Making the decision to become a consultant solicitor takes much thought and preparation. We understand it is not a quick or easy choice, and strive to ensure all our solicitors have as much information they need to make an informed decision. So, to help solicitors thinking of becoming a consultant solicitor, we asked Simon Wood for an honest and frank account of why he took the plunge into consultancy.
How many years have you been a lawyer?
I was called to the Bar in 1987 – 35 years
Where did you first start your career and how did it develop?
Tenant in Chambers 1990 -2001;
Media Training Company: 2001-2
Working for solicitors: 2002 – 2020
When did you start thinking about becoming a Consultant?
I almost became a consultant in 2012 before joining my previous firm. However, as my children were then relatively young, I did not want to take the risk of not having a guaranteed income. I revisited the question in 2018 when the children were a bit older and it seemed much more appealing. I was then that much more experienced and ready to set up as a self employed consultant.
Why did Consultancy sound appealing to you?
The two biggest advantages to consultancy for me was having complete control over working hours and the type of work I could do. To be able to choose to do the work that I really enjoy was very appealing and important to me. And having such vast experience I knew exactly where my strengths lie and how I could support clients.
Control over working hours was a big clincher too. Being able to manage my own time and work in a way that suited me and my family made the opportunity very appealing.
Did you have any reservations about becoming a Consultant and if so what were they?
Yes, principally lack of guaranteed income and building up practice in a new environment.
Why did you choose to join Cognitive Law?
I was recommended Cognitive Law by Darren Stone, with whom I had worked before. Darren had set himself up as a consultant a couple of years prior to me and had raved about the benefits of consultancy. Having met the MD Lucy Tarrant and found out more about the ethos at Cognitive Law it felt like the perfect fit.
How has your life changed since joining the company?
I now have a lot more time, particularly as I am not now having to commute 3 -4 hours daily, which I was doing before. There is a lot less daily stress. However, building up a sustainable practice is still a concern, and takes a lot of time, effort and patience.
Were your reservations addressed when you became a Consultant?
It is still very much a work in progress. It is largely down to me as to how successful I am going to be, but the support from the Head Office team is second to none, as well as the rest of the other consultant solicitors at Cognitive Law.
What would you say to any lawyer thinking about becoming a Consultant?
The freedom from the daily stresses of commuting, inflexible working times, and billable hours targets is wonderful. However, make sure that you can afford to do it. You will not have a guaranteed income and it can take time to build up a sustainable practice. You will need to be a good self-motivator with a strong business and marketing plan that you stick religiously too.