How consulting works.

All Peerpoint consultants are self-employed. Peerpoint or Allen & Overy do not employ you. Setting yourself up as a self-employed lawyer is a simple process and doesn’t need to be completed before joining us.

The process is quite straightforward and can be easily managed by an accountant. We’ve outlined the key steps below for each of our regions, as well as answers to some of the questions we most often hear from candidates.

Being a self-employed lawyer

We ensure you have all the support and resources you need to develop your career, and make a positive impact and meanigful contribution for our clients.

Being a self-employed lawyer Please select a region:

Being a self-employed lawyer

United Kingdom

Peerpoint consultants in the UK must be self-employed. Before starting an assignment you will need to set up your own Personal Services Company (PSC). You can set up a PSC yourself, but we recommend appointing an accountant to help you do so in a tax-efficient way.

There are a number of steps to consider after you have set up your PSC. You'll appoint yourself as director or shareholder of your PSC and register it with Companies House. You'll also need to register for corporation tax. Your PSC will need to be registered for corporation tax with HMRC, submit annual accounts and file an annual return. As director, you'll also have to complete a self-assessment every year. You may wish to establish your PSC as a limited liability company. This protects your personal assets.

As your PSC is your employer (not Peerpoint or Allen & Overy), and must operate a payroll. This will usually be through the PAYE scheme. Your PSC will also need to register for VAT if its turnover exceeds, or is predicted to exceed, the threshold in a given year. This doesn't affect what you're paid by your PSC. Business and personal finances have to be kept separate, so your company will need its own bank account. Your pay reflects the assumption that you'll pay tax and NICs at the same rate as our employees. We recommend seeking advice on IR35.

For more guidance on being a self-employed consultant in the UK, download our PDF for a more detailed guide.

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Being a self-employed lawyer

Hong Kong

Peerpoint consultants in Hong Kong must be self-employed. Before starting an assignment, you will need to set up your own Personal Services Company (PSC). You can set up and manage your PSC yourself; however, most consultants prefer to appoint someone to assist them. There are many companies who can assist in the establishment of your company and the on-going requirements, such as business registration.

There are a number of steps to consider after you have set up your PSC. You will need to incorporate your own limited company, of which you will appoint yourself as director and shareholder. The most straightforward and cheapest option is to buy an existing company. As a lawyer, you will be aware that, in the eyes of the law, the company has a life of its own. For example, it will actually be the company that enters into contracts and not you. In most cases, it will also be the company that is responsible for its debts, should there be any. You will have ‘limited liability', which means, in practice, that your personal assets are protected.

Your accountant or tax adviser will advise you on running your company in the most tax efficient manner for your circumstances. It is a legal requirement to have both a registered office (which cannot be a PO Box) and a Company Secretary. Whilst it is possible to fulfil the Company Secretary role yourself, the companies who can assist in the setting up of PSCs also offer company secretarial services and the provision of a registered address.

Your PSC will be required to produce audited accounts. If it makes a profit, it will be liable for profits tax. The companies which assist in the creation of the PSC will be able to recommend Certified Public Accountants to help you with this. They can also help you set up a business bank account, which you will need.

For more guidance on being a self-employed consultant in Hong Kong, download our PDF for a more detailed guide.

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Being a self-employed lawyer

Australia

Peerpoint consultants in Australia must be self-employed. Before starting an assignment, you will need to set up your own Incorporated Legal Practice (ILP). You can set up and manage your own company when you establish an ILP; however, most consultants prefer to appoint an accountant to assist them.

Once you have set up your ILP you will need to incorporate your own company to operate as a legal practice. You will be a director and a shareholder. You will need to choose a name for your company, apply for the usual registrations (e.g. ABN) and put in place the consulting terms between your ILP and Peerpoint to govern assignments. In most cases, it will also be the company that is responsible for its debts, should there be any. You are in charge of the payments made to the ILP, dealing with the tax implications and any reporting and other regulatory requirements for the company. You are not required to set up a trust account to undertake work for Peerpoint.

For more guidance on being a self-employed consultant in Australia, download our PDF for a more detailed guide.

Download PDF

Being a self-employed lawyer

Singapore

There are a number of steps and requirements to become a self-employed consultant in Singapore and we can discuss these with you in detail. Please contact Vicki Trueman, Singapore Business Manager, at vicki.trueman@allenovery.com to find out more.

Frequently asked questions

What is Peerpoint?

Peerpoint by Allen & Overy is the global platform for self-directed consultant lawyers who want to develop their careers through access to the best work, clients, experts and resources.

Why should I join Peerpoint?

Peerpoint will give you control over how, when and where you work. The Peerpoint team works closely with you to understand your goals and ambitions, and what you want to achieve with each role.

What does it take to become a Peerpoint consultant?

