All you need to know about a flexible legal career

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Becoming a Solicitor with Cognitive Law changed Karen Blakesley's life for the better. Here she shares her reflections on two years as a Consultant Solicitor with this thoroughly modern law firm that is built on 100% flexibility. 

Today is my 2nd anniversary as a Consultant Solicitor!  And I couldn’t be happier.  Working in this way has allowed me to finally crack the work/life balance conundrum.

Working for a firm in Kent for 14 years, I quickly progressed to partnership. I thrived in a busy commercial litigation department but when I started a family, things became difficult.  The commute, the demands of the job, the changes in the legal sector, all meant that work took up so much of my time there was very little left for my family.

There are challenges to working in this way as it differs so much from the partnership model. However you quickly become accustomed to having complete control over everything you do – and when you do it.  And knowing that the more you work, the more you will earn is satisfyingly refreshing.   I simply can’t ever see myself going back to the traditional legal firm model.

Cognitive are friendly and supportive, with excellent back office support. Whilst you don’t have a secretary, they will help with pretty much any request, deal with all billing and credit control and proactively help with marketing the firm and you personally.

As a mother of two, it has given me the freedom to be a solicitor and still have the time and energy to be a good parent and spend quality time with my children. In my first year, my youngest was not yet at school, so I broke myself into this new way of working gently.  By the end of my second year, I have more than doubled my fee income and am now looking for more new and exciting ways to develop my practice.  I set my own hours – and can actually turn down work if I don’t have time for it.  This was unheard of in my old practice!  I have even found time to take up running and ensure that my self-development is as important as my work and family life. 

All of this adds up to a very contented solicitor. That’s not something you hear all that often!

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Reading Karen's piece, the positives are joining Cognitive Law will no doubt be very apparent – complete flexibility, being able to choose where you work, how many hours you would like to work, and the freedom to work with whom you like. Increased family time, or the freedom to pursue leisure interests, becomes achievable within the working day.

However, Cognitive Law know the conversations inevitably raise questions about the perceived drawbacks of becoming a consultant solicitor. In these FAQs they have tried to address some of these frequently asked questions honestly.

Where will my clients come from? 

Clients are notoriously loyal to their solicitor. If you are a good solicitor with a strong following, clients will often move with you. I would hasten to add however, that you must adhere to any restrictive covenants in your previous contract of employment.

Nevertheless relying on an existing client base may not be enough. Tuning into your entrepreneurial flair will be required to build on your networks and relationships; as will marketing (more on that later).

But if you are ready to pursue a career as a consultant, your ambition and drive will instinctively be geared towards getting out there and networking.

How will I make money?

Join on our industry leading fee sharing model and earn up to 70% on all received fees.

 What sort of support will I get? 

We arrange professional indemnity insurance, handle compliance management and can facilitate any training requirements. Our back office support will provide you with everything you need to get going. Full training is provided to get to grips with our very easy to use case management system. We look after your invoicing and credit control, and we pay our consultants weekly on a fees received basis.

We have regular 1 to 1’s with all consultants, and quarterly consultants meetings. There is always someone at the end of the phone to talk to, discuss any concerns with, and share ideas of best practice.

We encourage our consultants to support each other with cross referrals, which not only earns them a referral fee, it allows them to offer a broader range of services outside their area of expertise.

What about marketing? 

Our marketing team is set up to help our consultant solicitors hit the ground running. We offer full marketing and business development support from the outset, and throughout your consultancy career with Cognitive Law. Our marketing support includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Business cards and other marketing literature
  • Website profiles, dedicated area of services you offer and testimonials
  • Social media training, including LinkedIn profiles and building networks
  • Article writing and blog support
  • Campaign creation and implementation for your area of law
  • Networking and event schedules and suggestions
  • Promotion of your specialism through our social media networks
  • Client satisfaction questionnaires
  • Award entry support

What do I need to start?

“Fail to plan….” – you know the rest! Along with your entrepreneurial flair, a business plan will be essential. A detailed plan (that you stick to!) and the dedication to build your network is the key to success. The luxury of being a consultant is that you get to do it all your way. You can pursue the clients you’d actually like to work with, in a way you are comfortable with, and in your own time. And to top it off, you get a bigger slice of the reward to take home!

If taking the plunge into consultancy is for you then take a look at the great opportunities currently available with Cognitive Law.