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Is it time to Reconsider Your Future as a Sole Practitioner?

With professional indemnity insurance costs rising and changes within the legal industry making it ever harder to survive as a sole practitioner, we are seeing an increasing number of sole practitioners joining larger practices to be able to continue to exist and to continue offering their clients the best service possible at competitive rates. However these sole practitioners will be used to making their own decisions, so how easy is it to revert back to effectively working for somebody else? If this is an option you are currently contemplating, I know exactly what is going through your mind as last December, I made exactly the same decision.

I set up my own legal recruitment consultancy, Harris Legal Recruitment Ltd in November 2003, enjoying the autonomy that running your own business provides. However having traded successfully through the recession, it became apparent to me post recession that the legal recruitment market going forward is very different to that of the early 2000′s. The same can be said I am sure for the legal market. Therefore we all have to adapt and change with the times to ensure that we can remain successful in our respective businesses. I decided that safety in numbers was definitely the way forward for me and I have found my first few months with BCL Legal more rewarding than I could ever have imagined.

I joined BCL Legal in January and can categorically say I have never looked back. It is so refreshing to see a business that you know so well, for me legal recruitment, being handled in a different way. Everyone has a slightly different approach to things and being able to consider situations from an alternative perspective has been surprisingly eye-opening. A new company’s take on a process you have been handling almost automatically for over 10 years provides you with the opportunity to rethink your working methods and, it may surprise you to discover, you are always able to improve some aspects of your business technique.

So whilst I am adjusting to another legal recruitment consultancy’s way of doing things, do I feel frustrated that I can no longer do things my own way? Actually, no. I am thoroughly enjoying being able to discuss matters with my colleagues and, as the saying goes, two heads are definitely better than one, in analysing the best approach to any complicated situations.

However one of the best advantages of having now joined the largest independent legal recruitment consultancy in the UK, is that I can concentrate solely on doing recruitment – not the finance and accounts, not the administration, not the database updates and not the internet and technical issues that used to eat so much into my working day. Therefore if you, as a sole practitioner, were to join another practice, you would be sharing these day-to-day managerial responsibilities with other people too, hence freeing up your time to actually handle more legal work – a novel idea?- maybe! – but you did choose to go into the law for a reason and being able to handle legal work for most of your working day again should prove rewarding.

But the biggest advantage of joining forces with another firm, is of course the financial security that it provides, and if you are planning to retire a few years down the line, it makes that transgression into retirement even smoother as you have peace of mind that your clients’ needs will continue to be met.

Therefore as the legal marketplace continues to evolve and we see new merger announcements on what feels like a weekly basis, if you are a sole practitioner finding practicing on your own increasingly challenging, why not consider joining forces with another practice? You might be pleasantly surprised and look forward to your legal future with much brighter optimism.

If you would like a discussion in strict confidence about opportunities in your area, please call Tracy Harris on 0121 2301023. I place solicitors and legal executives at all levels into private practice across the West and South Midlands (Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire) and the Thames Valley (Oxfordshire and Berkshire) in a wide range of disciplines to include commercial property, corporate, employment, commercial litigation, property litigation, construction, private client and family law. I look forward to hearing from you shortly and together we can lighten the burden and you can look forward to a rosier future.

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