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Specialist legal advice for start-ups and new businesses

Getting a start-up or new business off the ground can be a thrilling adventure – but it can also create a to-do list that leaves you with no time to think about anything else. And if this is your first business, it can be a struggle to work out what kind of legal advice and support will help you achieve your ambitions.

Our lawyers work with new businesses and start-ups (including tech ventures) to identify their legal priorities. We can help you establish strong legal foundations whilst managing your cash flow efficiently by focusing our efforts on what’s most important to you. We will always be clear about how much our legal advice will cost, allowing you to plan and get the most out of your relationship with us. Our advice will be in plain English and take into consideration the market in which you are operating.

Working with a lawyer who specialises in advising start-ups, who is responsive to your needs and takes time to understand your goals can make a real difference to the long-term success of your business. As a full-service law firm, we can draw on expertise from across Clarke Willmott to provide you with all the legal advice your start up or new business needs from the initial spark all the way through its lifecycle.

Your free new business healthcheck

Our legal healthcheck tool is designed to help start-ups and new businesses put in place the best possible building blocks for future success. This self-assessment takes a couple of minutes to complete and, once completed you will receive your free healthcheck report.

Begin your self-assessment

How our legal services for start-ups can help you

Structuring your start-up or business

Carefully considering your options and putting in place the right legal structure and protection for a new business is essential for smooth sailing in the future.

Our corporate expertise includes:

  • Explaining your options for structuring your business and clarify roles and legal responsibilities
  • Advising on company or partnership formation
  • Reviewing funding options and investment agreements, including private equity transactions
  • Drafting and negotiating shareholder and joint venture agreements
  • Ensuring that the commercial agreements you have in place are fit for purpose, including terms and conditions, distribution agreements, outsourcing agreements and a wider range of supplier contracts.

Advising on intellectual property and technology

It’s important to protect your ideas and the technology that your firm is using and make use of them to optimise your business strategy. Our team gives specialist advice across the entire spectrum of intellectual property and technology law, including contentious matters.

Our experti includes:

  • The full spectrum of other intellectual property rights, including patents, design rights and copyright
  • Carrying out clearance searches confirming that your chosen company name and trade mark aren’t too close to those of another company before you register them
  • Filing trade marks and registered designs on your behalf
  • full range of other ICT issues including outsourcing, managed service provision, website design and development, offshore software development and app agreements
  • Data protection and data security advice, including training, GDPR compliance and data breaches

Securing the right premises

Choosing the properties from which your business will operate is a big financial commitment, especially as a start-up or new business whose future is still being formed. Whether you will buy or lease your commercial property, our solicitors can work with you to ensure that the properties you commit to will provide the secure base that your business needs to flourish.

Our expertise includes:

  • Acquisition and any required development or redevelopment of premises
  • Negotiation of lease (including advice on rent review and break clauses) and any required licences, rent deposit deed and guarantees)
  • Any future transfer or assignment of whole or part of the premises

Advising on all aspects of employment and HR

Hiring your first employee can feel like a big step. As your business and workforce grows, you will need more than a simple employment contract. Our specialist employment solicitors and HR consultants can help you put in place everything you need to protect your people and your business, and to ensure you re legally compliant.

Our expertise includes:

  • Hiring new employees and drafting employment and consultancy agreements
  • Making board level appointments
  • Drafting and advising on implementing HR policies
  • Dealing with employee disputes
  • Creating staff handbooks
  • GDPR compliance and data protection

Protecting your wealth and business

As an entrepreneur or new business owner, it is important to get your personal affairs in order. Our private wealth specialists can help you draft or update your will, put in place power of attorneys and make plans for what should happen to your business should you die unexpectedly or become incapacitated.

Contact a solicitor now for legal advice

For a free, no-obligation chat, request a call back or contact one of our specialist lawyers for advice on a start-up or new business.

Clarke Willmott has offices in BirminghamBristolCardiffLondonManchesterSouthampton and Taunton.

Your key contacts

Ed Foulkes

Partner, National Head of Corporate team

Ed is a ‘pragmatic and practical’ corporate lawyer dealing primarily with mergers and acquisitions. He has specialisms in the financial services, fintech and professional advisory sectors.
View profile for Ed Foulkes >

Sarah Coe


Bristol and London
Sarah is a Partner in the Corporate Commercial team, specialising in commercial, intellectual property, and technology law. Her work covers the full range of contractual and e-commerce issues relevant to businesses seeking to enter new markets or exploit new technology.
View profile for Sarah Coe >

Tom Potts


Tom advises at all stages of the business cycle, including company incorporations and reorganisations, shareholders’ agreements, acquisitions and disposals and fund-raisings.
View profile for Tom Potts >

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