Building a long-term business relationship might seem unusual for a dispute resolution lawyer, but if I can become part of the mechanism which underpins a business, I can help to avoid or minimise difficulties rather than just stepping in to resolve them.
When problems do arise, I enjoy finding creative solutions, and I really take time to understand how my clients function and what they want to achieve; the more I understand, the better I can help them with strategy and detailed advice.
I work with a wide range of businesses, from small start-ups to international firms, and with an equally wide range of budgets, so I have a flexible approach and I understand commercial constraints. I have considerable experience in technology disputes, and those within specific sectors including energy and telecoms, but also bribery and fraud investigations.
Outside work, I love walking, cycling, running and netball.
1. Call for help early on – prevention is always better than cure, but reducing your legal/financial risk or ring-fencing a problem as far as you can is the next best thing. Your solicitor can be a valuable part of your team, a sounding board and a “sense-checker”, and early investment in sensible commercial and legal advice will bring economies in the longer term.
2. Be open minded. Just because the answer isn’t obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t there. There will be a way through, though you may have to be prepared to compromise to a point. Disputes can sour the strongest relationships overnight and entrenching often only delays resolution or, worse still, prevents it altogether.
3. Keep a finger on the pulse with your contractual documentation. I don’t just mean reviewing your standard Ts and Cs in isolation: commercial relationships develop organically over long periods of time and the commercial realities may simply not be captured by the underlying documents.
Obviously the formalities can’t stifle the day to day running of a business; that would be the wrong way to look at it. But take the time periodically to stand back and see whether your contracts are actually reflective of how the relationship works or whether the terms only reflect how you used to do business.
Any mismatch might not otherwise be detected until things go wrong and you are looking at the small print. By then it might be too late and you may not be in the position you thought you were in or that you need to be in.
What’s the best thing to do?
There is no one size fits all in terms of approach, but I will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your position and set out the options for you clearly.
Working together we will ensure that I fully understand your objectives and any business needs or discrete agendas which drive those objectives, and will develop an initial strategy taking these into account.
However, recognising that priorities and options change as a case progresses, ensuring that the strategy is still appropriate and achievable will always be at the forefront of my mind.
The key thing is you are not on your own and if I have any concerns that you are missing something or exposing yourself to risk, I will tell you.
How much will it cost?
Cost is pretty much always the single most significant factor which determines approach before and during legal proceedings. I will undertake a cost vs benefit analysis at all stages and will always gear my advice and approach accordingly.
Visibility and communication are of paramount importance to me and to you, and I will ensure that each step is costed as fully as possible and that funding options are explored where necessary.
Any ‘game plan’ we devise will take your budget and appetite for risk fully into account.