News

Second Legal Awards Shortlist for Solicitors Title

Later this month sees the third annual Devon and Somerset Law Society (DASLS) Legal Awards, recognising the contribution that the South West’s numerous law firms bring to our locality.

In total 12 awards are being hotly contested, recognising both individuals and firms themselves, across a range of categories which include Client Experience, Corporate Social Responsibility and even Legal ‘Hero’ of the Year! In addition to these, firms of different sizes are also recognised for their overall success. In the 1-10 partner category, Solicitors Title, based in the City’s iconic Gandy Street, is again shortlisted, having been nominated for the same award at the inaugural event in 2016.

Perhaps fitting, given Solicitors Title celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. Originally set up as a property-focussed firm, with a new focus on the home-buying process, back in 1998, today, a focus on business and the people that own, grow and run them is the focus – from start-ups to some of the South West’s well-known names. Having expanded into Somerset some 5 years’ ago and in 2016 achieving recognition nationally for its corporate and commercial work by independent directory Legal 500, Solicitors Title certainly punches above its weight.

With a focus on certain sectors, not associated with many of its competitors, the firm is able to differentiate itself from more traditional firms. Technology law, franchising and complex property advice accounts for much of the firm’s work; and keeping their clients up-to-date on the topics that matter is key – feedback from recent events on GDPR – the new data protection code coming in from May this year – has been really positive, reflecting more of a practical approach to advice; being part of your own team rather than a service provider that you hire when things have gone wrong!

The awards evening is supported by headline sponsor SOS, a specialist legal software company.
Recognised alongside Solicitors Title in the Best Law Firm 1-10 Partners category, will be Boyce Hatton, Rosie Bracher, Cartridges Law and Beviss & Beckingsale. The awards dinner is being held in March.

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When the Chicken Crossing the Road becomes no joke: KFC

As reported in recent days, many KFC outlets remain closed across the country, due to problems with a new supplier; what it has called “teething problems”, but whatever the reason, KFC’s predicament brings into sharp focus the reliance on suppliers in business and the risks that can arise if they are unable to deliver – in KFC’s case, literally.

Until last Tuesday, the South-African owned Bidvest distribution group handled the logistics in delivering KFC’s fresh chicken to its restaurants and outlets across the UK.

A change in supplier can be a common decision and no doubt, given the significance of KFC’s supply chain to its successful operations through the UK, that decision would not have been taken lightly.

Whatever the reason, one of the most important aspects in any business relationship, be it with your suppliers, as here, your clients or customers or your staff, is what happens if things go wrong? What a negative way to look at things you might think? But this is not about being negative; in fact it should be a positive aspect of any initial negotiations – sometimes things don’t go to plan; sometimes that will be outside of either party’s control – such as adverse weather delaying a shipment of goods, for example – but sometimes, it is caused by one side, for whatever reason, failing to meet the obligations they had agreed.

Naturally, in those circumstances, people think of insurance – if I crash my car, the insurance is there to protect me in any claim. However, SMEs have a real opportunity to manage their customer and supplier relationships, through well-thought-out contract terms.

We were recently advising a technology business on the supply of equipment to a much larger group. Say they on-sell that equipment to their own customers, to be used in ways that our client simply wouldn’t know and for some reason they decide the equipment isn’t suitable, causing them to lose a major contract – is that the responsibility of our client?

In KFC’s case, what is the value of potential damage to its brand and business from this current issue? With the majority of its outlets closed. And of course that is not only the loss of revenue but the potential for its brand to be tarnished in some way – in fact, KFC have been handling communications around the problem positively, with regular updates, but arguably their new supplier is liable for any losses and damage that they suffer.

It is often only when problems arise that SMEs and businesses recognise that in fact they do not have contracts in place. Within well-crafted terms and conditions, it is possible to spell out exactly what happens if a problem arises – this includes, practically, what should be done to try and manage the issue but also should outline where liability falls. Is DHL likely to be responsible for the entire loss of revenue suffered by KFC? Business owns can, within their terms, limit the extent of their liability in these kinds of circumstances; both, financially – perhaps with a cap on value of any claim and in terms of the kinds of los that are included – in DHL’s terms, no doubt, they would have excluded liability for loss of business caused by issues in delivery, given these issues are foreseeable. In your business, you can do the same – if a delay in supply to one of your clients and customers causes them to lose a major contract, costing £100,000, can they seek to pass that loss on to you, in a claim for damages? Or have you limited the potential for such claims in well-crafted terms and conditions?

Devising bespoke contracts and terms for your business can allow you to cover these issues, ensuring the risks in your business are minimized, even if things, as they will, sometimes go wrong. It also ensures that the relationship between you and your clients or customers is stronger, as the basis upon which you are doing business is clear. Click here for more information on our fixed price services in these areas: Commercial Contracts and Online Trading and E-Commerce

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Business Round Up

It has been a busy time over the last few months; with legal changes including the onset of GDPR and exciting developments for some of our clients and for us as we continue to grow our business. It’s nice for us to voice the positives but what we also like to do is share our clients and fellow businesses’ success too and that is why we produce our Business Round Up.

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Changes to debt claims – don’t get left behind

On 1 October 2017, the Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims (the “Protocol”) will come into force.

The Protocol will apply to any business, including sole traders and public bodies, (the “Creditor”) looking to bring a claim against an individual or a sole trader (the “Debtor”).

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Christmas Opening Hours

Our offices will be closed from 1pm on Friday 23rd December 2016 and we will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 3rd January 2017.

Wishing all our clients and contacts a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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How to improve payment performance

For many, chasing their customers for payment is at best a necessary evil. In order to minimise the need to do so, we provide some tips on improving payment performance.

When should you chase payment?

In order to successfully recover payment it is essential to gather information about your customer before you carry out any work for them. You should be able to identify your customer’s full legal entity, their company registration number and their contact details, including the name of the person that you should communicate with for invoicing purposes and to deal with queries quickly.   

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Solicitors Title receives national recognition for its corporate work in Legal 500

Solicitors Title is delighted to have been recognised as a go-to firm for corporate and commercial work in this year’s Legal 500 rankings. 

Legal 500 is an independent directory of the leading law firms and lawyers.  Published annually, the guide is compiled after extensive research, including confidential references from clients and contacts and following assessment of the work carried out by each practice being reviewed.

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So you’ve been offered a directorship; now what?!

You may have worked hard for a long me in a company or business and whether you expect it or not, you end up being called into his or her office for a chat! Fortunately, it’s not to present you with your P45 but instead to offer

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Brexit – Moving on…

It seemed almost impossible this week not to talk about Brexit and the effect on the property market though I’m sure that there’s a lot of people who are already starting to groan when they hear the word given the wall to wall media coverage. If nothing else, it seems as if everyone has an opinion – and one which they ‘re willing to share with anyone who will listen – and that least makes for a refreshing change from the weariness and apathy

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D-I-Yeovil winning project is announced

D-I-Yeovil is a really worthy project made possible from the combined efforts of The Western Gazette, Yeovil Round Table and Bradfords Building Supplies. In June, the public cast their votes, leading to five projects being chosen as finalists (see other entrants here) to be considered for the renovation worth £10,000, intended to benefit either a person or group in need.

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