Should You Set Up Your Own Law Firm Or Become A Consultant Solicitor?

If you have decided that working for someone else is not for you and it is now time to go it alone, the pressing question you have now is no doubt “Should I set up my own law firm or become a consultant solicitor for someone else’s law firm?”

I have some points for you to consider.

Should You Set Up Your Own Law Firm Or Become A Consultant Solicitor?I am Nick Jervis. Until 2003 I was a solicitor with a passion for marketing. Since 2003 I have been a full time marketing consultant with a passion for making my clients telephones’ ring more.

I have worked with dozens of start up law firms and also dozens of start up consultants, so I know both options incredibly well.

Ultimately, whether you decide to start your own law firm or to become a consultant solicitor, you will probably have two overriding objectives behind this decision:

  • You want to set your daily agenda and work from wherever you choose to; and
  • You would like to keep a larger share of the work that you bill.

Both of these objectives can be met whether you decide to start up your own law firm or become a consultant solicitor.

Isn’t Starting Your Own Law Firm Much Harder Than Becoming A Consultant Solicitor?

If you are starting your own law firm, you have all sorts of issues to consider which you do not have to worry about if you become a consultant solicitor, including:

  • Compliance issues.
  • Book keeping and billing.
  • Marketing.
  • Administration.

Yes, at first, it seems that setting up your own law firm is a lot harder than becoming a consultant solicitor, but when you consider the next part, the only part that really matters, getting clients and making money, I do not see being a consultant solicitor as the easy option.

This is especially so as the parts mentioned above of compliance, book keeping, marketing and administration can ALL be outsourced with very little effort on your part, and the cost of outsourcing them is going to be far less than the amount you are going to have to give away to obtain these services from your Consultancy firm.

When you add to this the next part; how are you going to get clients, I believe the decision firmly starts to move towards the starting your own law firm one.

Getting Clients And Making Money As A Consultant Solicitor

Think about this for a moment.

If you start your own law firm, you keep 100% of the billing less your expenses. For a sole practitioner, these costs can be as low as 10% of your turnover if you outsource efficiently.

However, if you are a consultant solicitor, it is likely that you are giving away as much as 30% of your billing. Whilst this might seem like a great option because it takes away all of the pain of managing your own law firm, it hampers you when it comes to winning new clients.

I am regularly approached by consultant solicitors because they do not have any clients coming to them. Very few of the consultancy law firms provide leads to their consultants despite what the prospectus may say (I know this from a lot of experience).

Therefore, you have to undertake marketing to generate your own clients.

However, you will be competing in that marketing space with sole practitioners, and the battle is far from even, as you can see below.

Let’s say that each new client is worth £1,000 to keep the maths simple.

You undertake your marketing and the financials look like this:

  1. You spend £500 to land one client worth £1,000.
  2. You bill the £1,000 and pay £300 to your consultancy firm.
  3. You keep £200.

Now look at the maths for a sole practitioner:

  1. You spend £500 to land one client worth £1,000.
  2. You bill the £1,000 and pay £100 towards overheads.
  3. You keep £400.

In this example the sole practitioner makes double the profit that the consultant solicitor makes, but that is before you consider the next point.

How Consultants Can Attract Clients Compared To Start Up Law Firms

When you start up your law firm or consultancy practice, the first clients are always likely to come from your old contacts list.

What happens when you want to scale your business to the next level?

First, you need to consider the different types of marketing.

Attraction marketing – clients who are looking for your legal services start a search for you, find your website and give you a call (easy and cost effective marketing).

Interruption marketing – people who are doing something other than looking for legal service providers (eg browsing a newspaper, facebook or listening to the radio) hear or see your advertisement, but as they have no need for your services they do not get in touch.

Attraction marketing wins every time, but when it comes to the best form of attraction marketing, a legal website, often a consultant solicitor is simply not allowed to have one.

The sole practitioner wins again. He or she has a website which targets what they do and the geographic area they serve, and either with organic traffic or paid search, people find it who are looking for their services and immediately get in touch.

Should You Set Up Your Own Law Firm Or Become A Consultant Solicitor?

I spend my entire life promoting legal services and one of the best forms of marketing for solicitors is a website. Consultant solicitors are usually not allowed one.

When you add to this the fact that sole practitioners will keep more of their turnover than a consultant solicitor, you see that my belief is that you are better off starting your own law firm, particularly when you can outsource all of the parts of the job that a consultancy firm would take care of for you.

What do you think?

This is only my opinion and you have to make your own decision, so I have some resources available for you to help you to do this.

Starting A Law Firm Checklist

Starting A Law Firm Checklist

If you want to investigate starting a law firm further, click the button below to receive my starting a law firm checklist, and also to discover more about outsourced compliance and bookkeeping services, plus how to obtain the perfect website for your new firm.

The resources included could save you a considerable amount of time and money, yet the guide is completely free to download.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Law Firm Start Up Checklist

Becoming A Consultancy Solicitor & How To Get Clients

Starting A Consultancy Role

If you are considering becoming a consultancy solicitor, download my complete guide, including a range of current consultancy solicitor positions available, plus how to attract clients consistently to your consultancy business, by clicking the button below:

CONSULTANT SOLICITORS START UP GUIDE: Click here to download the free guide now:>>

Case Study

From biggest fee earner to no fee earning whilst doubling turnover

I’d been looking for somebody to help me with marketing for a while, and I came across Nick on Google.

That was three years ago, and in that time it’s fair to say that he’s had a massive impact on my business, and my life as a result.

In the early days, my goal was simple and specific: increase the turnover of the business so that I could take more money out of the business.

I had an amount in mind, and I expected it to take years to get there, but when I achieved it in just six months, it began to dawn on me that this guy really knew what he was talking about.

As a result of that early success, and with Nick’s help, I realised that my expectations were too low, and what I could actually achieve, with the right thinking and guidance, was far beyond what I’d ever imagined.

What Nick saw – and what he made me see – was that my business had fantastic potential, but to realise that potential, things needed to change.

Even before Nick got involved, we were getting a decent volume of leads, but it was what was happening to the leads that was the problem.

We weren’t tracking them, there was no process in place and to top it all off, we didn’t have a clear pricing structure, which meant that we were nowhere near as profitable as we could be.

And that’s where Nick came into his own. He built us a bespoke lead generation and sales process, and the results were staggering.

We pretty much doubled our turnover, allowing me to build a four-person sales and marketing team that gets us more leads and more sales.

Of course, Nick’s Google Adwords expertise has been a key part of our growth, and today it’s a hugely profitable marketing pillar for us.

But regardless of the medias or mechanisms we’ve used to grow over the last three years, it’s been Nick’s rock solid marketing plan that underpins it all.

He’s stopped me trying this and that, and got me to focus on the things that’ll have the biggest impact on the business.

And I think there’s a lot more to come – we still haven’t implemented everything that Nick has given us to do, and when we do, I reckon we’ve got around another £250,000 of revenue per year to add to our figures.

And it’s not just the business that’s seen a transformation – it’s been a personal transformation too.

When Nick first got involved, I was the biggest fee earner, and consequently I was reluctant to stop getting involved in cases.

Nick eventually made me see that if I was serious about growing this business, that needed to change and as time has gone on I’ve taken on less and less work – now I don’t do any of it.

And I only wish I’d done it earlier, because the result has been me having more time to build the business, and spending time with the people that are important to me.

Not only that, but the business is stronger, because it’s much less dependent on me.

Nick was right about that one, as he has been about pretty much everything else – it pains me to say it, but it’s true!