Behind Alice Stephenson’s social media glitz and glamour, an uncomfortable reality check
Exclusive: A law firm founded and run by top legal influencer Alice Stephenson has entered liquidation.
Stephenson has nearly 100,000 social media followers across LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and X, where she has charted her journey as founder of Stephenson Law, which won ‘Boutique Law Firm of the Year’ award at the British Legal Awards in 2020 and was shortlisted for ‘UK Law Firm of the Year’ at the same prestigious awards a year later.
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In addition to her main role as a law firm boss, Stephenson provides a paid-for course on how to set up your own successful law firm. The former Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) trainee has also recently released a book, called ‘(Out)Law: From Teenage Mum to Legal Trailblazer’, expanding on some of her motivational social media posts to tell the story of her unconventional career and the importance of being yourself at work.
However, behind the scenes a different picture emerges. Stephenson Law entered liquidation last month and a resolution for winding up was published on 24 November. According to a ‘Statement of affairs’ liquidation document filed with Companies House, the influencer’s firm has an outstanding debt of over £1.5 million, including a hefty £800k bill to HMRC.
Included within the limited remaining assets of the company is a £666,157.72 directors’ loan to A Stephenson. The document notes that the estimated value of realising this asset is “uncertain”.
Stephenson did not respond to Legal Cheek’s requests for comment about the liquidation or the directors’ loan, but subsequently posted a statement on LinkedIn (reproduced below).
Publicly on social media she has noted that “🥳 Stephenson Law is now Plume 🥳”, adding:
“We started life as a regulated law firm and we’ve hired amazing people, experimented, built tech, won awards, launched a new unregulated law firm and worked with the most incredible clients. We’ve learned what we’re good at and found our place in the industry.”
According to Companies House, Plume was incorporated in 2020 as Flamingo DPO Limited and known as Stephenson Law Limited between 13 March 2023 and 17 October 2023. It has also been known as Macaw Consulting Limited. Alice Stephenson is the company’s sole director and is also director of a separate company, Stephenson Law (Regulated) Limited, which was incorporated in 2015 and is subject to the liquidation proceedings. She is listed on the SRA website as “SRA-regulated solicitor, not practising”. Having begun her career at WBD, she worked at Bristol firms Bevan Brittan and DAC Beachcroft, before branching out on her own.
Update: 09:34 Fri 8 Dec — Alice Stephenson has issued this statement on LinkedIn:
“Stephenson Law was a regulated firm that ceased trading in October. We owed a large amount to HMRC which we were paying back every month, but HMRC chose to call the whole debt in, which forced us into liquidation. There were no staff, clients or client money in the business. A third of the debt is owed to my other companies. Plume is an unregulated law firm that has been trading for some time. It’s financially stable and completely unaffected by the liquidation, so our clients have nothing to worry about. It’s business as usual. I’ve made mistakes, and I’m always the first one to acknowledge them. I don’t understand why some people take joy from other people’s failures, particularly in the legal industry, but it makes it a very off-putting place to try and effect change, which has always been my mission.”