own. However, it is always better to have your own client base. The most obvious one is your current employer. Would they be prepared to outsource any overflow work to you if they did not have the capacity in-house?
I work inhouse at a global company. With salary, bonus and stock I'm probably on about 150k. Think it is now relatively unusual for 'normal' solicitors to be rich as you describe. Partners at top firms, maybe, but otherwise I think it's about earning steadily at a very good salary over 20+ years.
I work in the London-based office of a US firm as an in-house lawyer. The top partners at my firm would be easily over £1m a year. Their newly qualified solicitors (salaries pegged to US$) are earning £120K at around 26.
Their hours are brutal and unpredictable. It is a job that is ultimately tied to a billable hour - hence remuneration is linked to long hours.
Sorry, just busy pissing myself laughing at the words 'conveyancing', high street solicitor' and 'millionaire' in the same sentence. Surely you can just tell him it's utter shit? Nobody who does conveyancing is a millionaire and it's boring as hell and not really done by solicitors.
This reminds me of when I tell people I am a lawyer and I sometimes get 'you should go into crime, that's where all the money is'. Yeah, if I robbed a bank perhaps....
Perception vs reality is funny when it comes to law. I blame US legal dramas. Utter shit.
4PQE in house and currently earning just over £30k. Top of the wage bracket at my present employer is £41k. Very reasonable but by no means rich (brilliant work/life balance though).
I know one "on paper" millionaire who made his money in law. He was senior partner at a very busy PI claims firm in the days of 100% CFA success fees and hourly rate c/w fixed fee. The success was based on high volume, low value cases run by paralegals and the odd £1m+ catastrophic PI settlement.
Husband is partner in a top NYC firm. Partners at decent but not astounding firms make $1m, with partners at the top 20 firms making anywhere from $2-10m
Seriously?! You would def not be a millionaire if you did conveyancing for a high street firm!
I am a solicitor and until recently worked in a City firm. Equity partnership might bring you close I guess but most of the equity partners I knew just spend it all on private school fees and second homes.
Thanks folks. Am in agreement with all posts so far! Some (enough!) experience in conveyancing - it's not for me...
Realised I should have nc'd then I could handed over the responses! Will copy and paste - it's bloody helpful to know I'm not alone in thinking WTAF!! (Ps no - he's not a lawyer and I know nothing about his work and accept that!)
Dh is a barrister and charges £250/HR .... He is dual qualified tho ( was Medical Dr before doing post grad law degree).... Took him bloody ages and a load of hard work to get where he is today and I was basically a single parent for over 10 yrs as he worked away from home to build up his experience
Wouldn't recommend being a lawyer to our kids though!
I should add that equity partnership in a City firm is no guarantee either - you have to get equity in the first place, may need to pay in, and what you take home depends on the firm's profitability. Plus the stress levels, hideous hours, corporate culture etc. I am soooooo glad I left the City when I did. Now broke but life is much better relatively speaking!
Your DH is def wrong op! Esp as most City firms don't do residential conveyancing.
Setting up on your own is very expensive the professional indemnity alone is colossal and you would have to cover all the overheads before you earn a penny. Wills are straightforward but not big money spinners really unless you do loads! There isn't loads in domestic conveyancing but again in the boom times the quantity made up for it. Sometimes the grass isn't greener. Do you have any contacts at other firms that you can talk money with?
Definitely not the branch of the profession to become a millionaire! I have 26+ years experience and even with commercial property law still very very stressful and doesn't pay that well! Your DP is absolutely wrong.
I think sometimes people who don't have any real experience of being a lawyer these days see it as the country solicitor playing golf or sitting behind a big oak desk, driving a big car, living in a big fancy house and being a member of the Rotary i.e. rich and successful.
No. Those years are over I think. I am not a solicitor but my DB is and a couple of very good friends are. Not one is earning mega-money and one, with own firm, is seriously struggling.
Competition is fierce and the legal aid cuts and the opening up of the market to cheap options for the bread and butter stuff have really damaged the High St practices.
The money in law is generally in top end commercial and financial services. In house in large corporate and investment banking can easily be above £100k. However, it's stressful, long hours and very tough to get into. Private practice is even worse for long hours and stress.
Most high street solicitors are no where near that.
Not missing a trick. I worked for a high street firm for many years prior to having kids - no-one earned spectacular money. I think DH thought the same as yours and that I was being underpaid.
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