Temple Bright further expands professionals practice to become ‘adviser to the advisers’

Bristol and London law firm Temple Bright has continued to grow its South West construction practice with a number of appointments to advise other professional firms including architects, landscape architects, interior designers, planning consultants, surveyors and project managers.

The move reflects a more general and growing focus – across the firm’s 16 commercial practice areas – of advising other professional firms.

Construction partner Julia Davenport-Cooper has been developing this emphasis for the past three years and has established a wide-ranging client base of fellow construction professionals.

Early appointments included architects ECE Westworks, interior designers Studio Cwtch and planning consultants Planning Ventures.

More recently Temple Bright has been instructed by several firms including Bristol-based architecture practice Alec French, a longstanding friend of the firm, and building surveyors and project managers Rund Partnership.

As a result of a recommendation by ECE, Temple Bright has also been advising the new Bristol studio of Australian-headquartered landscape architect McGregor Coxall.

Julia said: “We are delighted to have continued to expand our construction professionals practice in Bristol and beyond.

“Such relationships are the backbone of a practice such as mine, as fellow professionals are valuable partners on transactions and referrers and recipients of business.

“It is a real privilege when one is also able to advise them as clients and therefore to add value directly to their business.

“The nature of Temple Bright’s involvement varies from case to case, but two areas in which construction professionals commonly seek our advice are the drafting or updating of their own terms of business, and bespoke appointment reviews particularly where funders are involved on a development.”

She said the firm had a lot of experience in both these areas and could efficiently produce documents tailored to clients’ commercial needs but also, increasingly important in the current market, the needs of their insurers.

“With Grenfell, Brexit and now Covid, the impact on practices can be profound and the insurance market has definitely hardened,” Julia added.

“Often PI cover is simultaneously more expensive and less extensive than previously – both of which are a concern for our clients. These are uncertain times and we are keen to support our clients to help them manage the risks their businesses face.

“Temple Bright is developing a promising niche as ‘adviser to the advisers’ more generally. Our strength here derives from our streamlined tech-driven business model with the promise of experienced lawyers and no delegation.

“We can offer a service which combines extensive experience with pragmatism and speed of response – just what construction professionals want.”

Temple Bright also acts for a growing number of professional firms in other sectors. Co-founder Tim Summers said: “We are flourishing in construction, as Julia’s recent appointments show, and also in financial services and other professions.

“In fact, we are especially popular as a sub-contractor to other solicitors’ firms, including some high-profile names in the South West and London.

“This can arise for different reasons. It may be our ability to offer a senior lawyer on a flexible basis, as cover during an extended absence for instance, but these days it is occurring more and more because of the sheer breadth of our practice.

“We now cover 16 commercial areas including several which are niche, ‘big firm’ type specialties. Smaller firms generally want to give their clients a seamless service, but they may not handle areas such as construction, banking, planning, tax, competition or insolvency that often come up on deals and disputes.

“So instead of sending clients to a big firm that does everything, and risk losing such clients, they can appoint Temple Bright and in effect add one of our partners to their team. That means they can offer a one-stop shop and retain the client’s loyalty.”

Temple Bright was launched in Bristol in 2010, initially advising entrepreneurs and SMEs in the South West.

In 2013 it opened a London office just north of the City in Shoreditch with an initial focus on technology work.

The firm now has 75 partners handling a full range of commercial practice areas and a client list extending to listed companies, public sector bodies, schools and charities alongside a continuing large SME base.

This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 19 February 2021.