Legal Author

About Legal Author

The Legal Stop is a straightforward online business using information technology for the public good. We aim to make the provision of legal services accessible and transparent for people and businesses alike. We provide affordable and transparent diverse legal services on a fixed fee basis. Our services include: Fixed Fee Legal Advice from UK Solicitors and Barristers, Fixed Fee Document Drafting and Legal and Business Document Templates.

Traits Every Entrepreneur should have

Do you want to run your own business? Are you up to the challenge?
  1. Enjoy what you do and be good at it.

Most people become entrepreneurs because they are passionate about their products, passion is a key ingredient for every entrepreneur and without passion even the most exciting venture becomes a job like any other. It is important you find what you are passionate about before starting your venture as that passion will push you thought any difficulty you might encounter during your journey.

2. Plan and execute

Time is precious and time management is an essential skill for every entrepreneur. As your business grow you will have more things to juggle thus it’s essential that you learn to prioritise and plan your say ahead. Nowadays there are many apps that can help you organise your busy schedule so that you won’t miss another meeting!

3. Keep an eye on the small print

Running a business can be fun but it should not be taken lightly as there are many legal requirements that must be met. Always make sure you have a fully binding agreement with your customers and suppliers as disputes can be costly.

With a busy schedule it is sometimes difficult finding the time to keep up to date with legal requirements; nowadays there are many companies that provide legal services online which are just a click away.

4. Be the gamechanger

Behind every successful entrepreneur there is a mission to change the world. Remember you are in business for a purpose, you are the gamechanger. You can achieve your goals and if you work hard you can also shake up the status quo of your industry.

Are you up for the challenge? Remember we’re here to help you!


 

5 Business Trends You Should Not Miss in 2015

Our collection of 5 top trends that are on track to become popular in the New Year

Digitalisation of payment methods is well under way, and just when we thought that contactless cards, online payments and e-vouchers is enough, smartphones came to change our way of thinking.
There are three main mobile payment methods at the moment: Apple iPhone 6 payments (backed by Visa, MasterCard and American Express), Mobile Transfers, offered by most High Street banks, and PayPal app.

Whilst they are mainly used as a small peer-to-peer payments at the moment, many entrepreneurs have spotted a window of opportunity in attracting smartphone users to shop with them.

In October 2014 major UK supermarkets announced that they will introduce pilot mobile payments system in the first half of 2015.

You don’t have to be big to accept mobile payments. You can either build your own app (which is actually a good idea anyway), or use a readily available service like iZapp or PayPal.

There are more and more things you can print out using a 3D printer. Nowadays you can print with concrete, plastic or even nail varnish.

Houses built (or rather…printed?) entirely by 3D Printers are out there already — developers anticipate that they will cut building time to as little as 2 weeks.

Thinking of your own business — maybe you can improve the manufacturing of your product by investing in a 3D printer? That’s something to think about in 2015.

With increasing amount of data we put online analysing scripts will continue to grow. Facebook runs a lot of data analysis to work out what kind of content we like.

From your online posts marketing companies will find out about your wedding and suddenly you will see everywhere on the net ads for brides-to-be.

Thanks to data analysis you are now able to access amount of information that was not available to advertisers before. Your ads will become more personalised which in turn will increase your ROI.

On the other hand, managing a growing amount of information will become challenging, so it’s better to start learning your Google Analytics now.

The process of putting into a cloud seems to be everywhere and it may have already reached your data, contacts or financial package run on the computer.

Actually, if you use any of the Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar or even android-based smartphone) — it all runs in a cloud.

There are numerous advantages of keeping your processing in the cloud. You don’t have to commit your computer’s power, as all the calculations are done on the server. Furthermore, you will never lose your data ( the service provider will do the back-up for you), and you can access it from anywhere.

Maybe 2015 will be the year of moving your own system into a cloud?

Whatever you intend to do in the New Year, whatever your pursuits, missions or struggles are, we will always be here to help you!

How to Make Sure You Are Getting the Right Document?

Getting the right legal contract or business document could be tricky. Here’s how to choose the right source, so that you can get a peace of mind that doesn’t cost the earth.

