On Friday 10th May 2019, N+1 Singer hosted our third Listed Law Conference at The Ned in the City of London.
The event welcomed presentations from 9 companies with very distinctive business models, examining the changing landscape of the legal services sector. The companies spoke across three themes:
“The Risk Takers” (Burford Capital, Manolete Partners and Rosenblatt Group) – The essence of this theme is that these businesses are prepared to put money at risk in order to earn a return from the process of litigation. The opportunity for such activity arises from i) the high cost of legal advice, ii) the very limited pricing options offered by law firms and iii) the general risk aversion found in the legal sector.
“New Businesses Centred on Law” (Elevate, MJ Hudson and Luminance) – Three completely different companies presented under this umbrella theme: Elevate’s consultancy, technology and services offering is largely a response to the growing need for big corporates to buy legal services more effectively and efficiently; MJ Hudson started as a niche law firm designing and building new products for alternative asset managers, which through acquisition is morphing into a trust and corporate services group; and Luminance is an advanced legal technology company that has developed AI and machine learning software to read and understand documents far faster than humans.
“Keeping Lawyers and Shareholders Happy” (Gateley, Keystone and Knights) – Since law firms are people businesses where traditionally the senior lawyers own the business and all the profits, it is key for a listed law firm to be able to show that the lawyers and external stakeholders can co-exist for mutual benefit. This is not a given, but it is little surprise that the three companies addressing this theme are doing well: Gateley has always had a corporate culture, prior to converting to a company; Keystone has a transparent and fixed remuneration structure which removes all arguments; and Knights “corporatized” some seven years ago.
It remains the case that the legal sector represents a vast area of commercial activity that is largely absent from the public capital markets. It is our view that the niche specialist firms, that have embraced the corporate structure and businesses addressing new ways of offering legal services, are more likely to find a receptive audience.
Speakers at our conference were:
- Burford Capital, Christopher Bogart (CEO and Joint Founder)
- Elevate, John Croft (President and Co-founder)
- Gateley, Michael Ward (Chief Executive Officer)
- Keystone Law, James Knight (Founder and CEO)
- Knights Group, David Beech (Chief Executive Officer)
- Luminance, Emily Foges (Chief Executive Officer)
- M J Hudson, Matthew Hudson (CEO and Founder)
- Manolete Partners, Steven Cooklin (Chief Executive Officer)
- Rosenblatt Group, Nicola Foulston (Chief Executive)
For more information about our Listed Law Conference, or any of our other events, please email our events team or call +44 (0)20 7496 3000.