Natalie Foster, Founder and CEO of Inspire Legal Group is certainly ‘breaking the mould’ in the legal profession, not only by leading the way in legal technology innovation, but by demonstrating what non-solicitor owners of law firms can bring to the table.
Who inspires/ inspired you and why?
One person that stands out is Susan Truefitt, who trained me as a legal secretary when I first set out in the industry.
Susan was a traditional solicitor who owned a law firm from the 1970s/80s. Then, it was a male-dominated industry, but despite the discrimination she suffered, she became hugely successful and highly respected because of her ability and passion to practice law.
Susan used to tell me to “just say yes” and if I had a passion for something, I’d be able to get it done.
When working for a law firm several years ago, I realised that if I wanted the forward-thinking, sustainable business I’d imagined, I’d have to build it myself. It was Susan that inspired me to take that huge leap, and I don’t believe I’d be in the position I am today without her.
Inspiration is hugely important, which is why I named my business ‘Inspire Legal Group’.
What has been the most valuable piece of advice given to you?
The advice to “just say yes” has driven me throughout my career and got me where I am today. However, you do need a strategy!
I’m someone who often jumps in with both feet. However, you really need to question everything and get to the crux of what’s required to ensure your business is sustainable.
By following that advice, I now have a much more measured and pragmatic approach to doing things.
If you were not in your current position, what would you have liked to have done?
I’d have probably become a corporate solicitor, having climbed the traditional ladder, focussing on applying and practicing law rather than commerce and running a business.
Ironically, I think this would have been quite life-limiting for me. Opportunities in corporate law are not plentiful in the town where I live, so I would have had to move, leaving the town and the family I love.
To be honest, I wouldn’t want to do anything other than what I’m doing now. I enjoy being autonomous and love the innovation of Inspire Legal Group. We’re a law firm that lends itself to a ‘best practice’ way of working and have developed our own Tech Stack. We don’t pretend to be experts in everything, but what we’re really good at is creating access to justice through technology.
What three items would you put on display in a museum of your life?
If I were to look at this chronologically, my first item would be my horse-riding helmet from when I used to ride as I child. I loved the freedom, the fresh air, and the unpredictability. I wanted to have fun but stay safe and my riding helmet is symbolic of this.
My second item would be the red buggy I had for my children. At the time, I didn’t have a car, but the red buggy gave me freedom and choice. It enabled me to go anywhere with my children while keeping them safe and warm.
My final item would be my Law Practice Degree. Before undertaking my Degree, I felt quite lost and wasted. It gave me back my feeling of purpose, which has brought me to where I am today.
What three guests would you invite to a dinner party?
I’m a really big fan of Monty Python so I’d invite Sir Michael Palin, John Cleese, and Eric Idle. I love the fact that they’re well-educated people who just have fun.
I can imagine sitting across from them, listening to them critically analysing literature one minute, then pulling silly faces the next.
It really is a good mantra for life, that although attainment is important, you really shouldn’t take yourself too seriously.
Natalie Foster, CEO of Inspire Legal Group