For most of us the very words ‘legal fees’ are enough to bring us out in a cold sweat with visions of our hard earned income washing away in a sea of legalese. But as businesses in all sectors across the South East are learning, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Renowned for turning the legal industry on its head and scrapping hourly rates for all non-contentious matters, ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW has taken Sussex by storm with their watchwords of innovation, revolution and accessibility.
The first, and currently the only law firm in the Manor Royal business district, the firm works on revolutionising the way legal services are delivered and has a reputation for being approachable and giving unpretentious expert legal advice.
With countless local business awards, the firm is listed in the Financial Times’ Top 50 Groundbreaking & Innovative Law Firms in the UK and Europe and in its infancy was voted a UK Rising Star by the Observer.
So what is it that sets this law firm apart from the competition? Well, in a word, everything! The firm was founded by Penina Shepherd, who began her career in sales before channelling her energy into the law. Cutting her teeth in some of the top law firms in the country, she rejected the restraints of
the corporate hierarchy and ‘open cheque book’ approach used by traditional law firms; but it was this very disenchantment that inspired her to leave and set up her own organisation, doing things differently.
Penina’s dynamism is an almost tangible force and shines through in the culture she has developed at ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW. The firm has a unique DNA that sets it apart from most businesses, not to mention other law firms. Central to this culture is that the firm is run as a collective; at weekly
team meetings every voice in the room is heard, opinions on all aspects of the business are encouraged and contributions are judged on merit, not seniority.
It’s this culture of inclusion and engagement with the business community that has driven the innovation for which ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW is so justly famous, and which has revolutionised the way we expect a law firm to engage with the community. Of course, innovation – like money – never sleeps and the team at Acumen have been busy adding more strings to their bow.
February 2015 saw the launch of the ACUMEN BUSINESSS ACADEMY, a high-level platform for business & legal training sessions to the Gatwick Business Community, providing training in all business specialisms, delivered through holistic training forums by business experts with a proven record of expertise for business. The sessions provide an opportunity to discuss business matters with other local community businesses and are rapidly taking their place as ‘must attend’ events in the area.
Recognising that so many businesses have a need for regular, accessible legal advice, the Penina’s Perspective series of 3-4 minute video blogs were created, full of useful, legal business tips. These were launched via Penina’s own site www.penina.biz, which capitalises on the strength of the Acumen founder’s personal brand and a long history of successful offerings to the wider business community.
On the 3rd June 2015 the ACUMEN BUSINESS CONVENTION is being held at the Grand in Brighton. The 2015 Convention will have Tim Smit (Founder of Eden Project), Jo Fairley (Founder of Green & Blacks Chocolate) and Darren Shirlaw (CEO of the international business coaching company Shirlaws) combined with interactive seminars, networking with top decision makers – all served up with the ‘Acumen magic touch’ and ‘wow factors’ throughout the day.
The ACUMEN BUSINESS CLUB, now in its sixth year, is a private business club limited to 50 members who may join by invitation only and who are subject to qualification criteria. The reasoning behind such exclusivity is to ensure that members feel comfortable sharing their experiences and know that the club offers learning and business development opportunities tailored to their exact requirements.
Of course, being located in Brighton – creative hub of the South – the firm is careful to ensure its extra-curricular activities offer something for everyone, not just the senior management within a business.
Acumedia, run by the firm’s Media Department, taps into the city’s prominent crowd of media professionals – from actors and musicians to label owners, producers and agents – and provides a unique forum, bringing together talented artists and influential professionals. Sessions provide not only the networking opportunities and presentations you would expect, but tap into this sector’s expertise and feature a gig promoting the talents of one member each time.
Specialising purely in business law and advising only business clients it is inevitable that employment law, and the everyday challenges faced by their clients in this respect, forms a large amount of the work the firm undertakes. Contracts, disputes, credit control, share schemes, negotiations, compromise agreements – a minefield for the unwary or inexperienced.
Acumentor, ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW’s on and offline Employers’ forum enables its members to discuss and find solutions to challenges regularly faced by employers and it was feedback from this forum that highlighted a need among the firm’s clients for qualified input at board level on the employment law implications of strategic decisions.
To answer this need the firm created a variety of outsourced services in the form of a Legal Director Scheme, providing clients with access to their own Legal or HR Director for a fixed monthly fee. The benefits of this scheme are obvious; superior advice, guidance and legal expertise from fully qualified lawyers for use as and when required. As their website says, you’ll be glad they’re on your side!