1. Do I need to see a solicitor?

Generally you don’t need to, unless the transaction recorded in the agreement is of high value, complex or prescribed by law (it is a legal requirement to have a solicitor involved) e.g. conveyancing. But if you need to have that document sorted at 2am in the morning surely a lawyer is no there to help.

2. What kind of documents can I get online?

You can find a vast array of legal providers claiming to sell the best documents for you and your business, but many are of dubious origin. How do you know the document you are buying is legally binding and up to date with current laws?

Only legally trained professionals keep up to date with legal changes, when choosing a legal provider online for your legal and business documents you should make sure they are properly trained.

3. How can I customise a document template?

Legal document templates are basically ready to go. What you need to do is simply fill in your details. They generally come with comprehensive guidance notes helping you with the tailoring.

Don’t worry about the legal jargon. Leave it to the wig-wearing guys. Good document templates are always written in plain English, so you won’t be confused.

4. But will it survive the Court???

You may wonder, how a document downloaded off the Internet can survive the scrutiny of the wheel of justice? It is possible, provided you have made sure your template is from a reputable legal provider. It’s sometimes worth paying a bit more to get it from a trusted place.

Trust me, when it comes to legal issues — better safe than sorry!

Watch Dave talking about how he used Deed of Gift Template

8 LEGAL QUESTIONS ANY START-UP NEED TO ANSWER

You have an idea and courage to make it happen. Great! This is the first step to become a successful entrepreneur! However, there are lots of questions you may have before setting up a business. You may be worried about legal documents you will require and where to register your company.

This post will briefly explain what you need to know before starting up. For more specific advice, please do not hesitate to contact us!

1. What structure should I choose?

In most cases, a business in the UK will be a sole trader (self-employed), limited company or a partnership. Whilst being a sole trader requires less paperwork, and you may want to choose this route if you want to try your idea on a smaller scale, a limited company offers better security since you have the limited liability protection and better value in terms of taxation.

2. Can I use that name?

There are certain restrictions of what you can include in your company’s name. For example, sole traders can’t use anything implying they are registered as limited company. This includes “ltd”, “limited”, “public limited company”, “plc”, etc. You can’t suggest that you are connected with any government or local authority, or include offensive words.

Full comprehensive list of restriction in names is available on Companies House website: http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/about/gbhtml/gp1.shtml#appA

3. How can I protect my idea?

The level of protection largely depends on your idea, product or service. If you have a product that is unique and innovative, you may want to apply for a patent to protect it. You may also want to protect your name and logo as trademarks (how to do it in our other blog post – link).

If your piece of work is original and fixed, i.e. written or recorded in some way, be it a song, e-book or video presentationcopyright law will automatically protect it against being used by otherswithout your permission.

4. Do I need a licence?

In some cases, you will need to apply for a licence to carry out your business. The easiest way to find out which one you need is to use Government Licence Finder https://www.gov.uk/licence-finder.

5. Do I need to register for VAT?

There is no obligation to be registered if your turnover is less than £81,000. However, you may want to sign up voluntarily.

6. Do I need to pay my National Insurance?

Sole traders are responsible for their own national insurance contributions. Depending on your earnings, the appropriate class of national insurance contributions will be applied to you (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/working/intro/selfemployed.htm). You will have to pay National Insurance for your employees as well.

7. How do I employ people?

If you need some help with your business and want to employ someone for the first time, there are six basic things you need to check. https://www.gov.uk/employing-staff . You may consider taking on an apprentice, in which case the Government support is also available http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Employers/Steps-to-make-it-happen.aspx

8. What kind of legal and business documents do I need?

The type of documents you need depend on the business structure you chose i.e. sole trader, limited company, partnership, the type of business and your industry. Standard documents include contracts of employment, non-disclosure agreements, terms and conditions of business, privacy policy, cookie policy etc.

We’ve got more than 150 document templates that are ready to use and come with guidance notes. If you need any help or if you are unsure about which documents you need just get in touch as we are happy to  help you!

