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Taking the plunge...Legal Advisor

(14 Posts)
Leavingthelaw Fri 24-Aug-12 13:01:28

Hi, enjoying the recent threads, very inspiring. Quick recap on my position. I am a solicitor. Left work to have dd1. Had ds1 soon after and I'm still at home with them both (21 months & 4 months). I'm a proactive, entreprenrial type & want to set up on my own. My area is commercial law, specialising in contract drafting, advising, ts & cs etc. To set up as sole legal practitioner is complicated & very expensive (professional indemnity cover very expensive for small law firms). Instead, I can set up a limited company & offer my services as a legal advisor (i.e. can't hold myself out as a solicitor). Is this going to put people off? I need opinions please. My hourly rate would be extremely competitive compared to what law firms offer & I would still have professional indemnity insurance in place but maybe capped at say £50k instead of the £2m the SRA requires for solicitors. My website would explain that I am a non-practicing solicitor & that I am a member of the Law Society & on the roll etc but it would also clarify that I am not a law firm but a limited company offering legal services. Honest thoughts please - would you just use a traditional law firm? Any self-employed solicitors or legal advisors out there willing to share their experiences please? (I need Xenia to come on by & tell me to shut up & just do it...). Thanks.

watersign76 Fri 24-Aug-12 15:00:42


Honestly, I am not sure I'd pay for an advisor, if I needed legal help, I'd want "proper" legal help. I am guessing that most people that rarely use legal help would be like me. I guess those that are more familiar with using law firms could see the benefit in cheaper advice first?

Sorry I hate being negative on the freelance forum, but you asked for views.

As an side, I follow this woman on Twitter and she seems to be doing well as a lone solictor and has carved out a niche (even if it is the 'Mumpreneur' market, yes I know etc).

She also says: "I am a self employed practitioner contracted as a consultant to Virtual Lawyers Limited, a law practice that is regulated by the SRA. I am covered under Virtual Lawyers Limited’s professional indemnity insurance that provides cover up to £5 million". Could that be an option for you?

Good luck

Leavingthelaw Fri 24-Aug-12 19:01:48

Thanks - I agree my market more likely to be those already using lawyers. Hmmmm, lots to think about.

Zoelda Mon 27-Aug-12 15:20:35

Where are you located? Is your background with big firms?

I definitely wouldn't go the advisor's sort of limbo isn't it. Neither one thing or another. I also don't think pricing yourself v low is the answer. When I left private practice I thought I'd charge myself out at 150 p/h (London) but clients find that worryingly low. I'm better off around 250 and nobody bats an eyelid.

Have you considers consultancy? Look at cubism, keystone and spring.

Zoelda Mon 27-Aug-12 15:22:02

Sorry but....virtual lawyers is not a good idea....

Leavingthelaw Mon 27-Aug-12 19:16:27

Thanks for opinions/thoughts. I've given the consultancy idea a lot of thought - i.e maybe consider joining Keystone etc (if they'd have me of course!) but I really just want to work for myself. When I gave birth to my son four months ago, on my own, in my lounge (dh outside waiting for midwife!), I told myself, "right, if I can do that, I can set up my own business!". So, I just need to do it. If I fail, then so be it. I understand/hear what others are saying to me about the advisory route but there must be small businesses who require legal advice for their terms&conditions/contracts etc but who don't have the budget for law firm hourly rates. I enjoyed advising my clients and they enjoyed working with me when I was in private practice. I just hated the law firm bit! I think I'll just have to give it a go .....

watersign76 Mon 27-Aug-12 21:29:19

Wow, yes, if you can do that...!

I think instinct is really important. If you feel there is a market, then you should give it a go.

Good luck with it.

Zoelda Tue 28-Aug-12 08:43:24

I agree that if you'd like to give it a bash then you must. And if you have conviction then you'll probably be successful. The only thing that would worry me is that you might be cutting off your options. By coming off the roll and marketing yourself as a legal advisor/consultant you may find it hard to go back to full lawyerlyness.

I know some people who do both. Are consultants through an operation like cubism and have a consultancy business which, for example, provides a full employment law service team to businesses. My sister tried it too but she isn't currently finding it easy to make work for her.

As for consultancy, I do it and it works brilliantly for me. I am entirely autonomous, run as few consultancies as well as onemain one for my own clientsetc. It's very like running my own business but with help on branding, Pi and back office stuff. I am also my own brand though, within the firm.

SuzanneVL Tue 19-Mar-13 15:20:17

Just stumbled across this thread. I run the practice mentioned by watersign76. My arrangement with Virtual Law suits me just fine - Zoelda, not sure why you say virtual lawyers is not a good idea?

Anyway I know this thread is old now but I hope that Leavingthelaw you have found an arrangement that works for you - if you would like to chat about options, let me know and I will be happy to share all I know..

Zoelda - would be interested to know how your sister combines being a consultant with a regulated firm with doing law on her own account. Presumably she has to be very careful how she describes herself when not working under the regulated and insured entity?

I don't do any regulated work and have often considered giving up my practicing certificate and practicing without the title of solicitor. It seems farcical to me that someone with my training and experience has to be regulated and have insurance cover to £2m whereas someone who has no training or experience doesn't have to be regulated or insured. In my view the regulatory position is only likely to get worse as the SRA seem so out of touch they make the Law Society look relevant. The question I have to answer is what is the title of "solicitor" worth to my clients and I'm afraid I don't know the answer - will have to do a survey...

LittlePushka Tue 19-Mar-13 20:42:32

Just done a massive ranty post agreeing with you SuzanneVL, about the SRA and it crashed out - too much vitriol perhaps!!

Are you going to Workfest by any chance? I would love to chat with you to hear your experiences. Or of not could I PM you and arrange a good time to have a natter perhaps?

SuzanneVL Mon 15-Apr-13 17:22:11

Hi Little Pushka - sorry, only just seen your post. How do we PM each other - am not very familiar with Mumsnet.

SuzanneVL Mon 15-Apr-13 17:34:46

Ps have a read of this very thought provoking article

reawakeningambition Mon 29-Apr-13 18:16:57

that's a strong article.

Betterandbetter Tue 15-Oct-13 10:23:22

I'm in a similar position and I've just stumbled over this thread. I'd be so interested to hear how you got on...

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