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Your business needs a lawyer

In recent times, especially during this period where the PRS is undergoing a seismic revolution, we steal ideas and systems from countries to make what we have a great deal better. So it is with the US where we analyse the detail of multifamily living, which they have perfected over 50 years of making the experience of renting a home significantly better than it has been. So we make those ideas our own.

The Harvard Business Review has recently looked at where lawyers should become involved in one’s innovation or business. Unsurprisingly, what they came up with was common sense: you involve your lawyer from the beginning… So let’s steal that notion too…

Too often, lawyers are the bad guys because they are seen as the killers of ideas and innovation, or they are left to navigate complicated structures, which have employed less than ideal, or no legal expertise, or they simply come in at the end when no other remedy is possible to sweep up the pieces.

We see this a lot at SLC, which is why we have a consultancy side to our firm that advises our clients in all aspects of their business. As specialists in Ground Rent/Service Charge collection and the PRS, we naturally get involved in all the downstream activities when all other remedies have failed. We are exceptionally good at what we do, but our principle interest is in making our client’s businesses more effective and efficient. We do that by our consultancy side being involved from the outset. Whether it’s drafting or reviewing leases, consulting on Section 20 works, advising on LRHUD policy, structuring AST’s or planning arrears strategies. We get involved right from the beginning to ensure our clients have the most robust systems in place to make their business streamlined and proficient.

Of course, we can only be effective if we are seen as an integral part of the business. In “How Google Works” Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg call this the “Horseback Law”. Essentially this involves, metaphorically speaking, riding up to a problem on horseback, making a quick assessment and mosey on. It can be as easy as that and often that is all we would need to do. The point is, that by being integral to your business, the relationship is such that to mosey on up is only a phone call away. On other occasions, we are there to offer detailed advice on more complex issues, which may require much more than a glance… But, having been involved in assembling the business structure, those more serious problems have already been risk managed.

It’s important to see SLC’s input as positive as we are there to maximise efficiency and minimise risk. Using us collaboratively, from the outset, ensures a holistic approach to our client’s business and one in which their mechanisms are sound and thorough.

Erica Dhawan CEO of Cotential, a global consulting firm sums up this approach in the Harvard Business Review: “Remember that including legal is not synonymous with defeat. Try inviting lawyers in at the beginning of a collaborative process, clarifying their role, and avoiding jargon-laden communications. Chances are, you’ll find that they are neither superheroes nor arch-villains, but rather a valuable part of your team”.

Jo Green, our Head of Commercial Operations agrees “ There is no doubt that where we are ‘embedded’ with our clients, the relationship makes for a positive, solution led approach. We know them and their business well and have usually had a hand in developing their systems. This results in effective debt management. In terms of the institutional PRS, this area of business is still rapidly evolving. We are finding that the more forward thinking participants involve us from the beginning to structure their downstream business effectively. Clearly, this will mean any action we have to take on their behalf in the future will have a very clear pathway to resolution and that is highly beneficial to our clients”.

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