Legal Entrepreneurs: How a Schillings trainee made it to The Independent — and then quit to start his own media law firm

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By Adam Mawardi on

Reviewed & Cleared CEO David Burgess shares what led him to leave his high-flying job and run a business

David Burgess

“When you’re selling, just give me a call,” David Burgess said to one-time colleague Peter Smith, a lawyer who was living a “brilliant life” working remotely from his shed in Scotland giving pre-publication and pre-broadcast legal advice. Some years later, when Burgess was a successful newspaper lawyer with The Independent, Smith did just that. He was retiring and he was ready to sell his small legal practice. What was a “throwaway remark” made over drinks became a business deal: Burgess agreed to take the practice on — and has since rebranded it as Reviewed & Cleared and grown it dramatically.

Instrumental in growing the firm was investment which Burgess received a couple of years in from media and technology specialist outfit Wiggin, with whom Reviewed & Cleared now has a referral relationship.

Speaking to Legal Cheek publisher Alex Aldridge on the latest episode of the Legal Entrepreneurs Podcast, Burgess reveals just why he decided to take the plunge and give up the security of his hard-earned and successful job. Like many entrepreneurs before him, Burgess yearned for more flexibility and a “chance to do something different”.

Burgess describes how he qualified at international reputation and privacy consultancy firm Schillings. He then spent a decade in media law working as an in-house legal counsel at some of the most prominent media organisations in the business, including MTV Networks, the Hearst Corporation and The Independent and Evening Standard newspapers.

Burgess now leads a team of nine experienced lawyers who work on a flexible basis.

Listen to the full interview via the media player above or through Soundcloud or iTunes.

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