A venture capital business has invested £3.75m in an alternative business structure whose business model involves legal consultants working remotely. Setfords Solicitors, which has around 160 lawyers across the country, has raised funding from Business Growth Fund in return for an undisclosed stake.
It is Business Growth Fund's second investment in legal services. It has previously staked £5m into south-east firm McMillan Williams Solicitors. Its other investments include a chain of Mexican restaurants, a bathroom retailer, a boutique gym chain and a chain of fancy-dress shops.
Setfords, which is one of a handful of firms letting lawyers work remotely while providing a back-office team. The 10-year-old firm has 60 people at its Guildford office and has recruited 65 consultants in the past year. The firm recently opened offices in Chancery Lane in London and has been licensed as an ABS. Last year it reported revenues up 20% to more than £8m.
It does not disclose profit figures.
Founder Guy Setford said: ‘We have experienced significant growth over the past 10 years, and established a brand and business model that its trusted by independent lawyers and clients.
‘We will continue to grow, recruit and invest in our infrastructure – BGF’s funding allows us to pursue our plans without disrupting the current model or management team.’
The new investment will specifically be used for digital marketing, technology upgrades and recruitment of more legal consultants.
Steve Richards, former chief executive of Interflora and Virginware, has been appointed as non-executive chairman following the investment.
BGF is an independent company with capital of up to £2.5bn and is backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered.
Chartered accountant Ben Kirby, an investor at BGF who will join the board of Setfords, added: ‘As a relatively young law firm, Setfords has already built a nationwide footprint under the leadership of CEOs Guy and Chris Setford.
‘Through a combination of innovative thinking, smart technology and a great brand, the company is well placed to become an even bigger business and we are delighted to be supporting their ambitions.’