Before becoming a lawyer, I worked in the book publishing industry in a sales and marketing capacity for 7 years. Given my experience of working in a commercial environment, becoming a corporate lawyer advising on commercial transactions seemed a logical progression. Then early in my legal career I worked inhouse for an international banking group, and so I have also been able to bring my knowledge and experience of banking and finance to bear on my subsequent career back in private practice.
Having been involved in transactional work for over 25 years there are few issues or situations that I haven’t come across before. As well as acting for individual business owners and investors, I’ve worked with a wide range of corporate and institutional clients in various sectors, including government agencies, construction companies, property developers, family trusts and banks.
I help owner-managers to develop their businesses and to achieve their ultimate objectives, whether that is in the form of equity release, a trade sale or successful succession planning. I also specialise in mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganisations and restructuring, equity investments and funding and debt funding (acting for both lenders and borrowers).
Outside of work, I enjoy listening to and making music (I belong to a large choral society), spending time with my wife and family, and looking after our two horses and dog.
Plan ahead for your transaction if at all possible.
Involve your lawyers at the earliest possible stage.
Although the lawyers will do all of the heavy lifting on a deal and do as much as possible to take the stress out of the process, clients should not over-estimate the commitment in terms of time and effort often needed on their part in order to get the deal away successfully.
How much will it cost?
The cost of advising on a deal is often hard to predict at the outset as it can be hard to know what issues may arise as part of the process. We can obviously draw on our extensive experience of working on similar deals, but no two deals are the same. Although we can suggest ways in which clients can help to keep costs down, the cost of the deal will partly be determined by the approach taken by the other parties and their advisers.
How long will it take?
Again, on transactional work there is only so much we can do to control this. Our role is to manage client expectations based on our previous experience. Timetables should be realistic and dictated by commercial necessity.
To what extent will I remain personally liable once I have sold my shares/business?
This will depend on what has been agreed in terms of warranties, indemnities and restrictive covenants. When acting for a seller one of the main objectives is to ensure ongoing potential liabilities of the seller are proportionate and reasonable and that the seller is aware of these.