So Who Makes A Good Consultant Solicitor?
ANTONY JAGGARD >
DirectorWed 5 June 2019
We caught up with lead Director, Antony Jaggard to talk us through, based on his experience, who makes a good consultant solicitor.
It sounds really basic but we’re just looking for good lawyers with good clients.
However, it’s often their reason for wanting to work with us as a consultant that I’m interested in. We want to help someone settle into a way of working that’s right for them. We find this results in their clients getting the best result and we as a firm get to work with some really amazing lawyers.
“We want to work with great lawyers who are looking for an extraordinary lifestyle.”
If I was sat opposite two lawyers and one said: ‘I'm going to bill £500k a year and I’ve got all these contacts’ - and the other said: ‘I have long established clients, I’m starting a family and I’m looking for a balance between work and home-life because I want to be around to put my children to bed and take them to school but also provide my clients’ with an amazing service - then, subject to their chosen area of law, the person we would probably want to work with would be the person with long established clients.
This, of course, comes with an element of trust. We’re only interested in going into a relationship with a solicitor who is recommended, compliant, qualified, someone who has lots of experience and has been working for a firm as a qualified solicitor for at least four years. We expect our consultants to work autonomously in our framework - so we would expect to see a good track record and no issues with the SRA.
We get lots of CV’s and we look closely at the individuals' past firms, their reasons for going self-employed and how they come across when you meet. You generally get a gut feeling about someone and you can tell pretty much immediately whether you’re talking to a potentially good consultant or not.
Solicitors carrying out extremely complex and risky areas of law can be a concern for us and they may quickly fall foul of our checks. We'd prefer to work with someone looking for that work/lifestyle balance and someone who cares about their clients'. A consultant that is passionate about their work is what we’re looking for.
We’re looking for great lawyers who are specialists in their field, with good clients. Lawyers who are organised, with lots of experience, a great personality and outstanding behaviours. Being a consultant in itself has to be balanced - we’re looking for the middle ground so everyone benefits.
I've seen some consultants who enjoy the freedom of consultancy a little too much and on the flip side consultants who work all hours of the day so they can bill as much as possible. We find with the latter, the quality of service diminishes. When consultants start to get lower audit scores, increased dissatisfaction from their client (all clients are sent surveys) that’s when we get worried. We expect consultants to have self-discipline. Managing the client’s expectation is everything, finding a happy medium means our clients get a better service and the consultant enjoys a better way of working.
When new lawyers come into the business we monitor them for a while and provide support if required. We're able to reward our good consultants by putting them in touch with the work that suits them best. There’s no segregation between our consultants and employees, we're very transparent in the way we work and we want to join to work in a joined-up manner. Our consultants are very much part of the Taylor Rose TTKW family. If someone is going on holiday, we can make arrangements to communicate with their clients while they are away. Our consultants are happy to support each other and pass each other referrals.
We can support consultants when they need to meet with clients in a professional setting because we are a tangible firm with multiple offices, two of them in London. This means they have access to our offices for meetings and subject to the fee model they choose to take - a full-time desk if they want one. Anyone who joins us will have a full induction into the company and we offer training too, such as our conveyancer programme, which is available to consultants completely free of charge. Providing our consultants with more knowledge can only lead to better things. Our consultants model is one of the most generous on the market. We're happy to share our resources and being a great organisation to work with, very few people leave.
If someone has an entrepreneurial spark, is a people person who enjoys networking and can source their own clients - they can be an amazing and successful consultant solicitor. It's important to remember that people buy people - and those are the kind of people we’re looking for!
Alternatively, if you have any questions about anything mentioned above or would like to talk to someone regarding the programme you can get in touch directly with our Consultant Liaison team.
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