Alice Stephenson: Founded in 2017, Stephenson Law Is on a Mission To Support Fast-growth Businesses From Idea to Exit

August 7, 2022

Founded in 2017, Stephenson Law is on a mission to support fast-growth businesses from idea to exit. And yet, our mission goes further than that.

As a firm founded within an industry renowned for its jargon, stuffiness, and expense, the business is driven to empower lawyers to challenge the status quo – bettering the industry in the process.

In action, that looks like jargon-free legal support, cost-effective subscription services for our clients, and a team of lawyers who are supported to be the full version of who they are.

You won’t find any suits here, but you will find an appetite for innovation, creativity, and a new way of doing things.

Tell us about yourself?

My journey into law was a complex one. At 17 I sat through my A Levels heavily pregnant. By the time I was 18 I was a single mother without much support, with very little else on my mind other than surviving.

As you can imagine, I didn’t take the traditional route into law. I bounced between HR, I founded and shuttered a few businesses, and eventually, I found my way into the legal industry.

It was tough, but perhaps what was tougher was realising that the legal industry wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. Fortunately, this realisation ultimately led to me founding Stephenson Law in 2017, which has brought me to where I am today.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Hindsight is 20/20 and every year I have an endless stream of things I wish I could tell my past self, but, ultimately it’s our mistakes that allow us to grow.

A year or two ago we were facing different challenges than we are now. We were beginning to come out of the pandemic, we were scaling our team, and we were moving from the startup stage into the scaleup stage.

A challenge I perhaps didn’t see at the time was our desire to provide legal support across a broad spectrum, not realising that it made it very difficult for us to focus on core offerings.

We were growing a number of pillars, like dispute resolution for example, which inadvertently stretched us quite thin. We’ve since really honed in on our expertise, and provide predominantly fast-growth tech businesses with the legal solutions they need to go further.

What problem does your business solve?

Client-side, we provide businesses with the legal expertise they need to see their ideas go further – with the knowledge that we’re shielding them from legal risk.

For our lawyers and our industry, we’re showcasing a different way of being a lawyer in the modern age. We’re a full-remote firm that puts our people at the forefront of what we do. We’re untraditional, we’re tattooed, we sport shock-pink hair-dos, and we say it how it is.

The standard of suit your lawyer wears doesn’t make them better at what they do – but their character certainly will.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

When I founded Stephenson Law, I’m going to be honest, it was my last attempt at making life as a lawyer work for me.

I felt pegged in by the traditions of the industry and found it impossible to find a place that really felt like home. And so, I built my own home within the law, with the understanding that this was my last hope.

I wanted to build a business where working mothers could thrive, expressive lawyers could grow, and the image of a lawyer could begin to step away from the stereotype of a stern middle-class white male.

I also wanted to provide clients with a service that didn’t belong in the dark ages. No more fax machines, no more prolonged processes, and no more legalese.

What is your magic sauce?

Honestly? We’re authentic in what we do. We don’t just say we want to do things differently, we actually do it.

We’re staunch believers in innovation, so much so that in 2021 we won an Innovate UK grant to create an AI-based legal chatbot designed to equip early-stage founders with support.

We’re passionate about LegalTech and efficiency, which led to us creating our own in-house onboarding platform that cuts weeks of paperwork into a simple, quick, and easy process.

We’re driven to empower our team to challenge the status quo, which is why we prioritise fully remote working, flexible hours, paid training, mental health support, and much more.

It’s easier said than done to challenge the legal industry, which is why it’s so crucial you actually follow through with what you set out to do.

I think that commitment to constantly push the boundaries of this industry for the better, really sets us apart from the crowd.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We’ve just hit our fifth birthday this year and as you can imagine, we have quite a few plans in mind for the next five years. While I can’t divulge the lot, I can say that we intend to grow our teams, further develop our markets – particularly in the emerging technologies space – and continue to be a force for change within the industry.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Getting to where I am today was the result of facing challenge after challenge, so it’s hard to pinpoint one challenge in particular. There were many points that seemed insurmountable but I’m so glad I persevered. Getting here took a lot of grit, a lot of hard work, and a lot of dedication. I worked a host of jobs, set up businesses, watched them fail, and tried again.

I juggled life as a single mum with academic study, I fought tooth and nail to secure a training contract, and I slowly but surely worked my way to today. It certainly didn’t happen overnight and it’s a testament to the importance of taking life one step at a time.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

One of the best things about running this business is the people and clients we get to meet. We’ve been lucky enough to support game-changing innovators right up to household names, and we’ve also been fortunate to work with some incredible talent in this space.

Personally, I’d love the opportunity to keep speaking with those game-changers, those status quo defiers, and those who believe in a more innovative future.

For businesses who’d like to learn how we can help them go further, you can learn more about us here. For lawyers who are eager to join the conversation around evolving this industry, you can also follow me here.

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