At the moment there are a number of firms considering ways of generating new streams of income. One of these is to simply find a solicitor with their own clients and get them to join your firm.
Similarly we often get partners indicating that expect solicitors with more than 5 years’ experience to have their own following of clients.
So just how easy is it to find solicitors with their own clients prepared to move firms and become consultants?
On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is dead easy and 10 is really difficult, I would say 11. Its as rare to find solicitors with a genuine client following as hunting for a chicken with teeth.
Whilst candidates with client following do exist there are not many. Out of the c.12,000 solicitors and legal executives registered with us, I would say less than 20 have a genuine following of clients to come with them to a new firm.
There is of course the small matter of restrictive covenants which prevent the overwhelming majority of solicitors from taking clients with them to a new firm. Similarly I have not come across a firm who have been pleased when one of their senior solicitors has left and mentioned in passing that all their clients are going with them to a new practice.
Solicitors with 5-20 years PQE do not have a following in the vast majority of cases – it tends to be virtually impossible for this to occur unless they are planning to steal the database from their current clients. It then begs the question whether this would be the type of candidate that you would want to recruit. Solicitors with 5-20 years PQE tend not to have a following unless it consists of friends and family not tied to a firm.
In our experience the only solicitors with a genuine client following are those who have had their own practice or worked as consultants already and developed their own following, but these do tend to be solicitors with 20 to 30 years experience or more and very specific requirements as to what they expect out of a new role, whether this is part time work, a very high percentage of the billing or a very high salary.