A new-breed law firm that gives lawyers the tools to build their own practices and develop related ventures, such as technology offerings, goes live today.
Inspire Legal Group is the new name for Foster Clay, a virtual law firm that launched in March 2020, as the UK went into lockdown. It already has 23 lawyers working across the UK as consultants, receiving full back-office support as they build their practices and retain 70 per cent of their fees.
As part of the wider Inspire Legal Group, founders Natalie Foster and Isabel Bathurst have set up Inspire Crypto, a business that will develop products enabling property transactions to proceed via blockchain, and Inspire Legal Academy, which will equip lawyers and others with the skills they need to take advantage of the world of blockchain, smart contracts and legal engineering.
Unlike most virtual law firms, Inspire Legal Group is open to lawyers of all levels; it already has solicitors, licensed conveyancers and paralegals on its books, as well as legal entrepreneurs and engineers who need a support structure to create their own tech products.
The firm, which is an alternative business structure licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, also differs by adapting to how lawyers want to work, rather than imposing ways of operating on them. Further, it goes beyond back-office support and offers personal branding, workshops and ongoing business coaching.
Inspire has a team of 11 staff working in Scarborough to support the lawyers. The aim is to double the number of consultants by the end of 2022.
Natalie Foster is a former business manager at Barclays Bank, who then moved into the law and business development in the legal market. Bathurst is an experienced complex injury and clinical negligence solicitor, with particular involvement in high-profile inquiry and inquest cases.
The primary aim of the firm is to be a digital-first practice operating seamlessly across a variety of practice areas.
Natalie Foster said: “It’s not about growth for growth’s sake – it’s about inspiring lawyers to see there are many different things they can do in practice and to find new ways of delivering legal services. We are a group of colleagues where everyone has a stake in the success of the business.”
Isabel Bathurst said: “It’s all about vision and facilitation; our goal is a supportive yet virtual, flexible working environment for lawyers and other professionals, with a focus on technology and modern, innovative working practices.”