Setting up your own business  may not be that complicated, it requires a bit of time to get familiar with all the legal requirements and most of all determination to succeed.  We are here to help you build a successful business so feel free to email us, call or get in touch via social media!

Social media changes – quick survival guide

Social media can serve a variety of purposes – it could be your way to engage with your customers and share latest news about the company, and special discounts to attract new clients. You probably have a Facebook fanpage, with a group of loyal fans liking and sharing your content, a Twitter profile for microblogging and customer service, or even a Linkedin company page for B2B interactions.

If you use them on the daily basis, you may have realised they’ve been playing around with the design for some time and that they are now gradually rolling out new layouts on their pages.

This means that your current background, cover or logo, however beautifully crafted and calibrated, may soon look overstretched, pixelated and cropped, if not scrapped altogether.

Whether the bright, shining vision of the social networks’ innovators has already been bestowed on your profiles or you’re waiting with baited breath for the forthcoming changes – this guide is right for you.

1. Facebook cover stays the same

Facebook’s new fanpage features almost the same functions, as the previous one. The only difference is that they are located in different places, to make it easier for you to access your insights, apps and pictures from one place, without the top tab limitations.

Rules for the cover photo are the same: 851x315px, with logo at least 180x180px (although we recommend you to make it 500x500px)

Here’s a helpful template for you to download and create your cover.

Facebook cover

 

2. Images and thumbnails

When you post something on Facebook, you can include a photo or a thumbnail of the link you’re posting. Watch out! The rules for your business fanpage are different from your personal timeline, so you may need to resize some files to fit in the new restrictions.

TIP: Stick to the 252px X 484px dimensions to both pictures and thumbnails. Is the safest option to make sure your fans will see the picture in full, without any changes made by Facebook.

Untitled-2

3. Roadmap of the new panels

The new Facebook page feature animated panels with all the data you need at a glance. The standard limit of apps (3 tabs features) has now been lifted, so you can include as many as you like. You can also include your address, telephone number and website details right at the top of the page, without having to sacrifice precious characters in description section.

side

TIP: Your insights, apps, posts and pictures will be moved to the new layout, so you won’t lose anything. If you want to access the old-styled insights, click on the […] button near “messages” and choose “View insights”

Facebook is also introducing some new functions and algorithms changing the way users see your posts, and how they are distributed throughout your fanbase. It’s quite complex and still in test phase, but means you will have to change the way you share and what you share, for your posts to go viral… but that’s the issue for another post.

4. Twitter changed like never before

Untitled-4Twitter changes might be the most confusing of all. When you log into your account first, it will look normally, with your background and news feed with all the tweets of your followers.

Search box is also where it used to be… it’s just that box with your profile info and cover that looks suspiciously new.

 

The real change is visible on your actual profile, i.e. the page people go to see your own tweets.

Here’s the list of changes there

New cover image, with big space to express your innovation

The cover image space is massive, and could be used for a much more sophisticated design, than the old cover, “hidden” under the text about your company. You can use the 1500px X 500px picture, just make sure you won’t have any text or pictures within 70px of the picture top and bottom borders – they might not be visible on all resolutions.

Untitled-5

Facebook-styled timeline

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Farewell to the products and services on LinkedIn

As of 14th April 2014, all products and services subpages on your LinkedIn page has been discontinued, and will no longer be available. If you haven’t already, it’s the right time you switched to the showcase pages.

lk

You can have many showcase pages attached to your business page, and the attachment will be visible on both pages. However, your showcase page will live its own life, i.e. will have its own followers (that are not necessarily the followers of your business page – and vice versa!).

Apart from that, it will feature its own posts and pictures, and – most importantly – its own cover image, with the dimensions of 974px X 330px.

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The brave, new world of social media

Some of you may think new changes give you more space to express yourself, add more pictures, apps and craft bigger, more innovative covers. Other will disagree and would rather go back to the old style. The truth is, social media want to be as creative as possible, and they think about different solutions to keep you engaged. However, if you disagree with the proposed changes, share it!

