Farrer & Co has a leading and broad commercial practice covering corporate, employment, commercial disputes, data protection, intellectual property, commercial contracts and financial services. As commercial issues often cut across multiple areas of law we can offer joined-up, expert advice across all the relevant areas.
The firm is experienced in offering advice in both the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) contexts, international and domestic, and has a reputation for providing clear, pragmatic advice on complex and often business-critical issues.
Clear, intelligent commercial contracts are of vital importance to all organisations. Whatever the nature of the relationship, a well drafted contract will
- reduce uncertainty and the likelihood of disputes
- reflect the level of risk you are willing to accept, and
- provide solutions when things do not go to plan.
Contracts serve a wide range of critical functions from underpinning revenue and managing costs, through to acquiring IT and other infrastructure, outsourcing and exploiting resources and assets. We realise how important it is for your key contracts to be legally robust, clear and, from a practical perspective, usable. Small mistakes can be costly, both financially and in time wasted on resolving avoidable issues.
At Farrer & Co, we can meet your requirements. Whether you need short, practical templates for low-risk ventures or you have to draft and negotiate detailed, bespoke contracts for high-value/high-stakes business-critical arrangements or other transformational projects. Understanding your organisation and the activity you are undertaking, your drivers, priorities and your concerns, as well as any relevant regulatory backdrop, are central to the service we offer. We will always provide a personal and thoughtful approach regardless of the size of the matter.
We deal with commercial contracts of all descriptions, including
- Contractual joint ventures and collaborations (UK and international)
- Supply chain agreements, agency and distribution contracts
- Supply of goods and services
- Brand and other intellectual property licensing and exploitation, including broadcasting
- Events and sponsorship
- Franchising, and
- IT and technology contracts.
We have a concentration of commercial contract work in a number of sectors, including education, research and development, media, publishing and broadcasting, fintech, arts and heritage, charities and not-for-profits, and sports. In these areas industry knowledge is critical to the contractual arrangements that are entered into. We take the time to get to know our clients and the sectors they operate in to ensure that the contracts are fit for purpose.
As a full-service law firm we have the expertise and resources to advise on all aspects of any proposed transaction, for example, financial services regulations, charity law, data protection compliance, employment, property, safeguarding, procurement and tax.
We regularly advise both customers and suppliers of IT products and services, covering all aspects of technology development, procurement, supply and support.
We act on a range of IT-related matters including
- Acquisition and adoption of technology infrastructure
- Software, website and application development
- IT service agreements (hosting, support, cloud-based solutions and SaaS)
- Data warehousing, and
- IT outsourcing.
We act for software houses and IT outsourcing firms and can draft agreements that acknowledge the agile approach commonly adopted in IT projects.
We understand that ownership and licensing of intellectual property is at the heart of all IT contracts, which is why all of our commercial contract specialists are skilled IP practitioners.
Whether in relation to IT, technology or other business-process or service-delivery outsourcing, we have specific expertise in drafting outsourcing agreements and advising in relation to all phases of the outsourcing life cycle, from pre-procurement planning, tender stage and initial contract negotiations, through to project implementation, dispute resolution and exit management.
Bringing in a third party to perform a business function will always create risks in terms of suitability of the outsourced service provider, performance and charging levels, and organisational “fit”, in addition to all other issues arising in respect of the transitional elements of the outsourcing.
Procurement principles and processes, particularly in the public sector, are strict and intricate, and specialist advice is required to ensure legal compliance. Not only are we experts in drafting and negotiating the contracts being let, our team of specialists can guide you through the entire process; from pre-market engagement, formulation of the invitation to tender to the appointment of the new supplier.
As a client you will have immediate access to our specialists in other areas of law, such as employment (especially important for TUPE considerations), data protection, intellectual property and governance. This gives you the reassurance that every legal element of outsourcing and procurement is taken care of both during the process and long after the contracts have been signed.
Whether as a core business activity, or as a means of accessing a new market in the UK or overseas, we regularly advise on collaboration and co-operation agreements and contractual joint-ventures. Having a well-defined project scope is critical, coupled with a clear sense of the required governance for that project, and the underpinning contract is then the place to establish the clear parameters intended to allow the collaboration to work and the project to flourish.
Collaborations bring into play a wide-range of legal issues, spanning intellectual property, employment, property, tax and financing and governance. We are adept at building focused and efficient teams of experts.
Advising on services and events contracts requires a deep understanding of your business and sector. For event owners in particular, our team of specialists take pride in arming themselves with the full range of facts, developments and business trends before any drafting even begins. This approach means that your agreements will always be tailored to your specific requirements, ensuring that you receive the full benefits of the undertaking while covering the key legal risks and adhering to all relevant rules and regulations.
We have drafted and negotiated contracts for national and local events including high-profile sporting fixtures, art exhibitions, international conferences and concerts.
Smartly drafted standard terms will add credibility and professionalism to your organisation and provide reassurance to both you and your customers. We recognise that, in an era where legal budgets are tight and competition is fierce, clients are increasingly seeking to reduce the time and cost involved in contract negotiations and drafting exercises and so commercially-savvy standard terms of business remain as important as ever.
We regularly provide bespoke template contracts and standard terms and conditions for clients to use in the day-to-day operation of their businesses, helping to reduce the time and expense of the contracting process and limiting legal risks.
It is easy for businesses to fall foul of consumer legislation and breaches can be costly, both financially and reputationally. It is therefore critical that consumer terms and conditions are accurate, clear and robust to avoid disputes and to maintain good customer relationships. We have experience in advising on consumer issues and drafting consumer terms for goods, services and digital content across a range of sectors including online business, education, property, financial services, travel and events.