Junior lawyers

I’m newly qualified. Can I become a freelance solicitor?

I’m a newly qualified solicitor. I’m considering becoming a freelance solicitor until I secure a new role within a firm. Is this possible?

A newly qualified solicitor may set up as a freelance solicitor, but only if they are providing non-reserved legal services.

If you wish to carry out reserved legal activities, you must have practised as a solicitor for a minimum of three years since admission or registration.

If you’re thinking of becoming a freelance solicitor, you should assess how you would demonstrate your competency under paragraph 3 of the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs.

If you have less than three years’ post-qualification experience (PQE), you may wish to consider how you would evidence, if challenged, that it was in the client’s best interest to instruct you given your relative lack of practising experience and the distinction in the rules between those with less than and more than three years’ PQE.

For example, it might be more appropriate for you to take on work if you have prior experience in related areas or using similar skills.

If you have come to the law from another profession, your previous professional experience may stand you in good stead to take on particular work given your background and prior expertise.

As you’re thinking of becoming a freelance solicitor as a transitional step until you find a new role with a firm, you need to understand what the implications might be for your potential career in the short, medium and longer term.

For more information, read our practice note on freelance solicitors.

We can also support you with advice and assistance on career development.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

Have you got a practice question?

Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email practiceadvice@lawsociety.org.uk.

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