The networks’ executives are not deaf, and they will listen to their users, scrapping the bad ideas. This happened with the proposed abolition of a hashtag on Twitter (which has already become an integral part of our culture).

The bottom line is simple – always keep up to date to stay ahead of the competition. Taking advantage of the new features of social media can give you the edge to be the best.

The Legal Advice has just moved to… Twitter!

The best things in life come free. But does this apply to the legal services?? Being a rather conservative industry when is the word affordable ever heard? Well, at The Legal Stop we wanted to shake up the industry’s status quo once again, changing the way people think about legal services.

 

The power of social media

At The Legal Stop, we want to make the law and the provision of legal services accessible and affordable. We have already introduced our revolutionary Legal App, designed to provide professional, quality legal services for start-ups, SMEs and individuals, at reasonable prices, on the go, and without sign-ups or long-term contracts.

How to make your Friday REALLY attractive?

We pride ourselves in providing top quality legal services that don’t cost the earth. However, we didn’t stop there. We are so committed to the start-ups and small businesses that we decided to offer professional legal advice for FREE. Yes, absolutely FREE of charge!

Find your personal legal adviser on Twitter!

We believe in the power of social media and modern Internet technologies, and that’s why we decided to take our legal services to Twitter and offer them for free! Every Friday, you will be given an amazing opportunity – simply ask any question – share your legal issue or concern, and we’ll get back to you with an answer!

Legal Friday – how to join?

What you need to do to take part? Simply tweet your question using hasthag #LegalFriday and get your answer right on Twitter! Asking your legal questions is now easy as pie, and it’s absolutely free. You can ask about any legal issue or concern you’ve got – the only thing you have to remember is the 140 characters tweet limit.

The beauty of simple solutions.

Have you ever struggled with very simple issue and needed straightforward, quality and affordable legal help? Most solicitors could charge £100s for mere consultation, and you have to go through all the paperwork and hassle of legal procedures. Now you can get the legal advice during your lunch break, tweeting it in, right between favouriting a great dinner recipe and retweeting your friend’s party invitation.

YouI can’t believe it! What’s the catch?

Well, you probably live in the old world, with old habits. At The Legal Stop we believe in thinking different and changing the way people think about legal advice. As long as you tweet your question on Friday, using #LegalFriday, you’ll get an answer straight to your Twitter feed.

140 chars too short?

No problem whatsoever, simply use our Legal App to browse through more than 150 legal document templates ready to download, top quality bespoke document drafting or more comprehensive fixed fee legal advice – all available in one place, on the go, in seconds, right at your fingertips.

Now, that’s what we call a professional commitment to legal services.

What if Steve Jobs was a lawyer?

This week, we have celebrated the 30th Birthday of Macintosh. The revolutionary invention changed the way we thought about computers. At The Legal Stop, we like being innovative. The launch of our Pay-As-You-Go Fixed Fee Legal Services Scheme allows anyone to access quality legal services on the go, for very low fee. We’re sure this will change the way you think about legal industry.

The first Mac design seems a little bit oldy now, but it was unbelievably innovative in 1980s.

The first Mac design seems a little bit oldy now, but it was unbelievably innovative in 1980s.

The 20-year-old Steve was working in a garage with his friend Steve Wozniak – they both created something that was a milestone in computer revolution.

It might sound odd today, but they weren’t the first ones to introduce a personal computing machine at all. In fact, there were a couple of these already on the market, and people thought computers should be used for big scientific calculations, rather than searching for a chocolate cake recipe and sharing funny cats pictures.

The questions is – how did a garage-based boy manage to entirely shake up the whole concept of computers?

The answer is pretty simple: design, quality and innovation. Instead of trying to make another big, complicated computing machine, he decided to stand out of the crowd and invent a computer that will come with user-friendly, robust and easy-to-use interface.

30 years later, can you imagine entering a couple of complicated commands in the terminal prompt?

 A couple of sample commands in a text-based system needed to handle Wikipedia. Just a teaser of pre-Jobs computer world.

A couple of sample commands in a text-based system needed to handle Wikipedia. Just a teaser of pre-Jobs computer world.

