Looking for a law firm to help with contracts

Like many organisations, we’ve got a stock contract that we use with most of our clients. It’s fine, but it’s been a while since we last had it reviewed, and we’re thinking that it’d be useful to get it reviewed, updated, and checked over with the current kinds of work that we do in mind.

If anyone can offer a recommendation, then we’d really appreciate it!

In particular, we’re keen to find someone who:

  • Appreciates the ‘plain English’ approach to contracts; we want to make sure that everyone involved - both at ODSC and at our client, properly understands what the contracts are saying and uses them as the basis for the relationship rather than just seeing them as a tick-box exercise to be ignored/worked around/dreaded
  • Understands IP in the context open source licensing; we build lots of open-source software and we need to make sure that our contracts help us to protect what we make
  • Understands that our co-operative approach extends to our clients; while we need to make sure that we’re defended well, we’re trying to do what’s fair rather than whatever we can get away with.

Any leads much appreciated!

Rob

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https://www.anthonycollins.com/who-we-help/social-business/co-operatives-and-mutuals/ - I’ve not used this firm myself, but I do know Cliff Mills (https://www.anthonycollins.com/why-choose-us/meet-our-team/cliff-mills/) and happy to recommend him. Also Ian Snaith is part of the team there. Ian and Cliff are probably the two leading legal brains on co-op stuff in the country.

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Hey Rob,

We have a really good solicitor who is pretty savvy with coops, and definitely ticks the ‘plain English’ box. I’m not 100% sure how much he knows about IP/open source but I think it would be worth me introducing you. Shall I do that over email?

His name is Patrick Andrews and his website is http://barefootlawyer.uk and http://www.newforestadvisory.com/

Polly

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We use Moorcrofts LLP who have drawn up our services agreement for projects and support agreement.
They specialise in open source and IP, particularly Andrew Katz, who we also brought in to advise on a large public sector project. He is brilliant and a really nice guy, thoroughly knowledgeable and passionate about all things open source.
I am not sure about the plain English bit, tbh but I can share the services agreement with you and you can see for yourself (and use it if it fits what you need).

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Hi Rob. I recommend Alia Rahim. She has loads of experience but just stated a business on her own so is open to cut you a good deal. Message her on rahimalia@gmail.com
David

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Hi Rob, we got a lot of help from Bristows for work on some tricky IP on a not-for profit project. Hannah.Crowther@Bristows.com converted an obscure T & C and Privacy notice which had been created for us by another law firm and was getting more and more complicated into plain language, cutting it by about a third. She also did some work for us on contracts. Very user friendly and very on message. Flagged up commercial considerations but was supportive of collaborative approaches to business and alternative points of view. Highly recommended.

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Thanks, everyone! Plenty of people to follow up with.

@polly - if you could introduce me to Patrick via email, that would be fantastic.

@aaron - if you could share that doc with me, that’d be really helpful to see their work. My email is rob.redpath@opendataservices.coop

I’ll get in touch with some of the other people mentioned here, too.

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Just to add https://can.coop can help draw up contracts too and are a co-op themselves. I don’t think they really get open source IP stuff that well though.

Also Wrigley’s have charity and social economy (including co-ops) specialists, see https://www.wrigleys.co.uk/charities-and-social-economy/

Andrew really knows his stuff.

He’s been giving legal advice to Open-Source Hardware projects for years. :smiley: