Running Your Business
The fact is, good legals = good business. Getting your legal processes and documents right will reduce risks, save time, and help you make sales.
Three areas that are often challenging for smaller businesses are:
Plain English Law can help you manage and reduce your risk with all of them.
Contracts and standard terms of business
Plain English Law does commercial contracts in plain, everyday English:
Contracts are at the heart of all business transactions. You make contracts every time you sell to a customer, buy from a supplier, or take on a new member of staff.
But have you ever just skimmed the terms in a contract without really reading them, crossed your fingers, and signed at the bottom? Are you hoping your clients will do the same with *your* contracts?
Too often the contracts we use in daily life are written in legalese so dense even lawyers struggle to understand them. Pity your customer as they slog their way through page after tedious page of a contract that tries to deal with every eventuality, no matter how minor or unlikely.
You don’t speak legalese to your customers, so why write your contracts that way? Using legalese clauses because you think you *have* to, knowing full-well that your customers won’t read or understand them, is not good business. Why risk getting into a conflict when your client comes back to you to complain: “This isn’t what I thought I signed?!”
When we draft a contract for you, we’re writing about your business, not ours. You should understand every word. So should the customer, supplier, or business partner you send it to. After all, it’s a document that describes what you are selling them and how your relationship with them works.
At Plain English Law, we’re on a mission to change how contracts are written. We don’t write your contracts ‘for the judge’. We write them for you, since you’re the one who is going to use them more than anyone else. (And in the unlikely event you do end up in court, let’s give the judge some credit… they can probably understand plain English too.)
In the UK, employers must provide each employee with a ‘written statement of employment particulars’. (Boy, that one just rolls off the tongue, eh?)
In normal English, it means you must have a written contract with each employee, and the contract must cover a list of topics set by law. You may also want additional terms to protect your business, such as rules against unfair competition by a departing employee.
We can help you do that without resorting to long pages full of aggressive wording that goes against the culture of your business. Instead, we provide concise, fair, friendly employment contracts that lay out in simple terms how the working relationship will operate.
We also advise on:
'How often have you skimmed the terms in a contract without really reading them, crossed your fingers, and just signed at the bottom? Are you hoping your clients will do the same with *your* contracts?'
Intellectual property licensing
Two forms of intellectual property (IP) come up repeatedly in business dealings: copyright and trademarks.
IP can frequently become a flashpoint when:
Often it’s fine to use someone else’s IP in your business — you just need their permission. (Normally, you would get permission by signing a licence agreement or another contract with licensing clauses.) However, using IP without permission is both wrong and risky, putting your business at significant financial and reputational risk.
On the other hand, imagine what happens if you discover somebody else is using your IP — a logo you’ve designed, for example — to help build their business without your permission?
We can help identify potential issues, and negotiate contracts to get the most out of your IP, and secure licences to use others’ IP where needed.
And we’ll use straightforward plain English to create the contracts you need to protect yourself — at either end of the IP transaction.