Looking for business legal advice to get you ahead in your business?
You're in the right place.
- If you need to protect your business in an optimal way...
- If you're unsure of the steps you should take...
- If you do not know the right questions to ask to get to the place that you need to be...
- If you do not know whether or not you have a legal claim or defence...
- If you do not know whether your contract is quite right, or will do what you need it to do...
- If you want to make sure you have the intellectual property rights you need for your business to succeed...
We can help you move into a position to ask the right questions, make informed decisions, achieve realistic outcomes for your business and get the most out of the law for your situation.
About Hall Ellis Solicitors
Hall Ellis Solicitors was founded by Leigh Ellis, a dual qualified software engineer and expert IT lawyer in the UK.
After working with a number of firms in London, Leigh decided to open a firm specialising in advice to businesses with interests and legal affairs in the technology space. His interest was spawned when studying IT and artificial intelligence, and how so many facets of business relied on IT law. So much so, he went on to do a Master of Laws in intellectual property, majoring in software.
He applies his IT skills and the law to help businesses through legal shortfalls, growth spurts to solve legal problems, and absorbs the law so that you do not need to. His clients can reduce bad decisions and avoid the worst of the effects that the law can have on their business.
What we're about
We provide incisive legal advice you can act on to move your business towards the position that you need to be in. We take a business focused approach to legal advice and deliver it in a straightforward and no-nonsense way.
How does our advice help you?
- better organise and manage your legal relationships
- right-size your legal relationships with business partners
- simplify your legal affairs, become more productive
- avoid legal overkill and the complexity which comes with it to slow down and bloat your business
- move to a position to focus on the things that matter to your business, and less on legal matters
- clarify your legal position in contracts, disputes and your intellectual property rights and decide the best play for your business
- know whether you have a good claim or defence in legal proceedings, and your strengths and weaknesses
- reduce your reliance on repeat legal advice
Due to our high level of specialisation and experience, we are familiar with the legal issues which confront businesses in their different flavours.
Get to the point faster, with commercially relevant advice. More importantly, avoid what is not legally relevant, and moves that you should avoid. You can save a fortune in legal fees.
And we have the background, knowledge and experience to fit the expertise.
What our clients say:
"We had Leigh look over the contracts. He put perspective on where we were at and what we should do before we agreed terms. Once I knew what I would be signing up to, there was no way I was going to expose my business to the sort of risk they were asking us to sign up to."Rob Udwin, Director / Metafour International Limited
How We Work
We advise you so that you are able to better understand and take control of your legal affairs, choose from alternatives and present it for reuse when the need arises for future decision making.
We advise using direct, straight-talking language without the jargon. Your eyes don't glaze over.
We are very clear about our areas of expertise. If we cannot help with what you are asking us to do, we tell you. Straight away. We may be able to refer to you another solicitor or appropriate expert to help you. Just ask.
How we approach advising your business
We act in the best interests of our clients in an open, timely and cooperative manner, and do so by taking a number of steps.
- We ask you your requirements, objectives and what you are hoping to achieve
- We confirm our understanding of what you need, in writing
- Focus attention on what needs to be done to support your objectives
- Check for the sort of things you might have missed or not be aware of
- Apply our technical knowledge to better understand your unique position.
Tools we Use
We also develop highly specialised software in-house to remove the heavy lifting from delivering legal advice, including document management, email processing software and administration. We developed own software so that we have tools that help us work as efficiently as it can be. We don't have to pay licence fees to others which would appear on our invoices or end up embedded within our charge rates - which would be hidden in plain sight from you. Our IT infrastructure also means that we minimise administrative work that slows down delivery of legal services. It means that fewer people and less time involved handling your affairs, saving on time charges for you.
How much it will cost?
We tell you the likely costs, and the time expectations to deliver at the beginning. You know what you're getting and how much it will cost before making a financial commitment. For all business interested in engaging us, we give written cost estimates. We are upfront about how and what we charge, so that our relationship is built on a firm foundation. To provide you with good costs estimates, we need to know a few things.
- We need to know what you want to achieve, obtain, or your goal. We can do this quickly over the telephone or by email. If your situation is a complicated, we might ask for a summary by email. We can send you queries sheet to prompt you for the relevant backstory.
- Where there is a backstory - this could be draft contracts, signed contracts, communication history - we usually need to see the documents. This may include emails and letters sent and received. Also, we need to see anything else you think we should know, or that you think is important.
So, we ask you to put us in the picture. Provide us with context. Then we can see what you want to do from your perspective.
- We also ask you to tell us whether you are working to any particular deadline. If you are, we need to know upfront so that we can deliver to your expectations. We do not want to let you down by not delivering on time to your expectations; we might have commitments to other clients that we cannot move. If we cannot do what you request when you need it by, we tell you. Upfront.
- If what you have asked us to do is outside our specialist areas of knowledge, we tell you. Sometimes if we can help by engaging specialists in areas of law required to help for you, so that you have a central point of contact.
- We will look over your brief materials. We take the time to prepare a package confirming our understanding what you would like us to do, the time within which we are able to do it with the costs estimate.
Where we are not able to estimate costs reliably (for instance, we might not know the whole story at the time we are asked), we provide rough costs guidance based on the resources likely to be required to perform a defined scope of work. This promotes financial certainty for you, so that you know what you have a good idea what would be charged.
Once we receive your approval, we will ask you to transfer us a sum of money account of our costs in advance of starting work. We will also notify you of our Terms of Business and request anti-money laundering documentation as required by the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2017. We will also ask you for a sum to be paid on account of our costs. When the funds are received, we start work and work to the programme.
How reliable are your cost estimates?
We provide the best costs guidance we are able to provide on the information we receive at the outset.
