By: 25 April 2024
Fostering change with Natalie Foster, founder of Inspire Legal Group

Natalie Foster is the founder and CEO of Inspire Legal Group. With a passion for challenging norms, Natalie brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to the industry. As an SRA regulated owner of her firm, Natalie champions alternative routes into the legal industry, as living proof that the LPC is not the only option.

 

What motivated you to establish an alternative business structure within the legal sector?

Establishing an alternative business structure within the legal sector was driven by a passion for innovation, a commitment to diversity, and a desire to create collaborative opportunities within the industry. Traditional law firms often operate within rigid structures that can stifle creativity and limit opportunities for collaboration. At Inspire Legal Group, we saw an opportunity to break away from these constraints. Our motivation stems from a belief that by embracing new ways of thinking and working, we can better serve our clients and drive positive change within the legal profession.

Our firm is driven by a culture of personal drive and innovation. We encourage our team members to think creatively, take initiative, and push the boundaries of what is possible within the legal industry. By embracing technology and embracing change, we are able to provide our clients with efficient, effective, and forward-thinking legal services.

 

What challenges have you faced in building and growing Inspire Legal Group, and how have you overcome them?

I’ve always believed that success is not determined by gender but rather by tenacity and the support of the team around you. One of the primary challenges I’ve faced is navigating the traditionally male-dominated corporate legal industry and understanding that personal brand is not something you can ride forever, results and integrity are what matters. It is a balance between personality and skill, to me, gender does not present a disadvantage. Breaking through established norms and stereotypes can be daunting, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.

Another challenge has been balancing the demands of running a business with other responsibilities, such as family and personal commitments. However, I firmly believe that embracing technology and flexible working arrangements can help overcome these challenges. By leveraging technology, we’ve been able to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and create a more flexible work environment for our team members.

 

What advice would you give to legal professionals who are looking to create meaningful change in the legal industry?

  1. Embrace innovation: the legal industry is evolving rapidly, driven by technological advancements and changing client expectations. Embrace innovation and be open to adopting new technologies and methodologies that can improve efficiency, enhance client experiences, and drive positive outcomes.
  2. Foster collaboration: meaningful change often requires collaboration and cooperation among legal professionals, firms, and other stakeholders. Foster a culture of collaboration within your organisation and seek out opportunities to collaborate with other legal professionals, industry experts, and technology providers. By working together, we can address common challenges, share best practices, and drive positive change across the legal landscape.
  3. Prioritise diversity and inclusion: embrace diversity in all its forms and strive to create an inclusive and equitable work environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents.

 

What are the most pressing issues facing women in law today, and how can they be addressed?

There is a persistent illusion that women are not as powerful or capable as our male counterparts. Despite significant progress, there is still an undercurrent of bias and discrimination that can make it challenging for women to advance in their careers and be taken seriously as legal professionals.

Another issue is the perception that male colleagues may be against us or unsupportive of our success. While this may be true in some cases, I have found that some of my best business partners have been male and have been hugely embracing of my journey as a professional working parent.

Finally, one of the most significant challenges facing women in law is the pervasive sense of guilt that many of us experience, particularly when trying to balance our professional and personal responsibilities. It’s essential to lose this guilt as it only serves to hinder our performance at work.

To address these pressing issues, it’s crucial to continue advocating for gender equality and diversity in the legal profession. This includes implementing policies and practices that promote equal opportunities for women, such as flexible work arrangements, mentorship programs, and leadership development initiatives. Additionally, fostering a supportive and inclusive work culture where women feel empowered to speak up, take on leadership roles, and support one another is essential. As a sexuality and misgender discrimination specialist firm, this goes to the very root of why we do what we do.

 

Finally, what message would you like to convey to fellow female entrepreneurs?

Focus on what your end result looks like and work backwards from there. Create a plan with very real, almost pessimistic expectations, and be prepared to adapt and pivot as needed along the way.

Most importantly, surround yourself with the right people who share your vision and values. Working with the wrong people who do not have a team mentality can not only hinder your firm’s progression but also be hugely damaging to any success you’ve achieved. Never take it for granted that people are doing what they say they are going to do. Hold others and yourself accountable, and measure, measure, measure. Knowledge of your position is crucial to ensure you are achieving what you set out to do.

Remember, success is not just about reaching your goals; it’s also about the journey and the lessons you learn along the way. Stay true to yourself, persevere through challenges, and never underestimate the power of resilience and determination. You have what it takes to succeed, so keep pushing forward and never give up on your dreams. It sounds corny, but one of my favourite quotes ever was by Denzel Washington at the Oscars when he said ” fall down 7 times, get up 8″.

 

Image: Provided by Inspire Legal Group.
Emma Cockings
Emma is the content editor for Yorkshire Legal News. Emma is an experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury law for a major firm. She has attended and reported on numerous high-profile legal events in Yorkshire.