If you are considering working for a virtual law firm, we know that you will have many questions. From understanding how you will make money to whether your spouse and family will support you in this decision, there is a lot to consider.
We have many years of experience helping lawyers transition from working in a traditional law firm to becoming their own boss as a sole practitioner in a virtual law firm. As a result, we have expert insight into what you need to know to help you make the decision.
This guide answers many of the questions we are often asked by practitioners who are considering joining our virtual law firm, as well as practical advice for any lawyer who is considering transitioning to becoming a sole practitioner.
If you have any further questions or want to know more, we are always ready and willing to chat with you about the benefits of joining Scott-Moncrieff, so please give us a call on 020 3972 9011 .
What are the benefits of joining a virtual law firm?
“They’re happy because they can focus on practising the law and their salaries are often higher than they would find in traditional firms as a result.” – Lucy Scott-Moncrieff
When you join a virtual law firm like Scott-Moncrieff, you are no longer working for a firm, you are working at a firm, for yourself. This difference brings a great number of benefits for you, and those closest to you. Our focus has always been on allowing the most talented and hard-working lawyers the chance to operate in a better working environment that gives them control over their hours and their earnings. When you work with a virtual law firm, you will benefit from:
- Remote and flexible working
- Better work-life balance
- Agile, tech-focused, working
- Be financially rewarded for your hard work and advice
- Control over your career progression
- Focus on being a great lawyer, not managing a practice
- Arrange your day to suit your client’s schedules, giving you the competitive edge
- Provide more competitive pricing for clients
- Become self-employed without the challenge of starting your own practice
- Maximise productivity
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Do more Legal Aid work with reduced overheads
“It’s particularly attractive for legal aid lawyers because of the model’s cost-saving benefits and the firm’s legal aid contracts. But many lawyers are looking to work with the benefits of remote working – some aren’t happy with their career progression, while others want greater flexibility and autonomy in their working lives.” – Lucy Scott-Moncrieff
How will I be able to pay for it?
Although the virtual law firm was conceived to give lawyers a better work-life balance, we know that the financial aspect of your working life is an important one. At Scott-Moncrieff, our lawyers keep 70% of their fees, which often allows them to earn far more than when they were working for a firm. For example, if you bill £100,000 in a year, you will keep £70,000 – compared to receiving a £35k salary in a firm.
You will also have more time for fee-earning – with a virtual law firm there is much less administration, fewer firm-wide meetings, and you can organise your schedule to maximise your productivity and client contact time.
How can I get my spouse on board with the move?
We understand that for many people, big career decisions will need the support of your partner or spouse. Getting them on board may seem challenging, particularly where they do not understand the ins and outs of the legal sector or the concept of a ‘virtual law firm’. You will want to set out clearly for your partner how this will work for you, highlighting both the practicalities and the financial benefits. They may have concerns both about whether you can bring in adequate business to meet your current income, and may be unsure about the concept of a virtual firm. Be prepared to answer these concerns, and use the information and resources on our website to assist you.
After addressing the practical concerns, move on to discuss the benefits for your life together. We hope that by the time you are finished, your partner will be as excited and confident as you are about your career move.
How do I know if this is the right move for me?
Ultimately, only you can decide whether making the move to a virtual law firm is right for you. However, you may wish to ask yourself the following questions to help you make your decision.
- Do I feel fulfilled working for a firm?
- Is there room for me to grow at my firm?
- Would I like to have more control over my working life?
- Do I have the motivation and drive to become self-employed?
- Am I being compensated adequately for the work I do at my firm?
It can be very difficult to make the decision to go freelance, but we are always available to discuss your options and how the whole process works.
5 things to consider before working for a virtual law firm
1. You will be setting your own hours
Becoming a freelance lawyer gives you the freedom to set your own hours. You can earn as much as you would like to while having the time and freedom to explore other things. This brings many benefits, but if you are not careful, it can result in overworking, or in some cases, falling behind on work. It can be difficult to ‘clock-off’ when you do not have set working hours, and you may begin to feel like you are available to clients 24/7. You will need to be disciplined enough to give yourself time off, and time away from work emails, phone calls and client meetings.
On the flip side, it can also be easy to neglect work without colleagues relying on you, or without pressure from your boss. You need to be sure you are the type of person that is self-motivated enough to work for themselves and organised enough to get work done on time.
2. You will be responsible for your own income
The most intimidating part of going freelance for many is the fact that you will no longer be receiving a salary. You will be responsible for your own income, which can mean your earning potential is limitless, but also may vary from month to month.
You will need to ensure you are prepared to balance out your earnings. It is also important to consider that you will not be paid leave for holidays, sickness or absence. You will also not be receiving pension contributions from your employer. It is vital to ensure that you have adequate funds to see you through these times. In addition, you will need to organise matters such as national insurance contributions (normally paid through your employer) yourself.
3. You will mostly be working alone
For many, working alone can be challenging. Humans are naturally sociable and spending every day alone can have a negative impact on your mood and even your productivity.
At Scott-Moncrieff, we offer regular unit meetings and socials so that our freelance lawyers feel supported and part of a community.
4. Organisation and discipline are key
There is no doubt that the freedom of freelance working is one of the biggest attractions of working for a virtual law firm. However, without office hours, colleagues or a boss, it can be challenging to get into a good working routine. Organisation and self-discipline are incredibly important. You will need to structure your working days and ensure that you can meet client deadlines and complete enough work to support yourself financially. It can be tempting to take on as much work as possible when you are keeping the lion’s share of the fees. However, understanding your availability and saying “no” to work you do not have time to complete will become an important aspect of decision making in your career.
5. Your career path is yours to create
When you are an employee, normally a career path is laid out in front of you. Many people enjoy this structure and hierarchy, but for others, the chance to control their own career path is what leads them to become a freelance lawyer. You will be responsible for growing your business and expanding your career.
Work with Scott-Moncrieff as a Freelance Lawyer
At Scott-Moncrieff, we can help you work in the way you want, get the best for your clients and ensure you have the right work-life balance. When working with us, you keep 70% of the fees you bill.