Lisa started her legal career in private practice at Allen & Overy (A&O) before moving in-house with a financial services company. It was after a career break that she decided to move into legal consultancy, a curiosity borne out of wanting to see how other legal teams worked and her desire to develop her mediation and coaching skills. Working with Peerpoint has allowed her to use her professional experience to support our consultants and help them progress their careers.
How has the legal consulting landscape changed in the last decade and what are the reasons for lawyers wanting to work as legal consultants?
The legal consulting landscape has significantly evolved over the last decade. Consulting was mainly viewed as a post career option used by senior lawyers, partners or GCs. This is no longer the case and we are seeing lawyers who are at the early stages of their career move to legal consulting – it is a positive choice for many lawyers who are using it to build successful legal careers. Legal consulting offers lawyers a combination of high quality work, control and flexibility while still being able to develop professionally.
This way of working is great for lawyers who have a strong interest in another area that they want to devote time to, whether that’s art, music or setting up their own business. It is also very attractive to lawyers who want to gain a wider breadth of experience, exposure to new sectors and even to new practice areas. Legal consulting can also be a strategic way of acquiring the right skills and experiences and helps lawyers build their professional network and their own personal brand in the market.
What support does Peerpoint’s consultant management team provide?
We work closely with our consultants to understand their skillset, needs and aspirations and then carefully and creatively match them with the right opportunities and support them when they are on placement in a variety of ways. Peerpoint is the only legal consulting platform with a dedicated consultant management team comprised of lawyers to support and develop our consultants.
Our support includes access to A&O partners, PSLs, client newsletters and seminars, and online legal databases. As Peerpoint consultants, lawyers are a part of a community of like-minded professionals and also have opportunities to join A&O’s networks and participate in pro bono projects. Through our experience working with consultants, we know this new way of working requires a shift from an employee to a consultant mindset. We help lawyers make this transition with a coaching and development programme that is bespoke and caters to a consultant’s individual needs.
What advice would you give to a lawyer considering legal consulting as a career option?
Every individual’s reason for consulting is different, but I would suggest they consider a number of factors. Think carefully about your motivations for wanting to become a consultant and what you want to achieve. It could be to get more variety and control over your career and increase your experiences and skill levels; you might want to maintain a quality career in law and still learn, but also to dedicate more of your time to other personal interests and endeavours, or simply to have a better work/life balance.
Be mindful of your financial situation – can you manage the inevitable periods of downtime a consultant will have? Understand your own personality and how comfortable you are with uncertainty. Are you the type of person who likes change, is resilient, adaptable, is a strong relationship builder and capable of working autonomously when needed?
If you are serious about consulting it can help advance your career and diversify your professional experience at a faster pace. You would also have the opportunity to work with the best companies in a variety of sectors, with diverse teams, develop new specialisms and experience different types of businesses.
How do you see the legal consulting market developing in the future?
At Peerpoint, we are seeing a rise globally in clients seeking consultants, which demonstrates that resourcing structures are changing. Technology has enabled significant changes in how we are now all working and, as it advances, we will see the shape of teams change with a greater diversity of disciplines and roles working together.
There will also be a broadening of skillsets beyond the traditional technical legal capabilities – for example we are seeing demand for lawyers with expertise in new legal areas such as data science, technology and transformation, risk and compliance and project management.
We will also continue to see a rise in lawyers wanting to work in this way as they further recognise consulting as a means to direct their legal career in a more fulfilling way. It is an exciting time to be a part of the legal industry and the possibilities in terms of roles and evolving non-linear pathways, make it increasingly realistic to pursue, shape and achieve personal fulfilment.
Find out more
View our latest legal consulting opportunities here.