Introducing: The Law Collective

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Business name: The Law Collective

Office location: St Agnes and various cafés around the county!

When was the business founded: 2017

How many employees: 1

How is the business best described?

The Law Collective is a legal consultancy business. I am a solicitor by background, having worked at some of the world’s biggest and best law firms in the UK and Australia, as well as in-house at two global insurance businesses. I also founded, grew and exited Australia’s leading legal translation business. Using this experience, I now provide advice in my capacity as a non-practising solicitor.

What this means is that I can draft agreements, review contracts (Q: “Should I sign this?”, A: “No!”), prepare correspondence, negotiate, mediate and provide commercial-legal advice to clients across Cornwall. Because I don’t have a shiny office and don’t engage in the pointy end of litigation or property transactions, I can do all of this at £99 per hour and charge fixed amounts for every project.

I often act like a freelance in-house counsel and sit in monthly meetings, write letters, or just be there at the end of the phone or email when a client has a tricky question.

Once a client is a client, they stay that way and I am happy doing additional bits and bobs at no cost. I only charge a fixed fee for actual, substantive work, rather than keeping a clock running. I’d rather do this than clients fear picking up the phone through worrying about being charged for a quick opinion.

I don’t wear a suit, I don’t write long letters in Latin (unless a client wants me to), I don’t judge and I love questions, no matter how minor. I take the time to work out the end goal, explain things clearly and help create practical solutions to legal conundrums.

Why was the business founded?

The Law Collective was established in order to provide low-cost access to legal advice for Cornwall’s growing business sector. Sometimes legal costs can be prohibitive so people set up with inadequate structures and documents in place, which then leads to expensive fixes further down the track. At our rates, more Cornish clients can afford to obtain quality legal advice from an experienced non-practising solicitor and businessperson.

I studied law so that I could help people, but ended up in Big Law, where I helped insurers, banks and major shareholders. Now, I really enjoy helping actual humans for whom every decision we make together is of utmost importance to them or their business. I love being able to get into the nitty gritty of a business and watch it fly or watch the founders achieve a well-planned exit with all legal nuts and bolts correctly tightened.

One of the main drivers of the business is to make business work around my family and love of surfing and music. I didn’t want to return to a classic law firm structure when I could be out and about meeting lovely businesspeople across Cornwall and sneaking in a surf in between.

How does the business compare to competitors in the industry?

We don’t compete with law firms in Cornwall and, to my knowledge, there is no one else in the county doing what I do. There are times when a law firm is an entirely necessary and appropriate source of advice and having that holistic, full-service approach can be essential to get that particular deal over the line. I always point clients in the direction of SW-based law firms when needed or when there is something I can’t take on.

What are the business’s plans both short-term and long-term?

The Law Collective is enjoying slow, sustained growth at the moment. I am semi-retired at the ripe old age of 46 so am pleased to be in a position to work with a small, varied group of interesting clients who are trying to start something big, help the planet or look for the exit.

I don’t have any plans to do anything else longer-term as my work at The Law Collective has, for me, reaffirmed why I studied law in the first place. I genuinely love my work and it fits squarely amongst my other passions.

How does the business define success?

Client satisfaction is incredibly important and essential for any services business. Watching clients grow, achieve and get their house in order is also highly satisfying. But real success to me is making the business work around my family. Having gone through 14-hour days (sometimes six days per week) while in legal practice, I never want that to happen again. The impact that type of pressure and overwork has on a person, or their family, is enormous. I am glad I got out when I did and set up my own business and can now help others to do the same.

Success is dropping the kids at school, going for a surf or swim with friends, meeting a new client for a coffee, working on an interesting client project, and then picking up the kids from school to spend some time with the family at the beach. Spending an hour or two on work later in the evening is all part-and-parcel of the way I do things and, provided I do a great job that both the client and I are happy with, I wouldn’t have it any other way.