Barefoot Lawyer was founded to offer a different type of legal service. We are inspired by the barefoot doctors who travelled around China in the 1960s, providing medical care to the rural poor. A barefoot lawyer, in our way of thinking, is someone who makes law accessible, who meets people where they are and who is connected to the Earth. All of these are important in our practice.
Our clients question accepted norms of business and challenge the status quo. They seek to contribute to a more healthy, just and sustainable society by growing an organisation or project that is aligned with life's fundamental organising patterns.
We work in partnership with our clients to find creative and holistic pathways to achieve their goals. A particular speciality is supporting people leading an enterprise through a transition - a shift to employee ownership, say, or a change of structure or the stepping back of a founder.
In our approach, we embrace complexity and uncertainty, seeing the law as just one element of the various changes that are needed when an organisation evolves.
Patrick’s story: I am a lawyer and facilitator, a former solicitor with over 30 years experience in advising businesses and not-for-profits on their contracts, governance, legal structures and disputes.
I learned my trade as an in-house lawyer working for large corporations including Pratt & Whitney Canada and Kingfisher plc. Highlights included working on one of the first aerospace joint ventures in Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union, and a pioneering retail joint venture in China in the late 1990s.
My visit to China in 2000 was a turning point. I saw how the headlong rush for economic growth and industrialisation, whilst bringing benefits, also destroys livelihoods and causes massive environmental harm. I have always had a passion for nature and I could not reconcile this with the work I was doing.
In 2002 I left my corporate role, confused yet also curious at how organisation structures influence individual's behaviour. I spent the next decade exploring different ways of doing business, and in 2013 set up in independent legal practice. I have been lucky enough to work with a number of inspiring entrepreneurs including Hugo Spowers of eco-car company Riversimple, Guy Singh-Watson of Riverford Organic Farmers and the team at Library of Things.
Directorships: I am on the board of consulting firm Greaterthan and of Hazel Hill Trust, a charity that stewards an ancient woodland near Salisbury.
“Over the last year, as we have birthed a new company and raised equity funding, we've felt guided and reassured throughout the turbulent times, knowing that you are at the end of the phone when we need you.”
Emma Shaw, co-founder, Library of Things
“I knew Patrick was the right lawyer for us when he took his shoes off half way through our meeting!”
Benjamin Dix, founder, PositiveNegatives
“Thanks once again for all your help. I have enjoyed working with you and I am really pleased with what we have ended up with.”
Guy Singh-Watson, founder, Riverford Organic Farmers
“There are many who demand of our time and energy but only a precious few who, by their presence and counsel, provide us with the support and energy that we need in order to succeed. Patrick Andrews is one of the few.”
Tim Gough, partner, Forum Architecture