News & Insight
Welcome to Humphreys Law
by Henry Humphreys
H umphreys Law is up and running. So, here we go: the direction of travel is that electrifying intersection where corporate finance meets technology. New ventures executing on proprietary IP and data science, many rounds of VC funding driving on through the rounds and series, adventures-in-scale into the US and elsewhere; and then selling and buying at exit, only to come full circle to start again with something new.
I spent the last decade advising inspirational founder-teams who have been on the journey with their various companies; and I have stood behind investors of all types who have rolled with the risks to back founders to do-what-they-do; and then I always loved watching the sides convene to negotiate those exits that bring about liquidity, before everyone went their separate ways into new adventures.
I have seen that story play out in London, the US and Hong Kong while at an international firm with a flag in every corner of the world; I have seen it from the corporate perspective on secondment at the ventures teams within two household name media groups; most recently I set up and ran a team doing this at a regional UK law firm. I have had some wonderful colleagues through that journey and have learned a great deal from some excellent lawyers and good people.
And now – very much encouraged and backed by key clients and supporters – the new adventure begins. The plan is very simple: recruit and train a core team of first-class corporate lawyers, and work with and nurture a panel of A-plus specialist IP, data and tax senior consultants to provide a rounded service; outsource anything that is not corporate finance and technology (working with our best-friend-firms from time to time where that suits our clients); and then really focus on using our expertise (and the very-latest software) to help our clients get to where they want to go. And that’s it.
The result should be a cutting-edge team with all the skills and equipment required to deliver first-class solutions-focused advice at all stages of the technology cap table, and at a price point that works for our clients.
In the background, Humphreys Law launches with Brexit in play but hardly yet begun, the EIF pulling funding for UK VC and seed funds being bought out, the government’s patient capital review expected shortly, Google Ventures and just about everybody else unable to decide whether or not we are in a tech bubble and the behemoths of the financial world – still coming to terms with the great crash at the end of the last decade – just starting to take crypto currencies built on the blockchain seriously (or rail against them in some cases, which is probably just the same thing).
How do you engage with that landscape as a law firm? Difficult, but easier now for us – starting tabula rasa – as we start each day putting our clients’ needs first, as we build a flexible infrastructure designed to give our team the best platform possible to succeed. Times of great instability arrive with enormous opportunities, and our working theory is that the law firm built upon the traditional model (below the Magic and Silver Circles perhaps) of covering every base in every jurisdiction in a rigid and slightly techno-phobic fashion is on the way out, both in terms of the appetite of the market to use it and the appetite of the new generations of lawyers to join it.
We – I am joined already by a growing team – are looking forward immensely to the journey ahead. Look out in the weeks to come for news of completed deals, market-insight, new joiners and opportunities to join.
Thank you for your support.