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Business solicitor in Northampton & Milton Keynes



Chris Robinson
legal consultant

Clarity and experience in corporate law
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Publications, advice & information
(and the quiz)

Current hot topics

To keep right up to date, read my Clarity in Corporate Law Blog and subscribe to it.

For law firms, the following are products and services you could consider offering your business clients. For businesses, they are things to think about adopting or changing.

  • Data protection. This leaps up the rankings after the ICO's first fines in November 2010 — including 60,000 on a private company for the theft of a laptop with unencrypted data on it from an employee's home. Are your own security measures for home or mobile working adequate? A simple logon password does not meet the ICO's standards. See my article on this below.

  • EMI share schemes. A hot favourite, with a negative effective tax rate and the power to provide strong incentives to key employees without spending any precious cash. No dilution of equity if options are exercisable only on exit. See my page on employee share schemes.

  • New articles. The Companies Act 2006 has changed so much that it really isn't acceptable for law firms to be providing client companies with articles of association with minor tweaks from the old 1948/1985 form. They need a complete re-write, both for matters of substance and of style. Most clients don't need to change their articles immediately, though there are some important items to be added to existing articles at the earliest opportunity, including important terms about directors' conflicts and directors' indemnities.

  • New-style reduction of capital. Almost ludicrously flexible, allowing capital to be written off or returned by any company able to make a solvency declaration, an easy way to restructure the balance sheet and either cancel deficits or return money to shareholders tax-free.

  • LLP agreements. Every LLP should have one, but some are badly done - including those based on well-known commercial precedents. I have done a bottom-up re-write to produce a form that's second to none and reflects th way that most firms actually share profits and deal with capital. See my article on common faults in LLP agreements.

Read my published articles

I write a lot of articles about business law topics in my Clarity in Corporate Law blog. Subscribe to my blog if you like it. Many articles are also reproduced on JD Supra, the repository of online legal infomation. Some of the most useful blog articles for reference are linked to below:

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Excello Law and virtual law firms

Excello Law is a progessive "virtual law firm" - a law firm for the 21st century, with no traditional office, but delivering first-class service through its consultants, all of them senior lawyers, working from home offices and co-ordinated using modern technology. All my work for my own clients is provided by Excello Law. Excello Law is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is covered by professional indemnity insurance. It provides all the services you would expect from a commercial law firm, including client account facilities to protect client money, and its specialists in other commercial fields are always available if your work is outside my personal expertise, such as property or litigation. Excello law says:

Our model is simple: a law firm fit for the 21st Century offering businesses a compelling alternative when it comes to the purchase of legal services. Our structure as a virtual law firm means we have stripped away all the overheads and excesses associated with a traditional law firm, resulting in a new kind of legal services provider and a competitive pricing structure.

Click here to go to Excello Law's website. 

Excello logo             Excello Law on LinkedIn

The virtual law firm concept is quite new, so here are some articles about it.

Law Society Gazette July 2009

Legal Week October 2009

Times OnLine May 2010

Charlotte Business Journal (USA) October 2010

Why I joined Excello Law: Life in the Virtual Law Firm (by me, PDF) January 2011

Solicitors Journal (by Sue Boyall of Excello Law) June 2011

Washington State Bar Association March 2012 (see p15)

Chadwick Nott blog November 2012

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Value for money

For an  article on  large law firm charging rates and  value for money in legal fees, see the value for money page.

Self-help: legal links

I don't usually recommend self-help: as someone said, "a man who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client"! I've even paid lawyers myself. But here are some useful sites for business owners who might want to look up a detail or follow up a reference:

HMRC share schemes: lots of information on employee share schemes and (if you're courageous) the employment-relted securities rules. I always download the forms from here because they change every year. Don't forget your annual Form 40/42 return before 7 July if you have share options.

Legislation.gov.uk: most statute law and secondary legislation, kept almost up to date (statutes only) with amendments and repeals. There are a lot of warnings that changes have yet to be added.

The Model Articles (for companies incorporated or adoting them after 1 October 2009) and Table A for earlier companies from Companies House.  Have you updated your company's articles yet? Also webfiling to complete and file the commonly-used companies forms online, paper forms for download and webcheck for company searches.

AIM rules: again the best source because they change frequently.

BAILII: a public database of case reports and legislation. You need to know how to read case reports to make much sense of them.

Centre for Management Buy-out and Private Equity Research (CMBOR) - not a legal site, but an academic study centre for MBOs and private equity. Not all research is public.

Please tell me about any broken links.

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Friday Afternoon Quiz

Things a bit quiet? Here are some teasers based on some of my interests and background (and the odd legal bit):
  1. Which is the oldest English statute still in force?

  2. Who is the eponymous hero of the cartoon stories created by Goscinny and Uderzo?

  3. There are ten ways to get out in cricket. List them. 

  4. Name a Pope in the last 100 years whose papal name did not include Paul or Benedict. You needn't give his number.

  5. Which Thunderbird pilot rode to his craft on a sofa?

  6. At which battle did Lord Grey, from Milton Keynes, betray the King and his army?

  7. Which modern country was (largely) at various times a territory of Burgundy, Holland, Austria, France and Spain?

  8. Which city was founded by twin boys?

  9. Where in England would you find a carillon (a musical belltower) erected as a war memorial, and the world's largest bell foundry?

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Want to know more? Contact me on 07770 601840.

 
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Chris Robinson, who is a solicitor with a practising certificate (SRA no 126999, admitted 1983) provides services only through  and on behalf of Chris Robinson Ltd which does not provide legal services to the public but which advises and provides services to clients only through and on behalf of law firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and subject to the firms' terms of engagement.  Your attention is drawn to  the further information and the terms of use of this site on the legal stuff page. 2010 Chris Robinson Ltd.