Law firms cosy up to UK fintech community

Law firms cosy up to UK fintech community

Top law firm Slaughter and May is to give five fintech startups free legal services worth tens of thousands of pounds. Meanwhile, another law firm, Simmons & Simmons, is launching a fintech and regtech student support programme with London's Queen Mary University.

Simmons & Simmons and Slaughter and May are both keen to woo members of London's vibrant fintech scene, building relationships that could one day yield valuable business.

Late last year Slaughter and May opened the doors to its first Fintech Fast Forward programme, inviting applications from startups in areas such as insurtech, regtech, datatech and distributed ledger technology.

Over 25 firms applied, seeking £30,000 of value add services such as legal advice and guidance from experts at the firm, access to model legal documentation, as well as network access and tailored one-to-one coaching on topics such as pitching, presentations, people management, communications and negotiation.

Now, five have been picked: Regtech outfit Enforcd; small biz banking app Tide; cybersecurity firm Garrison; car insurance provider Just Miles; and money transfer service WorldRemit.

Rob Sumroy, partner, Slaughter and May, says: "The quality of applications we received highlights the creativity, diversity and underlying strength of the UK’s thriving SME technology sector."

Meanwhile, Simmons & Simmons has teamed up with the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS), Queen Mary University on a student support programme specifically working on fintech and regtech.

The firm argues that while fintech is expected to result in substantial disruption to many areas of banking, the law and legal implications have not been subject to any dedicated meaningful examination.

"It is hoped that this new academic and professional collaborative arrangement can assist correct this core learning and knowledge gap for the benefit and advantage of everyone involved," says a statement.

This is not Simmons & Simmons' first fintech move, last year it set aside £100,000 a year to provide free legal advice to three or four young companies in the sector.

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