Contract Law Firm Services
Our commercial team have many years experience working on commercial agreements of all kinds. We offer business solutions for the following types of commercial contracts:
Our Commercial Contracts Solicitors
Our clients rely on our commercial contracts solicitors to help them negotiate their contracts and advise on contract law because we turn work around rapidly and we adopt a pragmatic and sensitive approach to the new relationships that they are forging with their business partners.
We provide contract law advice for all types of commercial arrangements including technology, agency agreements, partnership agreements, consumer contracts, confidentiality agreements, distribution, reseller and franchise agreements.
We also have significant experience in advising on joint ventures, subcontract, teaming and consortium agreements, often in the context of a procurement process when bidding for tenders and the implementation of a wide range of commercial projects following successful award.
Why Choose EM Law Contract Lawyers?
Clients use us as their legal specialists because we are expert, responsive, efficient and commercially focused. We charge a fair price for our legal work so your business gets excellent value for money and we offer fixed fees where possible. We have particular expertise in technology and data contracts, all types of contracts used in the aid funded business sector and agreements for the supply of all kinds of services. We advise a wide range of business clients in these sectors.
When we draft a commercial agreement we are not just thinking about how to protect the client. We also have in mind that the contract should reflect well on the business client who is supplying it to their customer. The agreement should look professional, modern and easy to navigate and it should be drafted in a way that negotiations (if any) between the client and their customers are kept to a minimum.
We look to form long lasting relationships with our clients. Quite often this starts with a client wanting us to draft their first customer contract and then we’re there to help the business on its growth journey with employment law advice, data protection compliance, corporate and other support including dealing with ad hoc legal issues in a cost effective way.
Examples of work by our commercial contracts lawyers in London
Our contract law and commercial agreements experience is extensive and varied:
- advising on all kinds of software and technology contracts.
- advising a wide variety of start-ups and SMEs on their terms of business and supply contracts.
- advising marketing agencies on their services agreements.
- advising recruitment agencies on their standard terms of business.
- advising a retailer business on its UK warehouse and distribution outsourcing agreements.
- advising a forensics services and data analytics supplier on its standard conditions of business and negotiating numerous contracts with its clients.
- advising a designer on a cross-border IP licence.
- advising on agency and distribution agreements for the international sale of medical equipment.
- advising leading businesses in the international development sector on all aspects of their contractual arrangements with clients, subcontractors and joint ventures both in the UK and overseas.
- advising a well-known tour operator in the student snowsports sector on all aspects of their business including their package travel conditions, teaming agreements, contracts to supply tour services, sponsorship agreements, partnership agreements, data protection, employment contracts and corporate matters.
- advising a digital marketing company on a wide range of data purchase and supply agreements.
- helping clients resolve contract disputes before they reach litigation and court stage.
- advising on the supply of major public-sector capacity building projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.
- drafting and advising on confidentiality agreements for all kinds of projects.
Commercial Contract Case Reviews
Simon Purchase, MD, Forty-Eight Point One Limited
EM Law have been instrumental in helping us scale up with a number of larger corporate clients where more robust and secure contracts were needed. They have always given due consideration to our specific needs as a business and worked with us to understand the agency market place that we trade in to deliver agreements that allow us to be confident in our terms with our clients moving forward.
Rupert Wood, CEO, Wasteland Ski Limited
We have been working with Neil for many years now, more recently on a retained basis because he has become someone we trust and who understands our business requirements. Neil has proven himself to be incredibly adaptable and has always been our go-to person for the more complex commercial agreements we have had to put in place. Neil is relaxed, engaging but also very professional and can lend his breadth of experience to provide considered opinion to many different areas of law. But it’s his detailed analysis and instinctive assessment of a commercial scenario and his ability to get to grips with the business requirement, the causes and effects that make him an invaluable sounding board for us.
Claire Goodwin, Founder, CG Consultancy
I began working with Neil on my client contracts and service agreements when I started my business over two years ago. His support and attention to detail has been invaluable. With a kind and highly professional approach Neil is always prompt to respond guiding me through questions step by step, ensuring I understand clearly and helping make the right decisions. Neil has been a huge support as my business has grown – I couldn’t recommend him highly enough.
Gavin English, MD, IMC Worldwide Limited
Neil and his team have undertaken several items of legal work covering contracts, agreements and share option schemes for IMC Worldwide over the past few years and have been responsive to our needs, professional, efficient and easy to work with every time. We recommend EM Law if you are looking for good value, friendly legal advice.
Dave Dadds, CEO, DRD Communications Limited
We have worked with Neil and his colleagues on a number of different company issues including business acquisitions, client contract and employment law matters. Neil and his team have always provided very professional help and have been very efficient in meeting our needs. We would highly recommend Neil and his team.
Commercial Contract Lawyers FAQs
What does a commercial lawyer do with a contract?
Commercial lawyers will typically draft or advise on a commercial agreement to ensure that it is a valid, enforceable and legally binding contract.
Contract solicitors may also make recommendations about how to modify commercial contracts to avoid court disputes and better protect their client’s interests, for example, around intellectual property and exclusions of liability clauses.
What else do UK commercial lawyers do?
