Businesses have always fascinated me. What makes them tick? How do they grow? How do they manage risk? That’s why I became a commercial lawyer. I now spend my time learning about all sorts of businesses and use what I’ve learnt to help my clients to achieve their commercial objectives by effectively managing their business relationships (such as outsourcing, joint venture and supply agreements). I also work with clients to ensure they understand the ever more complicated regulation that faces all businesses, particularly competition law, data protection, freedom of information and public procurement.
We recently worked with a large corporate group to help it achieve cost savings by simplifying its supply base. At the same time, we helped it to save legal fees on future transactions. Following a series of acquisitions, the group needed to move to single groupwide suppliers of catering, cleaning, security and similar services. We reviewed contracts across the supply base to help the client develop the most cost-effective and low-risk strategy for migrating to new suppliers. From my experience as an in-house lawyer, I recognised the importance of having simple forms of agreement that can be used easily by facilities managers and purchasing executives. We developed a simple form of template that could be used for purchasing a wide range of services. The client has now used the agreement for procuring a variety of services without the need for further support from external lawyers.
Having worked in-house, I recognise how important it is not to deliver any unwelcome surprises when it comes to fees and billing. That’s why our team works hard to explain likely costs, providing detailed estimates where appropriate and cost certainty in the form of capped fees or fixed fees wherever possible. It was great to receive the following feedback once we had completed an outsourcing for a major motor manufacturer on time and under budget: “An estimate was given and communication on costs throughout the matter was very, very good.”
Before joining Mills & Reeve, I worked in-house at United News & Media and Warner Bros. and spent time on secondment at Oftel (now Ofcom). My time spent working for two major businesses and a progressive regulator has given me a real insight into how different organisations operate and what they want from their external lawyers.