Temple Bright makes its mark with first Tech City deal

Innovative law firm Temple Bright has delivered the first significant deal out of its new London office in the high-growth Tech City area of Shoreditch.

Fittingly, it is a tech-driven transaction: brand engagement agency FM Group has acquired the Shoreditch app and web developer Red C for an undisclosed sum.

The deal enables FM Group to bring its app development in house, which will give it more control of projects and broaden its agency offer.

The deal marks Temple Bright’s arrival in Tech City as a law firm that makes disruptive use of technology in the same way as tech startups in the area.

Established in Bristol in 2010, the firm operates a groundbreaking “chambers practice” business model, involving a team of exclusively senior solicitors who have joined from leading commercial firms.

Co-founder Tim Summers said: “After six months on the ground in Shoreditch, Temple Bright is bedding in as part of the area’s vibrant business community, and this deal points the way ahead for us. There are lots of opportunities in the Tech City ecosystem for the smartest and most agile businesses. That’s just what FM Group and Red C have shown, and we’ve helped them make it happen as quickly as possible. Now they can get on with the next phase of growth.”

Temple Bright corporate and commercial partner James Vickerman handled all the legals for Red C, including a pre-sale hive out of Appshed Ltd from the Red C group to ensure that FM Group’s cash-and-shares deal acquired those parts of the Red C group that fit best with its business.

He said: “It’s a great deal for both sides. In all, it took 15 months for FM Group to find Red C and for the two of them to make it happen, but the timing has been perfect. There is also a strong fit between Red C’s and FM Group’s respective clients.”

Temple Bright first gained a reputation in the technology community in Bristol when advising startups involved in that city’s SETsquared incubator. The popularity of the firm’s partner-only, fixed-fee approach with these companies led the co-founders to consider a London move.

“After three years of rapid growth in Bristol, with an increasing tech focus, establishing a London base was inevitable,” said co-founder Justyn McIlhinney. “We chose Shoreditch because of the growing tech startup population and the general creative ethos of the area. However it’s also close to the City, so it’s well located for larger clients wishing to try a streamlined alternative to the City law firms, or indeed lawyers wanting to jump ship and join us.”

Having been open for business on Rivington Street in EC2 since March, the firm will soon have five ex-City lawyers working in the London office to complement 15 partners based in Bristol.

This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 27 September 2013.