Commercial lawyers in the UK are primarily responsible for providing legal advice and support to businesses on a variety of contractual matters. Most lawyers in England & Wales are regulated by the solicitors regulation authority but not all of them are so it’s important that clients check whether their lawyer is regulated by the solicitors regulation authority or not.
Commercial law advice may also include drafting and negotiating written agreements, advising on compliance with regulatory requirements, commercial agreements, intellectual property, advising on a procurement process and resolving contractual disputes before they become litigious and end up in court.
In addition to their legal and business expertise, commercial contracts lawyers will also need to be able to effectively communicate with clients and other members of your team. They must possess excellent commercial law knowledge which allows them to advise on commercial agreements to meet the business objectives of their clients.
Commercial lawyers also advise businesses on compliance issues, employment law and dispute resolution.
Commercial contract lawyers can work in a national or international law firm, a small commercial team in a business or within government agencies.
Some commercial contract lawyers specialise in a particular industry, such as construction or healthcare. Others may have expertise in a specific type of contracts, such as employment contracts or real estate leases.
Can UK lawyers advise on contracts governed by the laws of other jurisdictions?
A contract lawyer in the UK must have a thorough understanding of UK contract law. However, it is also useful if they have some understanding of how the laws of other jurisdictions may apply, as many businesses operating in the UK will have contracts and commercial arrangements with parties based in other countries. While UK qualified lawyers will not be able to provide definitive legal guidance on a contract governed by the laws of another jurisdiction, having a broad overview of the laws of other jurisdictions is a useful skill.
Do I need a commercial lawyer to draft my contract?
No, you can do it yourself. But every time a client has come to us to check whether the contract that they have put together is ok the results are, at best, poor and, at worst, damaging to the client’s business to the extent that it would have been better if the client had simply agreed a couple of points with their customer over email.
If you are a start up with not much money and your business is low risk (for example, you provide marketing services) you can probably get away with using a cheap template that you can buy online. But in our experience things can go wrong even in these circumstances and while the problem shouldn’t be catastrophic, even losing out on £10,000 because of a poorly drafted contract does not make sense when the contract could have been drafted properly for £1000. It is important to try and minimise risk within your commercial objectives.
If you are operating in a more high value or high risk environment then you should absolutely take legal advice and use a commercial law expert to avoid disputes and all kinds of legal issues later.
How could a contract that a client put together themselves be damaging?
We have seen contracts put together by clients who have cut and pasted from agreements that were one-sided in favour of their customer. In other words, the client copied from the wrong contract. For example, we had a client come to us for advice on a contract that they were using for their customers which included a parent company guarantee. Their customers would not have asked for such a guarantee to be included as standard so the client’s parent company was taking on unnecessary risk.
What are the key elements in a contract?
All contracts should make clear when they start, how they end, what the supplier is supplying and what the customer is paying. These are the business basics. Beyond these elements, treatment of intellectual property rights should be provided for as well as limitations and exclusions of certain liabilities, confidentiality provisions, data protection clauses, governing law and dispute resolution.
Are unsigned contracts binding?
Just because a contract isn’t signed by the parties does not mean that it isn’t binding on them. The answer depends on the context. It is important to understand that an unsigned contract certainly could be enforceable so do not assume that just because you haven’t signed a contract your business is not caught by it. We have written an article about this which you can access here.
Are consumer contracts easier to draft rather than business to business contracts?
The most complex contracts are not consumer contracts. They tend to be large outsourcing contracts, construction contracts, energy agreements or software design, build and installation agreements. However, most of our business to business clients provide services to their customers. These contracts are more straightforward than even the simplest consumer contracts. Why? Because consumer contracts have to be drafted to take into account consumer protection legislation. We have to make sure that consumer contracts comply with the latest legislation otherwise they will be regarded by the courts as unlawful and unenforceable.
Is it easy to get out of a contract?
It is not easy to get out of a well drafted contract. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t try. Just because your business may be in breach of contract does not mean that this is a step that your business should not take. It may be commercially sensible to breach a contract because the party on the side will suffer minimal losses while the party in breach may have much to gain. The chances are a deal can be struck without resorting to action in court.
A poorly drafted contract is of course easier to break so it is crucial that if it is important for your business that its contracts are watertight you should use an expert lawyer to draft your agreements to avoid disputes that could end up in court.
How do you go about drafting a contract for your clients?
It depends on the complexity of the contract but most of the time the contracts that we are being asked to provide are fairly straightforward for us. We’ve seen them before, we’ve worked with the kind of client before. So a lot of the time we don’t need to take extensive instructions before being able to provide the client with a first draft of the agreement. We’ll have needed to have spoken to the client first to enable us to put a proposal together for the work but if our proposal is accepted we usually produce a first draft of the contract straight away.
Having provided the client with the first draft we then spend time with the client refining that draft. We give the client the chance to go through the draft contract and ask any questions and we usually need the client to clarify one or two areas or make some choices around the options that we offer them. We will guide the client on the option to take that services their best interests.
We then produce a second draft and go through that with the client and quite often the contract is then ready or we refine the contract further and produce a third and final draft. Simple contracts do not tend to need more work than this.