What is a paralegal?
As an independent qualified paralegal, I often get asked is ‘what is a paralegal?’ The National Association of Licensed Paralegals offer the following definition:
‘A person qualified through education and training to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of the law and procedures but who is not a qualified solicitor, …’
There are many specialist areas in law. It’s the same in paralegal services. My expertise is in the field of commercial law. I deal with most aspects of business law and will help you develop
- a robust contract tailored to your requirements
- bespoke terms and conditions that will stand up to legal challenges
- other legal documents, like your shareholders’ agreement.
I can also start the ball rolling if you have a customer who wont pay.
As you can see, I don’t deal with boilerplate business forms and documents. Your business is your livelihood. You can’t afford it to be weak and only find out after a legally challenge. You need business documents and processes designed to work for you.
What's the difference between a paralegal and a solicitor?
Happily for you, one of the main differences between a paralegal and a solicitor is that whilst I’m still a legal expert in commercial law, I’m not as expensive as a solicitor.
Terms and Conditions
Are your contract terms and conditions as robust as they could be? Maybe you ripped them off a website. In which case, they’re terms and conditions designed for a business with different strengths to yours and they won’t be fit for your business purpose.
You may only find out when you land in court for promising something you can’t deliver, or when you try to collect payment for something not included in your terms and conditions
Let me develop terms and conditions that are fit for your business purpose. Your terms and conditions must be designed to protect you and your business from liability, and have the strength to allow you to start legal actions against anyone who breaks your terms and conditions. It is vitally important for the survival of your business.
Or maybe things are already going wrong with a contract and you need help putting it right. I can help to protect you personally and professionally through your business processes, terms and conditions and business documents.
Don’t think of developing a robust contract or terms and conditions as an expense to your business (it’s tax deductible)- think of it as vital insurance for your future.
My Terms and Conditions were missing a vital element allowing a high-profile London university to legally wriggle out of paying my invoice. George King of Glengyle Consultants produced a new set of Ts and Cs addressing this, and several other weaknesses I wasn’t even aware of. Since then, a similar incident was nipped in the bud, when a different client paid 24 hours after pointing out relevant clauses in my Ts and Cs. Thanks George, this one incident saved me more than double the cost of your services.
Lesley Renwick, UberElla Media
As someone passionate about the survival of every business, I always advocate drawing up a shareholders’ agreement when setting up a new company.
The purpose of any shareholders’ agreement is obviously to protect the interests of shareholders. But more than that, your shareholders’ agreement will:
- Regulate sale of shares in the company
- Set out shareholders’ rights and responsibilities
- Define elements of protection for minority shareholders
- Define how important decisions will be made
- Govern how the company will be run
My role is to ensure your shareholders’ agreement contains all the necessary specific, important and practical rules relating to your company and the relationship between the shareholders and management of the company.
It may well be at the start you trust everyone totally and nothing ever goes wrong. I truly hope that’s how it works for you but experience shows that 95% of the time things do go wrong.
That’s when you need your shareholders’ agreement to fall back on.
Sadly, family members, friends and investors fall out. Circumstances change and people may need their initial investment back more quickly than envisaged.
Not only do you risk losing precious relationships, you may find yourself landed with expensive legal costs and an acrimonious legal dispute. Setting everything out in your shareholders’ agreement from day one can save a great deal of heartache, pain and money.
Customer Who Won’t Pay?
One of the most common types of client work I get asked to do is how to deal with a customer who won’t pay.
There may be a multitude of reasons why they delay payment. Frankly, as long as your contract is robust, your terms and conditions are clear and you have delivered your service as promised, the customer reasons for non-payment are not my concern. Starting the ball rolling about getting that money back for you as quickly as possible is my concern.
This is one area where the differences between what a solicitor and a paralegal can do, are very clear.
My job is to send out an initial letter, explaining in simple terms where the terms of contract are met and why payment is required. There will be clear warnings about the consequences of non-payment. Any extra consequences that may be added, such as daily additional interest charges (depending on your terms and conditions).
The majority of time, one letter from me is enough. If necessary I will send out further demand notices.
Where I can’t help, is if the situation reaches debt recovery, bailiffs, magistrates or county court judgements. At that point, you will require a solicitor’s advice. I will never abandon you in times of such stress. I have trusted legal associates I can refer you to should it reach that stage.
If you have a customer who won’t pay, give me a call and let’s see if we can get your money in the bank quickly, avoiding expensive court and solicitor’s costs.