A tech entrepreneurs’ forum set up by the co-founder of lastminute.com has taken a significant minority stake in a law firm that specialises in acting for fintech clients.
Chronos Law, which offers outsourced in-house teams to companies, is to rebrand as Founders Law in the wake of the investment by Founders Forum Group, whose co-founder, Brett Hoberman, was chief executive of lastminute.com from its launch in 1998 to $1.1bn sale in 2005.
Set up the same year, Founders Forum initially sought to create a peer-to-peer European entrepreneur networks to rival those that existed in Silicon Valley but has since expanded into a family of businesses that champion founders via education, investment and professional services, with Chronos Law marking its first foray into legal services.
Chronos was launched in 2019 by fintech specialist and IT lawyer Tom Bohills as a sole practitioner, and until very recently operated entirely virtually.
But Mr Bohills told Legal Futures that requests from associates meant he has opened an office in London for those who want to work there as and when they want.
It currently has 23 people and Mr Bohills said he expected this to double over the next 12-18 months, enabled by the investment.
Staff will continue to receive quarterly profit shares, no billing targets and complete choice of working from home or office.
Chronos provides clients with a minimum of two named lawyers – one senior and one junior, as well as a paralegal – who become their legal team, using the client’s email addresses, Slack channels and so on. The firm offers flexible fee models that does not bind clients into lengthy contracts.
Though remaining independent with its own client base, the firm will be positioned to provide services to the high-growth tech scaleups in the Founders Forum network.
Mr Bohills qualified at White & Case and was head of legal at fintech company Red Deer before launching Chronos. He said: “Most tech businesses require flexible legal services that don’t fit the traditional law firm model. I designed the firm to scale with the ambitious start-ups we support.
“This new investment will enable us to further recruit and satisfy the growing demand from the tech sector and its need for a new way to access legal advice.”
Fellow director James Croyston added: “We had been discussing the firm’s options for future growth and the investment from Founders Forum made the most sense to us; being true to our business model which is to operate to the benefit of our clients, and to provide a new way for lawyers to work and profit share.”
Mr Hoberman, who is executive chairman of the Founders Forum Group: “Tom and his team have built a unique legal practice that’s sensitive to the needs of scaling founders.
“Their knowledge of the tech ecosystem combined with their agile approach to legal services make them the ideal legal partner. They truly embed themselves in the businesses they support, empowering founders to grow and protect their ideas.”
Carolyn Dawson, chief executive of Founders Forum Group, added: “The launch of Founders Law takes us one step closer to providing a full suite of professional services to our global community of ground-breaking entrepreneurs.”
Chronos’s alternative business structure licence is pending approval by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.