iLaw gets behind innovative art installation at the RSA

iLaw gets behind innovative art installation at the RSA

City of London commercial legal firm iLaw is focused on assisting some of the UK’s most innovative projects and companies, which is why it has pledged its support to a new art exhibition The Enki Experience at The Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

The new art installation will be available to view for the next 12 weeks at the RSA and focuses heavily on the concept of sustainability and purpose beyond profit.

As part of its mission to invest in projects that seek to advance discussions on a broad range of topics, iLaw is excited to be teaming up with sculpture Ellen Mulcrone and Alex Lambie – the entrepreneur and multi-media artist behind the campaign.

The exhibition is made up of a distinctive wooden sculpture, as well as audio recordings and sounds that seek to engage guests on the issues that face the modern world, including the pressures placed on corporate entities to balance the needs of shareholders, employees and the wider environment.

Speaking about the exhibition, Alex Lambie said: “ This installation opens a programme of work to engage individuals, communities and businesses with concepts, tools and practices that offer alternatives to the rivalry and greed through which consumer society has previously perceived problems and sought solutions.

“Our work shares a new prism through which to innovate with a true connection to compassion. iLaw’s support has been key to the development of this installation and further events starting in 2020”

Tom Clark, a Director at iLaw, said: “Commercially astute businesses are increasingly recognising the need to embrace sustainability and are under greater pressure from customers, shareholders and their peers to act ethically and ensure that the environment is considered in their actions.

“The Enki Experience takes a unique approach to this issue and we are proud to be sponsoring this forward-thinking and engaging exhibition.”

To raise awareness of the issues highlighted by the installation, the team behind the project hope to hold an event in 2020 aimed at organisations involved in corporate social responsibility and patrons of the arts.

To find out more about the Enki Experience, please visit https://www.withenki.org/rsainstallation

iLaw assists TV personality and entrepreneur, Spencer Matthews, with launch of low-alcohol drinks company

iLaw assists TV personality and entrepreneur, Spencer Matthews, with launch of low-alcohol drinks company

Spencer Matthews’ The Clean Liquor Company has released its first product, CleanGin, after seeking expert advice from innovative legal firm iLaw.

The London-based practice works with a variety of start-ups and entrepreneurs, assisting with the creation of contracts, the sourcing of funding, and importantly, the protection of intellectual property.

The experienced team at iLaw worked closely with Spencer and his team on a range of issues, including the registration of the brand’s trade marks, to ensure the product was delivered on time.

The firm was excited to work with the former reality TV star who created the “ultra-low” alcohol CleanGin. Bottled at 1.2 per cent ABV and containing only two calories per 25ml serving, the drink has been designed as a new healthy choice for the growing number of people seeking alternatives to high alcohol spirits.

Spencer Matthews, the founder of The Clean Liquor Company, said: “Sobriety is a lifestyle choice I made a few months before becoming a dad. I quickly realised that the drink choices for the sober curious were limited, mainly made of sugary and unhealthy options. So, I worked with a great team to build a premium no/low brand and flagship product that offers a new option for people.”

CleanGin will be available from January in nearly 500 Sainbury’s stores across the UK as well as being served in some of the country’s top pubs and clubs.

Justin Ellis, a Director at iLaw, said: “We work with a wide range of innovative brands that are fundamentally changing the sectors in which they operate. We have a passion for providing proactive, forward-thinking advice and support so it was great to team up The Clean Liquor Company, which is leading the way in the area of ultra-low alcohol beverages. We are delighted to see that the launch has gone so well and we look forward to providing ongoing support to this exciting brand.”

iLaw Employment lawyer responds to Com Res study on “sickies”

iLaw Employment lawyer responds to Com Res study on “sickies”

Com Res working with the BBC has released a report on “sickies”,which found that two in five adults would fake a sick day if they just needed a day off.

In response to this Julian Cox, Head of Employment at iLaw believes that the acceptance of sickie culture may just go beyond wanting additional days off and feels employers should take heed of this research.

Julian Cox, Head of Employment at iLaw, said: “As the evidence in this survey suggests, there may be a ‘sickie’ culture in many workplaces and that raises questions about why employees feel the need to have unauthorised time off, or feel that it is fair to do so.

“In today’s high strung work environment, it is important that employers speak with staff to find out what issues are affecting them, so as to provide solutions that would limit the number of sick days in a year. It is easy to trivialise the word sickie and assume that people are only using them to catch up on their favourite Netflix series or recover from a hangover, but there are many reasons for people pulling a sickie.

“For some, it may be that they experiencing a mental health crisis and do not feel they are able to have an open and honest conversation with their employer, while for others it could be related to issues with caring for another, such as a child or elderly relative.

“Although there are provisions in the law for these scenarios, sometimes employees are either unaware of these or feel that using them could have a negative impact on their career and employment.

“Tackling sickie culture is important due to the cost, disruption and lack of productivity it creates but If a company is experiencing a significant number of sick days then they may need to evaluate the work environment to remove the toxicity that leads to ‘sickies’.”

Top tips for avoiding contract disputes in the tech sector

Top tips for avoiding contract disputes in the tech sector

Contracts and projects in the IT, tech and telecoms industries can cause immense amounts of pressure for parties on both sides.

Due to the rapid changes in these sectors and the demand for improved services at a lower cost, many businesses face contract re-appraisals and re-negotiations, which can often lead to disputes and disagreement.