When we receive your papers and give us your brief, we read over them quickly to provide you with a turnaround around time. At this stage, we read your papers quickly to get a good idea of the sort of things that are legally relevant to what you would like to do, so we get a good idea of the legal issues and legal questions that need to be addressed. We are not trying to solve the problems at this stage.
How Complications Happen
Where you are working with another person, such as negotiating a contract or in a legal dispute, there are uncertainties which can't be avoided. You may not be in complete control of the process or what happens with another person. There's the other side – you may be negotiating with someone or in dispute with them. You never know how demanding they will be and how they will react to what you want to do.
Legal matters can complicate, very quickly. Disputes are a good example. When we look into the background closely, we sometimes find problems which changes the scope of what needs to be done and our advice to you. These are often matters that can't be founds in hundreds of documents (such as emails) when first received. We have advised on disputes where one, single, document changed our advice. It can be difficult to tell where the problems are without getting into the detail of the back story. This is why we usually provide estimates, and not fixed price quotes.
What happens then?
If we come across something that would cause us to go over our costs guidance, we will tell you in advance. We will tell you that what needs to be done which was not originally foreseen. Usually, there are 3 options:
- Stop work although and incur no further fees;
- Request further information to clarify matters, and estimate costs; and
- If we do not need any further information or you would like us to proceed without it, we re-estimate costs to complete the work once we have the further information from you.
But if I send you a lot of documents, won’t the costs be more?
We are technology specialists.
Much of corporate and business communications are contained in emails. We developed powerful custom made software which sorts and de-duplicates individual emails in email threads quickly. We do not pay expensive recurring licence fees which add to our overheads, so we can (1) reduce the time we spend working on your file, and (2) spending our time doing what we are best at doing - helping businesses get their legal affairs sorted out quickly and providing a good service.
What do you do to reduce your costs?
We take a structured approach to our work. We find that it works well for clients, because it reduces our overall costs of working with you and makes for a better-managed process for delivery of legal advice and services.
We also ask our clients to help us out and brief us in a way that optimises our efficiency. For instance, some disputes are document heavy. There are ways that you can help us to help you better.
If we are able to receive your documents in an electronic form, it saves us from handling paper – which these days must be digitised anyway. It allows us to take advantage of modern technologies to sort them, date them and work with them efficiently. It is essential that we do so to deliver the informed legal advice.
So, we do our best to work with you to reduce our administrative work. Some of our clients are willing to take on some of the load to help out. We do not see working with our clients to reduce costs as a conflict of interest. We are able to help out our other clients more quickly.
We have run litigation which has involved many, many thousands of documents. We are organised. We measure the time to locate documents we have received from you in seconds, not minutes.
Why payment in advance?
We like being solicitors and helping business to solve problems. The process helps us prioritise your work and keeps our overheads low. That means we are able to offer our services as cost-effectively as possible.
What expenses do you pass on?
We include expenses in our invoices that are passed on to you for payment in our cost estimates. We call these 'disbursements'. Disbursements include expenses such as filing fees (say with the Intellectual Property Office), courier's costs, sums for paid searches, where they are necessary. Where it becomes clear that a disbursement will be incurred that we have not estimated, we will tell you as soon as we know it will be required.
Do you give fixed price quotes?
Most of the work we do cannot really be done on a fixed fee/quote basis because of the uncertainties involved. Those uncertainties usually involve the conduct of the other side in a dispute and what a court may require as a part of advancing your case through the courts. In many disputes, there is no way of knowing how some cases will be resolved or how long the case might last, other than in really broad terms.
Also, the effort required to achieve a particular result is unpredictable. More often than not we have a good idea, however many things that might happen (such as an obstructive approach taken by your opponent - which can be deliberate) which increases the level of effort required to move towards the desired outcome.
In some cases, a result cannot be obtained unless the case is moved to a full hearing before a judge. Despite the volume of law reports that are produced every year, cases that come before a judge are few in number relative to the number of disputes which arise. Disputes tend to settle before the trial.
We work hard with our clients to reduce these contingencies, adopt methods and approaches to increase certainty for our clients.
What we do not charge
- We do not pass on our own charges for sending letters (such as postage and facsimiles). It is included in the charges we estimate or fix by agreement with you.
- We never apply an ‘uplift’ of any sort, ever. In order to charge an “uplift”, it must be mentioned in a solicitor’s Terms of Business. We do not mention them in ours.
- VAT for companies and individuals resident outside the UK for which we have received the required anti-money laundering documentation and relevant tax information (such as a VAT number).
We do not accept secret commissions which are commonplace in some professions. A secret commission is a payment where someone works for you and accepts a “kickback” from someone that they refer work, such as a subcontractor. The secret bit is that you never come to know about it. If someone does make a payment to us, we always account to you for the payment, in writing.
What if it is not working out?
There is no long term benefit to either you or us if at the end of our retainer you are left dissatisfied because of costs. All you need to do is call us or email us and tell us if you want to stop working with us. We will stop immediately if you want us to.
We guarantee it.
Our Terms of Business
Our Terms of Business set out the terms of contract between us when our clients retain us. We encourage our clients to review them carefully and raise any doubts about the meaning of the terms set out in them.
What our clients say:
"Leigh went above and beyond the usual client relationship we have experienced with other legal companies. The end result was that we were able to manage our response effectively, and achieve a satisfactory outcome to what was a very distressing period of time."Rowland Johnson, Chief Executive Officer / Nettitude
"We received help with understanding the extent we could negotiate on the legal terms and check the agreements to make sure we were not being sold short.
When you have many contracts to review in a short space of time, it is too much to take in and think through clearly. Leigh prioritised the work for us, came back to us quickly so that we could decide how we wanted to proceed."Mattias Söderhielm, Owner / Hattrick Limited