Frequently Asked Questions

How is Clearlake different to the consultancy platforms?2022-11-24T15:38:36+00:00

We are a law firm, first and foremost; a traditional partnership. In many ways, we combine the best aspects of independent consultancy with the best aspects of a traditional law firm.

One of the biggest advantages of our model is that we are extremely lean, meaning that our lawyers can keep up to 85% of their fees (much higher than the large consultancy platforms) and, because our partners are self-employed members of our LLP, they have much cleaner tax treatment than they would with a personal services company.

Our partners have no need to administer a personal services company and they bear no IR35 risk. In many ways we think of our partnership model as the next stage in the evolution of independent practice.

Another big difference with the consultancy platforms is that, as full equity partners in our business, our lawyers are part and parcel of our organisation and may contribute to our strategic decision making, helping us to continue to shape and improve the next generation of law firm.

We are also carefully and deliberately building a City practice with an elite brand – a partnership of people with exceptional backgrounds who want to play a role in building a new model of City law firm.

Most importantly, we offer our lawyers what we call “fully supported independence”; an initiative to take as much of the risk as possible out of independent practice. We guarantee regular opportunities to pitch to clients, we can provide access to supporting lawyers and paralegals of all levels and areas of expertise, we provide access to cutting edge legal technologies and know-how resources and we can finance invoices, if our partners want us to.

We also encourage our lawyers to build their own teams and to develop a technology offering for their clients, effectively building their own scalable business from within our firm.

What systems and technology do you use?2022-11-25T15:28:08+00:00

We work from a leading cloud-based practice management system (PMS) with open APIs allowing us to build a scalable and integrated “tech stack” over time.

We also use a leading cloud-based document management system (DMS), also with open APIs, allowing us to continue to develop and build out our technology offering.

Our PMS and DMS are integrated with a custom-built integration mirroring the unique requirements of our firm.

We are of course tied into the Microsoft Office suite as are most leading law firms and increasingly MS Word allows us to plug in all manner of emerging legal technologies to assist and automate document drafting, document review and many other activities.

We offer a premium subscription to the market-leading legal know how resource in the UK, which is standard for all fee earners. All partners can then subscribe to any resources they like, which can be expensed as additional personal costs.

We provide guided web flows for all internal administrative processes and we run a comprehensive intranet portal that gives access to all the information, content and training our lawyers need from day to day.

Finally, we are building a new, advanced legal technologies offering, which is also designed to enable our partners to provide legal tech solutions to their clients, effectively empowering them to build their own scalable technology businesses, if they choose to.

How many lawyers do you have?2022-11-24T15:41:59+00:00

We are opening our doors to new joiners for the first time in November 2022. We are currently speaking with a number of potential partners, targeting our first dozen lawyers by the end of Q1 2023.

We are not seeking to grow a huge organisation but rather a boutique City firm of excellent lawyers who are also good people and want to contribute to building a thriving and progressive culture.

Will I have enough work?2022-11-24T15:45:48+00:00

One of the many benefits of Clearlake is that our ownership structure incentivises us to invest in items such as business development and legal technologies on our partners’ behalf.

We can guarantee to bring regular client opportunities to our partners, with no upfront investment required by them. Where a partner decides to take on the clients we introduce, a small internal referral fee is payable by that partner, meaning that partners only pay for our business development services if they benefit from them.

Over time, as our firm grows in scale, we obviously anticipate more internal referrals between partners, but our marketing and business development team is more than capable of bringing in regular work opportunities for all of our lawyers.

What type of lawyers are you looking for?2022-11-24T15:47:38+00:00

We are currently recruiting lawyers with standalone practices in the core areas of expertise that traditionally support our clients’ everyday business activities:

  • commercial contracts
  • employment
  • data protection and privacy
  • intellectual property
  • insolvency
  • commercial real estate
  • corporate advisory

In time, as our body of core expertise grows, we intend to focus on recruiting transactional lawyers and dispute resolution specialists.

