Tech deals drive Temple Bright’s national ambition

Innovative Bristol law firm Temple Bright has rounded off a period of strong growth by delivering another significant tech sector deal in the same quarter that its partner numbers topped 20 for the first time.

The firm opened in Bristol in 2010 and launched an office in London’s Tech City district early last year. Now the London base has six partners – all joining from leading City firms – to add to Temple Bright’s 15 Bristol partners. The firm’s Tech City initiative is led by co-founder Tim Summers, who divides his time between London and Bristol.

The latest tech deal was overseen by Temple Bright corporate partner James Vickerman. He supported Blenheim Chalcot, an investment management group that specialises in technology-driven investments, on its purchase of the financial technology portal Bobsguide from a UK subsidiary of the US-based Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). AFP was advised by international law firm Taylor Wessing.

James said: “This is a great opportunity for Blenheim Chalcot. Tech and financial services businesses lie at the heart of its business portfolio and Bobsguide will benefit from the experience and expertise within its operation.”

In September last year James completed another media and tech-related deal, supporting the acquisition of London app and web developer Red C by Buckinghamshire brand engagement agency FM Group.

Temple Bright developed its tech sector expertise among the digital communities of Bristol, particularly by advising startups involved in the city’s SETsquared incubator. The firm operates what it calls a “chambers practice” – a solicitors’ firm structured like a barristers’ chambers – meaning that it can promise exclusively senior lawyers and fixed fees. Efficiency is increased through web-based technology. The popularity of this approach in Bristol’s tech scene led the co-founders towards the London Tech City launch early last year.

Temple Bright co-founder Justyn McIlhinney said: “After our rapid growth in Bristol, with an increasing tech focus, expanding the reach of the service to London always made perfect sense – for us as a firm and for our clients.

“With six lawyers established now for us in Shoreditch, plus 15 here in Bristol, 2014 already has the makings of a busy year. The 21 of us are very much a team that’s spread across sister sites: for example, we are finding we can cross-fertilise certain tech opportunities and ideas across the two offices to help clients in new ways.”

Tim Summers was recently appointed a mentor at the prestigious fintech accelerator Level39 in Canary Wharf. It’s a role that sits well alongside the firm’s established tech reputation in Bristol, mainly gained through working with SETsquared and its companies. The firm has also just won a coveted place on the panel of advisers at the Wayra Academy in the West End, alongside major league national players Taylor Wessing, Wragge & Co, Mishcon de Reya and Nabarro.

Tim said: “The way things are moving for us so quickly in tech is exciting. Bristol is strong in all things digital and London is a world-leading force, in fintech in particular. Our own fresh approach makes us potentially as disruptive, in our own sector, as many young technology companies are in theirs. Through our tech-enabled innovation and two strategic locations, we think we’re now well positioned to become the firm of choice for ambitious digital businesses in the UK.”

This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 17 January 2014.