You should be an ambitious lawyer, keen to develop your career outside the traditional partner or general counsel route. You might want more control, challenge, variety or balance – but whatever your motivation for becoming a consultant, you do not want to compromise on the quality of your work or ambitions. You are highly skilled, with magic circle or top-tier law firm pedigree and at least four years’ post-qualification experience (ideally with some time spent working in-house).

What kind of work will I do?

As a Peerpoint consultant you may take on assignments with A&O or with clients. The client development team at Peerpoint will discuss the types of roles you are looking for and carefully match you to suitable opportunities. Client assignments span senior manager cover, stepping into a team to cover projects, working on major transactions or regulatory change projects and implementation. These range between two to six months or longer in duration and tend to require working a minimum of four days a week. After each assignment, it is up to you how much time you take off between assignments. Working within A&O may involve supporting teams when needed or joining them for fixed periods to work on a specific deal. When we invite you to join the panel we are confident of the demand in your area, however we cannot guarantee work.

How much will I be paid?

During the interview process we will discuss with you current market rates and how much you can expect to be paid. For each assignment the client team will discuss and agree with you a daily or hourly rate depending on the type of assignment that reflects your experience, skills and market. As part of our ongoing support, our team discusses how to progress your career and reviews rates as both your experience and the market evolve. For each assignment, your personal company invoices Peerpoint for the work you have completed. You will usually complete a time sheet on the assignment to confirm with the client the days or hours you have worked that month.

When working with clients you will usually receive a day rate for the days you work and, when working with A&O, you will receive an hourly rate for the hours you spend working on the assignment.

What sort of support will I receive from Allen & Overy and Peerpoint?

As soon as you join our panel, you’ll be able to access Allen & Overy know-how, PLC and LexisNexis, and you’ll be invited to consultant networking and training events. Whatever your skills or specialism, there is a wealth of resources on hand to ensure you are always fully equipped to do your best work.

On every assignment you are fully supported by Allen & Overy’s network. We prepare and brief you for interviews and ensure you have all you need to be up and running on day one of an assignment. We schedule regular check-ins with you and with the client to ensure everything is running smoothly, and you’ll have a direct line to an Allen & Overy sponsoring and technical partner for help or advice throughout.

Peerpoint are always on hand, whether you want to discuss your next opportunity or how best you can progress and develop. Whatever you need, our bespoke support will ensure you’re never going it alone.

Does Peerpoint or Allen & Overy employ me?

To become a Peerpoint consultant you must be self-employed; Peerpoint or Allen & Overy do not employ you. If you are based in the UK or Hong Kong before working with us, you must set up your own Personal Services Company (PSC) and your company will then enter into a contract with us. In Australia, you must set up your own incorporated legal practice (ILP), which will enter into a contract with us. Setting up on your own company is generally a simple, fast process, which varies from country to country. We’ve outlined how to do this in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

As a consultant, am I covered by Allen & Overy’s professional indemnity insurance?

As a Peerpoint consultant working for Allen & Overy or a client, you are covered by Allen & Overy’s professional indemnity (PI) policy. Although you will be insured for the advice you give when working within Allen & Overy or for our clients, we advise you to consider taking out a personal PI insurance policy, particularly if you intend to work for other parties or on your own account.

Do I have to work exclusively with Peerpoint?

It may not always be possible to provide you with consistent work, and we understand that you may find other sources of income. We don’t demand that you work exclusively with us; all we ask is that you keep us up to date with your availability.

Can I return to full-time employment in the future?

At Peerpoint we support you in the development of your personal career pathway. Whether being a consultant is a long-term plan or something you would like to do for a short period of time, we’re behind you. We understand that everyone’s career is different and that consultancy may be a long-term or shorter term part of your career. While you are a consultant you are on the Peerpoint panel, whether you are working on an assignment with us or not. If you choose to take on a permanent role we fully support you and are here if you choose to return to consulting.

What do I need to consider before becoming a consultant?

As a consultant, you are self-employed. You won’t receive medical benefits, a pension etc. from an employer and you will be responsible for your NI and tax. Your PSC or ILP will employ you and as a director will be responsible for your tax and payments. We strongly recommend that you speak to an accountant to understand the financial responsibilities of being a consultant.

As a consultant there is no guarantee of work. There may be time during the year when you are not working and not being paid. It is worth planning how much you will need to receive over the course of the year and managing how you will support yourself during any downtime. Again, an accountant or financial planner will be able to advise you on how best to plan for this.

Do I need to set up a PSC or ILP before I apply?

No. We talk to lawyers at every step of their consulting journey. Whether you are already a consultant or considering consulting in the future, you can speak to us, in confidence. During the process of joining the Peerpoint panel we provide you with all the information you need. You don’t have to set up a PSC/ILP or a bank account before you meet us. We can guide you through those steps when the time is right.

Can I talk to someone before applying?

Of course. Our recruitment teams can talk to you in confidence at any point in your journey. Contact Carolyn Aldous in Australia, Marie Kirby in London, Stephanie Szeto in Hong Kong and Vicki Trueman in Singapore.

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