Digital law firm arch.law has announced a “strategic investment” in Connectd, a platform linking the founders of start-ups, investors and advisers.
Former DWF boss Andrew Leaitherland, who founded arch.law in 2020, also said the firm was looking to expand internationally from the UK and Australia to Singapore, the Middle East and North America.
Connectd provides an online “ecosystem” which aims to remove the “friction that hinders growth” for start-up founders by linking them with investors and advisers by using “smart matching technology”.
Mr Leaitherland said that, as well as the investment in Connectd, arch.law had partnered with the platform to create ConnectdLegal, which helps start-ups with essential legal documents.
If they needed help beyond the standard templates, they could access legal advice from lawyers by becoming standalone clients of arch.law, who would charge them wherever possible on a fixed-fee basis.
Mr Leaitherland said: “You can build everything under one roof, but sometimes it’s easier to work with other people who are good at what they do.
“This is very much targeted at founders of start-ups and SMEs. They can’t afford high hourly rates.
“We’re here to support them on their journey and very much hope we can take them all the way.”
He described Connectd as primarily based in the UK but said it was looking to expand into Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Mr Leaitherland said arch.law was also keen to expand internationally, particularly to Singapore, Dubai, the rest of the Middle East and North America.
The firm announced the purchase of Australia’s Nexus Law Group in December last year. Like arch.law, Nexus was a dispersed firm, with 15 lawyers based across Australia.
Mr Leaitherland said his strategy for arch.law was to combine the “best-quality lawyers with the best-quality technology on an international basis”.
Having spent “a lot” of his time at DWF on international expansion, he had a “good network and routes of entry” for arch.law to operate on that level.
Expanding internationally did not mean acquiring expensive foreign offices, as the vast majority of legal work carried by arch.law was done at home, backed by “collaboration hubs” taken out on short-term leases or the use of co-working spaces.
In April this year, arch.law launched arch.ia (the ‘ia’ standing for investment acquisition) for UK and international investors in UK property.
Mr Leaitherland said his law firm “deconstructed” the process of buying property for investment, studying the “pain points” and finding the best solutions, using the latest technology.
He said arch.ia was just one of a set of specialised services launched this year. For high net-worth individuals buying property as a home there was arch.convey, for those needing help with lawyers’ costs there was arch.costs, and for business owners needing a will but with other documents such as a shareholder’s agreement there was arch.protect.
Meanwhile, arch.recover, to be launched in the next few weeks, will help clients with cash flow problems and recover money they were owed.
Mr Leaitherland said he did not expect the current economic uncertainty to alter arch.law’s strategy, which was based on looking ahead three to five years.
“Law firms are not entirely recession-proof, but they’re a lot more recession-resilient than other kinds of business.”