Lockdown law firm eyes its third office in Yorkshire

Natalie Foster

A law firm set up during lockdown just over two years ago is opening its third office in this region.

Inspire Legal Group is headquartered in Scarborough. It opened a second office in Leeds last year, and is now on the lookout for premises in Hull. It also has a London hub.

Formerly Foster Clay, the firm relaunched under its new name last month. It offers lawyers of all disciplines the chance to work as consultants, building up their own practices and retaining 70% of their fees, while Inspire takes care of issues such as compliance and insurance.

Founders Natalie Foster and Isabel Bathurst, both originally from Yorkshire, say the venture is opening up opportunities for people in the county.

Isabel Bathurst

Foster, a former business manager at Barclays Bank, still lives in Scarborough where the practice first opened in March 2020 in the old county courthouse. 11 support staff also work there, providing back-office assistance to the 23 consultant lawyers currently on Inspire’s books, a number it is hoped will double by the end of the year.

Foster said: “We could have chosen to run everything from a city, but I think Scarborough has been very underrepresented in the legal market for a long time and there has been a real lack of opportunity for anyone wanting to get into the profession.

“Location is not the obstacle it once was. We attract clients from all over the world and consultants too – we have one lawyer who splits her time between Bermuda and New York.”

Inspire Legal Group also includes Inspire Crypto, a business that will develop tech products enabling property transactions to proceed via blockchain, and Inspire Legal Academy, offering training in-house. Lawyers can also access business coaching.

Bathurst, an experienced complex injury and clinical negligence solicitor, who grew up in Sheffield, added: “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.

“Our goal is to provide a supportive yet virtual, flexible working environment for lawyers and other professionals, with a focus on technology and modern, innovative working practices.”