The Business Life Cycle

Legal advice that guides you through the different situations you’ll encounter on your journey in business.

Harper James works with start-ups through to established businesses that have been running for years, looking to scale, or ready to sell and often build their next business. Whether you're business is taking it's first steps or has been trading for years, being prepared and informed will help you make decisions quickly and continue moving forward.

Here's our take on some of the challenges you're likely to face.

When you’ve got the big idea

Just had your big idea? First time, fifth time setting up a business?

Your probably thinking about protecting your idea as you start to consider the structure and how to fund your business. You’re wondering who can help and how to approach them.

What an exciting time for your business! Our team, many with a business background themselves, will guide you right from the start. We’ll make sure you have the legal fundamentals in place to get your business off the ground, looking and acting like a ‘proper’ business in no time.


Common challenges
  • Protecting and sharing an idea
  • Handling and securing investment
  • Structuring a business
  • Handling of data
  • Recruiting key hires
  • Business discussions and negotiations

How we can help
  • Intellectual property and brand protection strategy
  • Funding agreements and seed/pre-seed funding support
  • Corporate advice on sole traders, partnerships and limited companies
  • Privacy policies and data protection
  • Employment contracts and policies
  • Commercial agreements and NDAs

Time is focused on getting started

Time to get the ball rolling?

You’re likely getting contracts and policies in place to ensure the company structure is built to grow. Recruitment, director duties and shareholder agreements need locking down.

Getting the ball rolling is maybe the hardest part. Reviewing existing agreements at this stage is key. We’ll guide you through what you need to be aware of as a director, making sure your business is future proofed for growth.


Common challenges
  • Director duties
  • Reviewing agreements and contracts
  • Taking on new premises
  • Recruiting international hires
  • Protecting business and employee interests
  • Handling and securing investment
  • Managing data and compliance

How we can help
  • Corporate governance, regulatory and compliance support
  • Shareholder, funding, investment, T&Cs and building lease agreements
  • Negotiating a lease, change of use or purchase
  • Sponsor licenses
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Investment agreements for VC and seed/pre-seed funding
  • Privacy policies and data protection training

Your team is getting on with it

Wondering how to optimise and protect your ‘business as usual’?

Things are moving forwards and you’re wanting to ensure the fundamentals are in line with the way you see the business shaping. Small disputes and resolutions are likely cropping up.

Business is going well. Money is coming in and out but panic starts to arise as disputes occur. Don’t worry, we have many years of experience in resolving disputes for businesses like yours and can advise you on the most appropriate and cost-effective method for dealing with your conflicts. Rest assured that you’re in safe hands.


Common challenges
  • Employee disagreements
  • Supplier, client or contractor disagreements
  • Growing your team
  • Dealing with data breaches
  • Software licensing

How we can help
  • Employment litigation
  • Dispute resolution
  • Employment contracts, policies and people management
  • Data breach, incident management and GDPR training
  • Commercial technology agreements

When it’s all about scaling up

Fasten your seatbelt… Are you ready to take off?

You’ve got targets in mind and an ambitious vision for the future of the business. You’re structuring for a certain scale, internationalisation and acquisitions or mergers.

We can support your scale-up as you reach new heights, transitioning to a different business setup. Our client list includes brilliant businesses big and small, even some unicorns! Whatever your ambition, we can help you get there.


Common challenges
  • Rapidly growing your workforce
  • Joining an international marketplace
  • Acquiring a bolt-on to provide enhanced services
  • Managing a portfolio of properties
  • Securing additional funding
  • Launching an IPO

How we can help
  • Employment contracts and policies, and outsourcing agreements
  • Contractual considerations, compliance and brand protection
  • Corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisition services
  • Property agreements for all forms of commercial real estate
  • Investment agreements for PE or VC funding, plus financing and lending arrangements
  • Corporate governance, restructuring and compliance support

If you’re looking to exit

Time to move on?

