Jonathan himself qualified as a solicitor in 2006 after having been sponsored by, and trained at, the leading international City law firm Clyde & Co. He then worked in the City for a few more years before joining a regional firm in 2009 when he started to work almost exclusively for owner managed small business clients.
The Jonathan Lea Network was launched at the start of 2013 as a law blog and legal consultancy providing corporate and commercial legal services to both law firms and clients directly through Jonathan’s service company. It was set up because Jonathan always wanted to run his own law practice and his years spent working at both big and small law firms combined with an interest in technology meant he could see more and more ways that things could be done better.
We started with no capital and Jonathan working from a laptop in a one bedroom flat near Peckham for the first year of trading. We have been cash flow positive and profitable from day one, carefully reinvesting in the business as we go along. Not being able to afford to set up and start trading as a SRA regulated firm from the start, instead Jonathan (and from 2017 his company’s employees as well) operated under the insurance and regulatory umbrella of another law firm made up of self-employed solicitors working remotely pursuant to a fee share consultancy arrangement.
Since the start we’ve built an on demand team of trusted self-employed lawyers we can rely on and grown a loyal client base both throughout the UK and around the world. Being able to generate decent work from our website and with meetings becoming an increasing rarity, at the beginning of 2015 Jonathan moved out of London to base himself in Mid-Sussex (a relatively low cost place to operate a business from, but also well connected).
Regarding the website itself, we continue to get some great feedback for the content we publish which the last time we checked attracts over 300,000 page views a year. In June 2019 we launched an e-commerce store for legal template documents and guidelines so that we can share more of our know how with a wider customer base and generate some passive income in exchange.
Since we started we have acted for over 500 clients, although we have also successfully referred many more matters to other solicitors, barristers, accountants and other professionals.
After Jonathan finally moved into an office in October 2017 and started to employ people our turnover eventually tripled over the course of 2018 and increased more than six fold over the period from October 2017 to August 2019. In April 2019 we finally became a stand-alone and independently regulated law firm and moved to a bigger office. Being a regulated law firm allows us to offer paralegals a training contract so they can qualify as solicitors with us, directly hire solicitors on both an employed and self-employed basis, create our own systems and processes and keep and re-invest more of the income we generate.
In 2020 we continue to grow our retained team of fee earners and administrative staff in Haywards Heath, as well as our wider network of specialist and experienced self-employed solicitors who work seamlessly with the retained team, albeit on a remote and flexible basis. We believe this is the optimum way to deliver cost effective and value added legal services.
Why ‘The Jonathan Lea Network’?
Jonathan was struggling to think of a name, but wanted something original and authentic so seeing that business ultimately boils down to individuals and the quality and quantity of their relationships (with employees, contractors, suppliers, clients and anyone else) and network he chose the eponymous ‘The Jonathan Lea Network’. The ‘name is on the door’ as it were and this reflects an ambition to create a highly trusted and enduring brand which the founder doesn’t ever intend to walk away from. Plus the name is a little novel for a law firm (e.g. something like ‘Lea Associates’ wasn’t chosen) which is meant to indicate that we are unafraid to be original and try to do things in a different, better way where possible.
The name also ultimately reflects a belief that business is about cultivating relationships, connecting with people and building networks rather than looking for work per se. Jonathan was an early adopter of the main social media platforms and has since become known as one of the most connected lawyers in the world. This has allowed Jonathan to find and follow the best people, access their insight and know how and leverage the strength of his relationships to attract work, solve problems and add value.
Also, over the years we have built up a network of trusted self-employed lawyers and small law firms we work with, or refer work to, who have different specialisms and are experienced at meeting the demands of small businesses and entrepreneurs. Our name is therefore meant to signify that we aim to help people in the best way possible by not only being able to work with a wider network of self employed solicitors under our SRA insurance and regulatory umbrella, but also by connecting clients to experts (lawyers or otherwise) outside of our firm if we believe they are better placed to assist and are more likely to obtain a successful outcome.