Thursday 17 January 2013 by John Hyde
A team of non-solicitors with financial support from the founder of betting exchange website Betfair has announced its arrival into the legal market.
Former Minster Law chief executive Matthew Briggs (pictured) and one-time BSkyB director Jeremy Fenn will be joint managers of Leeds-based Brilliant Law.
The firm, which will work on a corporate rather than partnership structure, will offer a fixed-fee service to small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups and was approved as an alternative business structure last month.
Briggs said his management team, which includes the former We Buy Any Car marketing director Paul Coulter and ex-Sky director John Swingewood, represents the first true 'pure-bred ABS start-up' since the Legal Services Act came into force.
Gambling entrepreneur Bert Black, who became a multi-millionaire through the betting exchange Betfair, is believed to have invested a seven-figure sum into the firm.
Fenn, who spent three years as managing director of Leeds United Football Club in the 1990s, was chief executive of Sports Internet plc when it was sold to BSkyB in July 2000 for £300m.
'The firm is headed by a team renowned for challenging the markets within which they operate', said Briggs.
'[Bert] has disrupted the gaming sector and has always had a view on legal services that they could and should be delivered in a more consumer-centric way.
'This firm is founded by non-lawyers which is a radically different scenario to other law firms. That brings with it innovation and a commercial appreciation but also mechanisms to market ourselves differently.'
Briggs, who began his career in the offshore and motor sectors before becoming chief executive at Minster Law, said the firm currently employs five solicitors and six support staff. The aim is to be employing up to 400 people within three years.
Briggs will seek further external investment in the third quarter of 2013 and has not ruled out Brilliant Law floating on the stock exchange in the future.
The firm will offer clients a package of legal services for a fixed fee, which can include advice on employment, non-contentious shareholder agreements, company formation and dispute resolution.