Case Study

Ignition Law

Ignition Law is a full-service law firm which advises entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-up businesses. The firm provides legal advice that is both technically exact and commercially beneficial to its clients, thereby helping them grow their businesses.

Ignition Law offers clients a cost-effective and transparent fee structure and uses its own cloud-based technology to enable its lawyers to work flexibly and remotely.

We spoke to Alex McPherson, co-founder and partner at Ignition Law, about the firm's growing client base and its ambitions for the future.

What does your firm do?

We are a law firm that works with start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs. We were set up five and a half years ago. There are now about 50 of us with much of the team being ex-City lawyers. 

Ignition is a full service law firm and our team of experienced lawyers specialise in advising SME businesses and entrepreneurs from incorporation, through funding rounds, to exit and beyond.

We do not compete with the larger firms, instead we collaborate with them, and champion them, serendipitously. Ultimately, our largest clients eventually outgrow us and then become part of the wider legal eco system.

A key USP of Ignition is that we have a raft of many pragmatic documents and knowhow guides that are written in ‘entrepreneur speak’ for a huge number of recurrent issues and risks, such as around preparing for a funding round efficiently, drafting a shareholders’ agreement, vesting of equity or preparing for an exit.

There is a really entrepreneurial culture in the UK. There is a real sense of championing innovators and working together as a community. This is really important for clients and also for us as ‘can-do lawyers’ with a passion for entrepreneurship.

Tell us about your UK operations.

Our main office is in Fitzrovia, near Oxford Circus, in London and our operations team is in Yorkshire and Manchester predominantly. Our team of lawyers are, however, spread all around the world, from the west coast of the US through to Australia, Asia and right across Europe. The advantage to that is that we can work as a team, be very responsive, and turn documents overnight whenever needed.

What are some of the benefits to being based in the UK?

There is a really entrepreneurial culture in the UK. There is a real sense of championing innovators and working together as a community. This is really important for clients and also for us as ‘can-do lawyers’ with a passion for entrepreneurship.

English law is a popular legal system in many, many jurisdictions because it is a case law-led and a well-developed legal system. It is a living, evolving body and it is hugely trusted around the world. It is also a very flexible system and it is very quick and easy to incorporate a new company under English law. It can all be done electronically, efficiently and remotely.

The talent base with some of the world's leading universities and business schools is very relevant and, as the UK is compact, this talent pool is within easy striking distance of London.

Further, the London Stock Exchange and AIM, the junior market, as well as the complex of many investors and venture capital funds are a real attraction. The UK is definitely seen as a gateway bridging Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East and Africa, so it is a huge conduit for start-ups and scale-ups and also in providing exit routes for businesses.”

The UK is definitely seen as a gateway bridging Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East and Africa, so it is a huge conduit for start-ups and scale-ups and also in providing exit routes for businesses.

What are your firm's expansion plans and how does the UK feature in these?

We have just completed our first virtual work experience programme, demonstrating how we have used technology to help us quickly adapt to the current challenges posed by lockdown. We used this opportunity to champion law also to those from more diverse backgrounds. We have our very first ever trainee starting shortly. We've also been developing a lot of great partnerships with some of the UK's leading law firms, accelerators and other organisations in the UK start-up eco system, as well as other institutions globally. A current example of this is our partnership with Seedrs offering support for clients needing to access the Future Fund.

But, for many reasons, having a UK office will remain absolutely vital to us as a law firm. Clients still wish to meet in person and, as we emerge from the pandemic, face-to-face meetings will still be important. There are also a lot of client events that we want to run to help them develop their networks, share experiences and connect with other entrepreneurs and like-minded people. You need a physical office for that, though this works hand-in-hand with the clever Law Technology we are developing.

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