Leading barristers and technology executives launch innovative online legal platform for businesses


A group of senior barristers and QCs have joined forces with former Orange plc executives to address a big problem many businesses are faced with.  They’ve launched an online platform to empower businesses to fulfil most of their own legal needs – significantly reducing both their legal costs and risk.

Many of the UK’s five million businesses currently spend thousands each year in legal fees, often for routine legal advice and drafting in relation to employment, debt collection, basic corporate governance, business terms and fundraising. Business managers are also increasingly ‘Googling’ answers as they struggle with the quantity and complexity of new legislation directly affecting their day-to-day business requirements without being sure whether they can trust the resources they find.

To solve these problems, the group of influential barristers and experienced business executives have launched Sparqa Legal. The online platform gives business owners and managers expert legal and business guidance in easily digestible Q&A format and also auto-generates tailored legal documents at the click of a button.

Sparqa Legal’s service covers areas of law most encountered by start-ups, SMEs and larger businesses from directors’ duties, HR and intellectual property to GDPR and data protection. The service allows users to access relevant and up-to-date information and to produce accurate contracts in minutes. The legal guidance and documents are written by leading barristers and solicitors and peer-reviewed giving customers the confidence they need to trust and use the service in everyday situations.

Sparqa Legal’s customers pay a low monthly subscription of £25. Early adopters of Sparqa Legal include a large number of start-ups and SMEs as well as larger corporates including some FTSE 100 companies.

The founding team have a successful track record in the legal technology industry having previously launched FromCounsel, the corporate law knowledge service relied on by many of the leading City law firms.

Andrew Thornton, CEO of Sparqa Legal and barrister at Erskine Chambers said: “It’s important that businesses safely navigate themselves through the legal obligations relevant to them. At Sparqa Legal, we passionately believe that armed with the right tools and resources smart business managers can produce many of the simple legal documents they require and ascertain their rights, obligations and best course to take without the need to interact with a human lawyer. Sparqa Legal has attracted talented lawyers from some of the UK’s best law firms and barristers’ chambers to help us pursue that vision.”

Mark Paterson, Chair of Sparqa Legal and former General Counsel of Orange plc and Chair of SwiftKey (the predictive keyboard company acquired by Microsoft in 2016), said: “The legal industry is modernising rapidly. Technology enables businesses to access legal resources from expert lawyers at a fraction of the cost of the traditional legal model. I’m excited about the opportunity Sparqa Legal offers both to in-house legal teams and business owners and managers.”

SUPPORTING INFORMATION:

Key People:

  • Andrew Thornton, Founder & CEO – Barrister at Erskine Chambers, Founder of CPDcast (acquired by Informa plc in 2010), non-executive director & seed investor of SwiftKey (acquired by Microsoft in 2016). Founder & CEO of FromCounsel & Juriosity
  • Mark Paterson, Chair – Previously General Counsel of Orange plc & Chair of SwiftKey. Mark currently serves as Chair of Blink, FromCounsel and Juriosity
  • Michael Todd QC, Board Advisor – Legal –Michael is head of Erskine Chambers. Former Chair of the Bar of England & Wales
  • Richard Brennan, Board Advisor – Commercial & Marketing – Part of the Founding Executive Management Team of Orange plc. Held Board positions with Mobistar, GSMA CEO Board, and was Chair for Wildfire and seed investor in SwiftKey. Chair of Viewranger. Seasoned Angel Investor across Europe.

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