The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
"We're often asked what the 'i' stands for in iLaw," says managing director Justin Ellis. "It doesn't stand for any individual word, but rather represents a number of concepts that are important to us."
Ellis cites an innovative and intelligent business model and service and the firm's core areas of IT and IP.
Whatever the 'i' may stand for, like the iPod the firm has had tremendous resonance with end-users, although it also initially faced some legal wranglings over the name with Irish legal alliance i-Law.
The boutique firm was established in September 2006 by IT partner Bobby Gill and IP litigation senior lawyer Mark Culbert from Osborne Clarke along with IP partner Ellis from DMH Stallard.
Since then Ellis and his colleagues have won between 40 and 50 clients, advised on £600m worth of transactions, billed £500,000, started an international alliance with a top 50 Dutch firm and recruited two senior laterals as counsel, setting up an employment team and acquiring a German-qualified lawyer in the process.
They have budgeted to double their turnover to around the £1m mark in the next year, within three years they plan to have grown to between 20 and 25 lawyers, and within five years to 40.
Underpinning all these plans is a fairly straightforward strategy: undercut significantly the market in price by keeping overheads to a minimum, but nevertheless compete against the mid-range London firms on quality. To that end iLaw offers alternative fee structures and may ask clients to name their price.
With one eye on the Clementi report and another on tax advantages, iLaw was not set up as a partnership, but was incorporated as iLaw Legal Services Limited, explains Ellis.
This also goes hand-in-hand with remuneration structures that are different from traditional partnership models, whereby all fee-earners have the opportunity to be "incentivised and rewarded on the basis of the work they generate", says Ellis. Originally the firm was offering lawyers 50 per cent of all work they billed - an incredible offer.
However, above all Ellis is keen to stress that, although the firm will grow, it intends to keep its "personal touch".
Managing director: Justin Ellis
Turnover: £500,000 Total number of directors: Three
Total number of lawyers: Five
Main practice areas: IT, IP
Key clients: Boltblue International, Care UK, Domino's Pizza, EurotaxGlass's, Goldfish Card Services, Qurius NV, Rufus Leonard, Vodafone Group