Origin Legal interview Nexa Law

Jason Nottage recently sat down with John McAuley and Eliot Hibbert from Nexa Law to discuss the world of consultancy and all things Nexa. The firm has been going from strength to strength in recent years, so it was time for Origin Legal to find out more.

Great to meet you both. So, John congratulations on recently joining Nexa as CMO and Head of Talent. Can you explain your role and some of the reasons you have joined Nexa?

John: I’ve actually been involved with Nexa since day one, as a founder Director having worked with Eliot in 2016.  I got to know Eliot as he did the legals for the sale of my recruitment business in 2016, so given our current push to grow our consultancy base with high-calibre lawyers, it seemed an opportune moment for me to get back into the business of finding talent once again!  I’ve also recently been involved in a software start-up which can assist the legal market, so given my recent experience in building up a network, and heavy involvement in marketing to this space, the timing just feels perfect to join the Nexa management team on a full-time basis to help our growth.

Eliot, congratulations on taking over the CEO role from Nigel Clark. What are some of the plans you have for Nexa having taken up the post?

Eliot: We are curren

tly busy planning for Nexa’s next 5 years and how we keep delivering for our consultants and their clients, building on the success story we’ve had since Nexa was founded in 2017.  We’re continuing to focus on our excellent reputation for looking after our people, offering the very best experience for our consultant lawyers in every area.  We’ll be continuing to push the model which has worked for us since day one – flexibility for our lawyers, coupled with incredible support from our back-office team – coupled with a great network for referrals and the right tech to support our predominantly remote-working model.

Eliot can you tell us a bit about Nexa Law. A brief history and how the law firm works?

Eliot:  I co-founded Nexa, a platform for self-employed lawyers in 2017. Starting out, I’d experienced toxic culture in law firms – one of the firms I worked for was a prime example of how not to run a law firm; it made a big impression on me.  As a progressed in my career, I realised I wanted a better culture that wasn’t toxic or stuffy, with greater flexibility so that I wasn’t stuck in an office all the time.  I started thinking about what the alternatives could be.  I’d always worked hard to build relationships with my own clients, as I realised this meant you could be more mobile as a solicitor – and you had more flexibility if you had the leverage of a client following.  A client of mine suggested setting up my own firm.  My aim was to attract top-quality lawyers, who also happened to be nice people. I’m proud to say we’ve achieved that at Nexa.  We supply a platform for lawyers to be their own boss, running their own business, whilst we take care of all the administrative burdens such as IT and admin support, regulation, compliance, insurance and client accounts – leaving the consultant free to practice law – doing what they love without the back-office restraints.

John I can see the firm is continuing to grow and expand. What are some of the qualities you look for in solicitors as you attract new talent?

John: We’re looking for a broad range of talent in Nexa, as we have been doing from the start. Our lawyers are all highly talented in their areas of expertise, which is key to continue Nexa’s reputation for building a brand of quality – benefitting our current, and future, lawyers and their clients as we grow. My focus over the next 12 months will be to showcase our key successes to the outside world a little more directly.  We’ve got some incredible people working through Nexa today, who have received great feedback from their clients – and also have some really positive things to say about Nexa. We’ll be building on this by getting some of our existing lawyers more involved in attracting new talent, whether that be through direct conversations, referrals, or the video testimonials which we’re currently working on with a number of our key partners.

Nexa is operating in a section of the legal profession (consultancy law firms) which is massively expanding. What are some of the unique selling points why a solicitor looking to start a career as a consultant should consider Nexa Law?

Eliot: We have a pretty long list of positive reasons! So many of our consultants say that joining Nexa has been truly life-changing!  A supportive, healthy culture is of huge importance to us at Nexa. There are no politics, everyone is on an equal playing field here.  In addition, there are no start-up fees, no top-down targets, we have a market-leading fee-share and excellent referral incentives, and our consultants are free to work the way they want to, when they want to! There is no limit on how much you can earn, and our fee structure is totally transparent.   Our back-office support is excellent – they have an extremely efficient turnaround of admin – all post is turned over in a day, and we have a highly efficient accounts team to take care of the accounting elements. And finally, due to our faith in the quality of our lawyers, we don’t request an indemnity against the excess of the indemnity insurance.

John, many solicitors who discuss the consultant model with me rule it out based on confidence in guaranteed earnings. How do you help solicitors overcome this hurdle and start on the path to becoming a successful self-employed solicitor?

John: The first key factor for Nexa is to be honest in our initial discussions with any potential Nexa lawyer. It’s in everyone’s benefit to understand that our model isn’t for everyone – we’re not promising work to our consultants. What we do offer is an outstanding support structure for those that require it – which includes access to all of our tech, training, and marketing resource to support in every way we can. We are actively promoting networking opportunities between our lawyers, holding regular internal Nexa events (both on-line and in-person) to encourage collaboration between our lawyers where they need support in different specialist areas. Of course, not all of our lawyers need or want support – hence our approach is very much ‘here if you need us, but no pressure if you don’t’!

Eliot If a solicitor becomes a consultant lawyer in a firm like Nexa, how important is your role in trying to integrate the firm together so everyone feels a part of something collectively?

Eliot: It’s really important to me that I ensure the values and aspirations I founded Nexa upon are held firm for its people – staff and consultants alike.  I see my role as making sure that happens, and that Nexa keeps growing in the right way, retaining its good name and is respected in the legal industry.  I am passionate about the benefits of the consultancy model for our lawyers, and making sure our people are happy. We are constantly looking at ways to improve and build on what we already have. I want to get that message out there, to as many people as we possibly can.

Finally do you have any insights and predictions for 2024 which could help people considering a move away from traditional practice and into a consultancy model?

Eliot:  In the past few years there has been a significant change in the world of work and how we approach it, and remote working is here to stay. People want more flexibility in their lives to enable them to juggle the work/life balance.  There is a lot more choice than there used to be, which is great. The diversity of Nexa’s platform allows for an alternative career path for those lawyers who perhaps don’t feel they fit – or want – the traditional mould.  Working as a fully-remote self-employed consultant with Nexa provides an enormous amount of freedom – often missing from traditional practice which can start to feel oppressive.  But don’t take our word for it – speak to one of our consultants and discover there is a better way to work and live!

John: A consultancy model isn’t for everyone, but the stats suggest that more and more people are keen to have flexibility in their lives, particularly given the experiences over the last few years in our working patterns.  There’s several companies, including Nexa, now working in this sector – all with slightly different offerings.  Our approach is simple – a focus on support, flexibility, and the ability to just ‘get on with the job’ – all whilst achieving greater earnings delivering the same legal services.  The traditional model will be here to stay I’m sure, but as more and more people move into this space, then confidence will build for lawyers to ‘make the jump’.  Our testimonials are proof that it can be a huge success, for both financial and personal reasons.

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Taylor Day
Picture of Taylor Day
Taylor Day

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