Be smart but don’t cheat…

fox

There is a reason why mega successful businesses spend thousands, sometimes millions of pounds/dollars on legal advice. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have almost cried because a client has brought me a problem that could have easily been avoided IF legal advice had been sought in the first place. In the long term, getting proper legal advice could save you so much MONEY and isn’t that what it’s all about – MONEY? You know that saying, what’s worth doing at all is worth doing well…it’s said for a reason! I don’t feel good billing you for my time when it’s for an issue that really shouldn’t have ever become an issue!

Think of it this way, when you have a tooth ache you go to a dentist -you don’t pull out the tooth yourself. When you feel sick you go to a doctor you don’t diagnose yourself. SO, if you need a contract drafted, guess what, you DON’T do it yourself. You go to your lawyer! You should be focusing all your energy into your product/service/idea not struggling to draft a 30 page contract or represent yourself at Court.

So what am I saying? I’m saying be smart BUT don’t cheat.

I am a lawyer and it took me 6 years of training to qualify to be one (a 3 year degree, a 1 year professional practice qualification and a 2 year training contract at an international law firm in the City). You cannot read this blog and become a lawyer BUT you CAN read this blog and become legally smart so that when you seek proper legal advice you are not doing so blindly. You are firing out questions and demanding the best service possible!

It’s quite simple, do things properly at the outset and you will reap the rewards.

Please like and please share!

Advertisements

“Hey Joe”….How to… get your point across in negotiation.

Spirit Bear 4

Ok, so I didn’t want to give away this secret BUT this blog is about helping you in the legal world, so I can’t keep this from you! I’m about to tell you the secret of the best lawyers for how to really get your point across at the negotiation table. Now, when I tell you, some of you may laugh and say “but of course!” or “durr, that’s so obvious” but it is amazing how many lawyers just don’t do this and so never really get their client’s points across. You can take this tip and apply it to your day to day negotiation.

The best lawyers start formally but as soon as things heat up, they recognise that it’s time to drop the barriers and get right up and close to the people on the other side of the table. How do they do this? It’s really simple and I feel guilty that I’ve built this up so much but hey, I want you to read this! The best lawyers say “Hey Joe”,  “Hey Sarah”, “Hey Mick”… they switch to a first name basis. Lawyers are renowned for being stuffy and posher than the Queen of England, but the really good ones know that sealing the deal is about getting through to the opposition on a personal level, and the quickest way to do this is to use their name. Not from the outset – we start off with “Our client  is concerned about” or “Our position is that” – but as soon as we see that flicker of mutual understanding we transition to “look Phil, between you and I, they [not client] just want to get this done and they think that [name of company that you are negotiating with] is the best to do it”.

I remember some time ago, it was the run up to Christmas and work was crazy. I was representing a client in a claim against a very stubborn defendant. They didn’t want to agree a Court extension which meant that we would all be working over the Christmas holidays. My client was furious with how unreasonable they were being. Tired of sending letters by email to and fro, I simply picked up the phone and called the Defendant’s lawyer. The conversation went as follows:

Me: Oh hi Barry this is Emma here, how are you doing?

Barry: Fine thanks, crazily busy as I’m sure you are too.

Me: Yup, crazily busy, which leads me to the matter of this Court extension on X case.

Barry: Oh yes, my client’s position is very clear on that.

Me: Well Barry, off the record, Joe Bloggs LTD, doesn’t want the extension to secretly build an even stronger claim, they just want a break this Christmas! They literally want to go offline for at least a week. If we don’t agree this extension, we’ll all be working unnecessarily at one of the best times of the year.  I don’t know about you but I’d quite like to catch up on Suits.

Barry: [laughter]. Yes, I know what you mean, well I’ll see what I can do and get back to you.

Me: That’s great, thanks Barry and good luck with the last minute shopping.

Barry: How did you know? [laughter]

End of call

We ended up agreeing the Court extension and it was a sweet Christmas break! There is power in just getting a little personal and a little real! Try it!

Ps. I have not used real names in this post.

Please like and please share!

Introducing the Companies Act 2006


If you are a UK company, the Companies Act 2006 is the main piece of legislation that GOVERNS YOU in the UK.

With approximately 1,300 sections, the Companies Act 2006 was passed in order to modernise and simplify company law, codify directors’ duties, grant improved rights to shareholders and simplify the administrative burden carried by UK companies. It is basically your “go to” for all things company law! Although some lawyers criticise it for being too detailed and trying to cover every eventuality, I actually kind of like it! You can navigate it relatively easily and well, it’s all there! SO if you have a UK company and are at a loss with UK Company Law, the Companies Act 2006 is a good resource to turn to. You can access it right HERE for FREE.

So what can you look forward to educating yourself about in the Companies Act 2006? Well, amongst many (many, many, many – it is the longest piece of legislation in the UK) other things, it sets out the following:

1. a company’s formation (modernised to facilitate incorporation over the Internet…so er…what are you waiting for?);

2. a company’s duties including those that can be fulfilled electronically (YES, so much easier);

3. a company’s communications with its shareholders (this can be done electronically via a website – again, way EASIER);

4. directors’ duties (codified for the first time) including an obligation to promote the success of the company (yup you are OBLIGED to do this by  English LAW), to consider the community and the environment (this is CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY), the interests of employees, and to be fair to shareholders (this is arguably why Google restructured its business);

5. the rights of indirect shareholders, including the right to sue the company’s director(s) if fraud or negligence is suspected;

6. company naming rules and company governance e.g. limited companies are no longer required to have a company secretary, and can be run by one director;

7. company ‘model’ Articles of Association, provided by Companies House (this is your company’s CONSTITUTION);

8. share capital rules (simplified for private companies); and

9. formalities for execution of documents.

This epic piece of legislation may be very detailed and a bit daunting at first BUT I think it is incredibly useful – it is basically Wikipedia for UK Company Law. If you have a query about your company and its operations, skim through the index of the Companies Act 2006 and see what you can find out THEN follow up with your lawyer IF you have to!

Please like and please share!

Be smart but don’t cheat…

fox.jpg

There is a reason why mega successful businesses spend thousands, sometimes millions of pounds/dollars on legal advice. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have almost cried because a client has brought me a problem that could have easily been avoided IF legal advice had been sought in the first place. In the long term, getting proper legal advice could save you so much MONEY and isn’t that what it’s all about – MONEY? You know that saying, what’s worth doing at all is worth doing well…it’s said for a reason! I don’t feel good billing you for my time when it’s for an issue that really shouldn’t have ever become an issue!

Think of it this way, when you have a tooth ache you go to a dentist -you don’t pull out the tooth yourself. When you feel sick you go to a doctor you don’t diagnose yourself. SO, if you need a contract drafted, guess what, you DON’T do it yourself. You go to your lawyer! You should be focusing all your energy into your product/service/idea not struggling to draft a 30 page contract or represent yourself at Court.

So what am I saying? I’m saying be smart BUT don’t cheat.

I am a lawyer and it took me 6 years of training to qualify to be one (a 3 year degree, a 1 year professional practice qualification and a 2 year training contract at an international law firm in the City). You cannot read this blog and become a lawyer BUT you CAN read this blog and become legally smart so that when you seek proper legal advice you are not doing so blindly. You are firing out questions and demanding the best service possible!

It’s quite simple, do things properly at the outset and you will reap the rewards later.

Please like and please share!