You’re exiting from your current situation which means you’re looking to sell shares, structure deals and ensure a smooth transition for both the company and your own next venture.

At the inception of your exit plans, our lawyers are able to represent your interests, support you in a handover, and ensure the right legals are in place for a smooth exit.


Common challenges
  • Preparing to exit
  • Selling to another business
  • Management or employee takeover
  • Boardroom and shareholder disputes
  • Winding up, insolvency and business recovery

How we can help
  • Corporate governance and compliance
  • Merger and acquisition support from a letter of intent, exclusivity agreement, non-disclosure agreements, to the sale and purchase agreement
  • MBIs, MBOs or employee ownership trusts
  • Resolving any earn-out issues, or problems with shareholders and investors
  • Guidance on the insolvency and corporate recovery processes that best resolve your issues

Testimonials

What our clients say

Harper James provides my small growing business with a scalable, reliable, team-oriented approach to legal advice. Whenever we face a problem, I know that Harper James are there to provide helpful and cost-effective advice, to scope out the options, make clear the costs and risks, and give me the information I need to make decisions.
Bryn Richards CEO, Aeristech
Quick, concise and best of all reasonably priced
Tim Pedley Company Secretary, Biorelate Ltd
Over the years Harper James have helped us navigate complex legal issues and red tape, providing distilled options and legal consultancy that far exceeds the service levels we’ve previously experienced from more traditional law firms. The team act like our own in-house counsel so, regardless of which lawyer we work with, we feel supported and that they truly have our best interests at heart.
Michael Edwards Co-Founder, Inspire Group
I was searching for affordable legal support, and the subscription service allowed me to access legal support when I didn’t think it would be possible. This way I didn’t have to rely on Google! And it’s really important that businesses get the right advice at the start, so they don’t fall short at a later date
Peter Morris Founder and Director, Lockabox
We were very impressed by the efficiency of the service we received. Having strong legal service support in place is vital for any business entering into a funding round.
Alexis Rog Co-founder, Sikoia
Harper James provides my small growing business with a scalable, reliable, team-oriented approach to legal advice. Whenever we face a problem, I know that Harper James are there to provide helpful and cost-effective advice, to scope out the options, make clear the costs and risks, and give me the information I need to make decisions.
Bryn Richards CEO, Aeristech
Quick, concise and best of all reasonably priced
Tim Pedley Company Secretary, Biorelate Ltd
Over the years Harper James have helped us navigate complex legal issues and red tape, providing distilled options and legal consultancy that far exceeds the service levels we’ve previously experienced from more traditional law firms. The team act like our own in-house counsel so, regardless of which lawyer we work with, we feel supported and that they truly have our best interests at heart.
Michael Edwards Co-Founder, Inspire Group
I was searching for affordable legal support, and the subscription service allowed me to access legal support when I didn’t think it would be possible. This way I didn’t have to rely on Google! And it’s really important that businesses get the right advice at the start, so they don’t fall short at a later date
Peter Morris Founder and Director, Lockabox
We were very impressed by the efficiency of the service we received. Having strong legal service support in place is vital for any business entering into a funding round.
Alexis Rog Co-founder, Sikoia

Our journey in business

2000+

Clients who’ve benefited from our legal advice

44

Talented Solicitors

17

Years Average PQE

44%

Average YoY Growth for the Last 3 Years

Our clients rate us as excellent.

We scored 9.4/10, based on 68 reviews.

Discover how we can help your business take it's next step

When you’ve got the big idea

When you’ve got the big idea

Time is focused on getting started

Time is focused on getting started

Your team is getting on with it

Your team is getting on with it

When it’s all about scaling up

When it’s all about scaling up

If you’re looking to exit

If you’re looking to exit


Our offices

A national law firm

A national law firm

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Floor 5, Cavendish House, 39-41 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP
A national law firm

To access legal support from just £125 per hour arrange your free no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your business requirements.

Make an enquiry