We are building a practice deliberately focussed on the core City disciplines to provide advice to enterprise and fast growth business and financial clients.

Do I have to work for Clearlake exclusively?2022-11-24T15:48:30+00:00

Typically, yes. We are seeking a small group of partners who want to join our team and be a part of building the next generation of law firm.

In return, we offer our lawyers the opportunity to build their own practice from amongst a small and elite community of like-minded partners.

What are the economics of internal referrals?2022-11-25T15:27:17+00:00

Where the firm provides client work opportunities for our partners resulting from our business development activities, a 15% deduction is made from the practising partner’s relevant fees for matters instructed during the first 12 months of the relevant client relationship.

Beyond the first 12 months, should the relationship continue, that client is considered part of the partner’s practice and no further referral fees are payable on any new matters for that client.

Where partners refer work from one of their own clients to another partner, the referring partner is entitled to 15% of the billings for that work (leaving the partner who performs the work typically with about 70% of the fees).

Do you offer support from junior lawyers or paralegals?2022-11-24T15:53:54+00:00

Yes, we have a relationship with a number of providers of flexible support from high-quality juniors and paralegals.

Over time, we intend to hire a small body of central associates and paralegals to support our partners on a fully flexible, hourly basis.

Partners are also entitled to hire their own teams or to join us with their existing team.

How does your invoice financing work?2022-11-23T13:47:31+00:00

Where helpful, especially in a partner’s first few months with the firm, we can finance invoices at the date of issue, so that partners can be paid almost immediately for their client work.

Once a client settles the relevant invoice, the firm’s invoice finance arm takes a small cut based on the length of time it has lent funds, and partners receive the balance.

What type of administrative and secretarial support is available?2022-11-24T09:32:49+00:00

We provide 24/7 document production and call answering support from outsourced providers that also support many of the top 20 law firms in the UK.

We provide round the clock IT support from an excellent, highly responsive team and cybersecurity oversight from the only Law Society accredited cybersecurity auditor.

We have a specialist support and training provider for our enterprise document management system and we work with a highly experienced HR consultancy whose founder has held head of HR positions in numerous leading law firms.

How does your partnership model work?2022-11-23T13:48:30+00:00

We have developed a unique limited liability partnership that allows each partner to share costs centrally, incur their own personal costs and keep their earnings, effectively running their own personal profit & loss account from within the firm.

Our unique model means no IR35 risk, no need to administer a personal services company, no double tax hit and a genuine equity partnership model, with our partners choosing to take part in our collective and strategic decision making as much as they would like to.

Do you impose billing targets?2022-11-24T15:57:11+00:00

We have absolutely no billing targets and we never will.

Our partners are simply required to cover their modest share of our carefully controlled central costs. Beyond that, our partners work as little or as much as they like.

Some will choose to grow scalable practices continuing to bring in clients, hiring juniors and distributing our client-facing technology offerings.

Others prefer a simple part time practice allowing them to balance their professional commitments with other obligations in their lives.

Our firm is deliberately built to cater for any working pattern, with the only condition that our lawyers are of an excellent calibre and are kind and respectful people.

Do you have offices?2022-11-25T15:25:07+00:00

We have a central office hub in London, just off Holborn Circus, which is hosted in The Clubhouse at 20 St Andrew Street, EC4A 3AG.

Our managing partner typically works from this central hub one or two days a week. Partners are welcome to take additional memberships or private offices at our HQ, or lease serviced office space anywhere that suits them. Otherwise, partners may simply work from their home office or on-site with their clients.

The whole philosophy of Clearlake is to set our lawyers free to work in a way that suits them and their practice.

The firm also has a relationship with the IWG Group (Regus, SPACES etc), so we can arrange office space or memberships for each of our partners at any of IWG’s thousands of locations worldwide, where helpful.

Partnership Core Features
Partnership Core Features

A quick two-page summary of life as a partner at Clearlake Law

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