Regardless of your position within a dispute or your relationship to the project in distress, the main focus should always be to manage the situation effectively.

This is where it is important to have expertise and experience in dispute resolution at hand.

We have worked with a wide range of clients in these sectors on various disputes and conflicts and over many years.

Calling upon our considerable experience, we have put together a list of points for businesses to consider.

Make sure it is in writing 

It may seem obvious, but many intended agreements are made orally or in a very loose fashion on paper or via emails. These types of potential agreements may end up being deemed unenforceable, so far better to put the matter beyond doubt and prepare a carefully drafted, written contract.

This should set out what both parties envisage as the outcome of the contract and the responsibilities and obligations of each business. Contract law can be complex, as can the process of negotiation, so one should ideally take legal advice.

Obligations

Any contract should set out what is expected of each party and what the remuneration and consequences for failing to meet the obligations should be.

If an obligation is not laid out in a written contract, then it could be difficult or impossible to enforce it at a later date.

In addition, no business should accept any risk over and above that which it is comfortable with.

Laying the groundwork early on, and considering every likely scenario, will pay dividends should a dispute arise.

Be clear

The key terms should be drafted in simple and clear language.

Whether it is a service or goods which are being supplied, a written agreement should set out the parties’ expectations.  In the majority of situations a detailed specification will be required; otherwise there may well be a dispute at a later date as to what exactly was being sold.  Express clauses also need to be included dealing with matters such as performance levels and the timing of delivery.

Spell out clearly what processes will be used for monitoring and reviewing performance and what recourse there should be if the agreed standards are not met.

Exit Strategy

A contract should allow for early termination (particularly from the user’s point of view), by providing break clauses under which a contract may be ended.

Provision should also be made for early termination in the case of breach.

The parties will also want to agree which clauses of the contract, if any, shall continue post termination.  An example might be provisions concerning confidentiality or perhaps even some restrictions on the poaching of staff.

Maintain a record 

Where possible, all written correspondence between the parties should be kept and safely stored, with back-ups.

Should a dispute arise, or a relationship fundamentally breakdown, this may provide evidence that can be used to support arguments concerning the intention of the parties or the construction of clauses in the contract.  It will also assist in proving when complaints were made and what losses were suffered.

In the modern age, this may also include instant messaging logs and WhatsApp data. Where telephone calls are made instead of sending an email, make a note of the time called and what was discussed. This can help with recollection in future. If you are particularly concerned about your relationship with the other party, follow calls up with an email confirming everything relevant which was discussed.

Do research (due diligence)

In a world awash with information it has never been easier to access details about a potential business partner. Take time to make sure they have the necessary expertise and check whether they have the means to pay you for the work (or if you are the user, that the supplier has the means to pay compensation if something goes wrong). There is nothing wrong with asking for references or proof of previous results.

Changes 

Things can and do change during a contracted period of work. It is vitally important that any changes that are likely to affect the initial agreement are made in writing.  A clear process for “Change Control” should be included in the contract.  Among other things, this will set out what additional work is “in scope” and what is “out of scope”; the latter possibly attracting further charges.

Be level-headed

If you are running a business then it is reasonable to assume that you are emotionally invested in its success and so it is easy to see how disputes can become quickly heated. If possible, try to take a step back and keep level-headed. Don’t escalate a dispute if you don’t have to.

Indeed, the Courts have made it clear that they expect suppliers and users to try and work together to overcome problems which might occur.

Speak to us

One of the best ways to avoid disputes and litigation is to seek advice early on from professionals who understand your field. When iLaw was founded, it was created with a vision to help those businesses and entrepreneurs in the most innovative sectors to succeed.

By working with our clients, we have helped them to craft contracts that suit their needs and commercial goals. However, if things do go wrong then we have an outstanding record for negotiating settlements or enforcing our clients’ rights in Court.

To find out how we can help you to prevent disputes from arising, why not contact us

 

iLaw shares its thought on the firing of McDonalds CEO

iLaw shares its thought on the firing of McDonalds CEO

Steve Easterbrook the chief executive of fast-food giant McDonald’s has been fired by the company after he had a relationship with another employee.

The US restaurant chain said the relationship was consensual, however,  Mr Easterbrook was removed from his position as he had “violated company policy” and shown “poor judgement”.

Responding to the organisations actions, Julian Cox, Head of Employment Law at London legal practice, iLaw, said: “It is not uncommon for businesses to have some form of relationship guidance within their employee handbook, but in reality a lot of people meet and start relationships in the workplace, so it is extremely difficult to enforce a complete ban.

“While we do not know all the details in this case, there is some general advice for both employees and employers that they should consider.

“Employees should make management aware of new relationships in the workplace wherever possible. This should not affect your employment or rights but can help managers to understand your position.

“Employers meanwhile should include a relationship policy within staff handbooks and employment contracts. This will typically layout what is and isn’t allowed within the place of work.

“Of course, issues become a lot more complex where an office relationship is either non-consensual or breaks down and employers must be mindful of any allegations made of sexual harassment or discrimination and the potential disruptive effect on other employees and the business as a whole.

“Employees relationships are a complex issue and one that should be addressed with the help of a solicitor if possible, in terms of preparing a Relationship Policy and dealing with any individual issues that may arise.”