Now, let me ask you what you think about the legal services industry today. Isn’t it something like the command prompt? You want a simple legal document. Just imagine all these procedures, going through lawyer’s assistants, booking appointments, struggling with a list of forms and declarations to sign.

All in all, you end up with a bunch of long-term agreements, “it depends” as an answer for all your questions, and an invoice that you don’t even want to look at.

What if you could buy a document or order a legal service just as simply as you buy a song on iTunes? Sounds like a dream? At The Legal Stop, we just made it happen.

We aren’t just another legal company. We think different – and we are different. We have invented a Pay-As-You-Go Fixed Fee legal services app that will suit all your legal needs. Do you need an employment contract? Or maybe you want a loan agreement? Legal advice or court representation? We’ve got an app that will cover it all in seconds, and yes, it’s just a few clicks away.

GO to our APP

Our app comes with friendly, easy-to-use and fully secure interface, so that you can have all your legal requirements at your fingertips.

source: freedigitalphotos.net

Another great deal! I just tapped in the app and sorted the contract out. Thank you, The Legal Stop!

Today’s business is a 24/7 thing, especially with start-ups building up their client base. Just picture this – it’s 2am in the morning and you need a legally binding document to close the deal with your client. And, as always, (start-up entrepreneurs will tell you…) need it NOW.

Well, you can try your best waking up your solicitor with a phone call or rush through the Internet websites offering different templates – but are you sure this will give you a legally binding document that will secure your interests?

The Legal Stop is here to help – simply unlock your smartphone, go to our app and tap into a list of documents. 60 seconds and you’re done. Sign off the document and relax watching your business grow.

You don’t have to worry about the costs, either. Our offer is straightforward – no long-term contracts, low fees and quality documents whenever and wherever you need.

We’re so inspired about the start-ups and SMEs that begin with a small idea and grow with us to become successful multi-million companies. Steve Jobs has passed away, but he left us with his wisdom. If he was a lawyer, he would surely invent something like our legal app. We feel that we have to continue his legacy.

Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.

4

Shareholders’ Agreement

A Shareholders’ Agreement is a legal contract that sets out the rights of a company’s shareholders and offers protection to each and all of these individuals. Once a company has more than one shareholder it is important to have an agreement like this in place because standard company law may not quite fit a company’s particular circumstances.

The key individuals in a company often rely on the Articles of Association, one of two constitutional documents, to protect their rights but in truth these do not cover shareholders’ rights completely or in every situation. In the absence of a shareholders’ agreement some potential issues that can arise are:

  • Removal of a director by half the shareholders passing an ordinary resolution;
  • Directors’ versus members’ rights in key areas such as pay, benefits and dividends;
  • Significant decisions being made by a majority of directors, overruling individual directors who may be majority shareholders;
  • Conflict over the direction of the business;
  • Disagreements about the shareholders’ exit strategy;
  • Amendment of the Articles of Association stripping away shareholders’ protections by a 75 percent majority of shareholders;
  • Deadlock resulting in a failure to resolve disputes that goes on to affect the smooth running of the company.

To avoid these and other issues, a Shareholders’ Agreement is usually put in place to protect all parties. The three most common agreements are:

Shareholders’ Agreement – Protection Minority Shareholders

Designed for companies with both minority and majority shareholders and where new shareholders are joining or the company wishes to change the terms of the existing relationship. These agreements protect the interest of shareholders with less than 50 percent of the company’s issued share capital. Generally, minority shareholders are in a weak position under company law as a simple majority will overrule them in most cases. This is not always appropriate. For example, in cases where an outside investor, such as an angel investor, is involved with the company, this party will often want more rights than standard company law allows. Having a Shareholders’ Agreement – Protection Minority Shareholders in place sets out the rights and duties of the shareholders and covers aspects such as the appointment of directors and how directors’ decisions are made. It also provides for shareholders to be directors, as this is not automatic under company law, and can cover other important aspects such as share transfers, confidentiality clauses, non-compete, non-solicitation and non-poaching clauses.

Shareholders’ Agreement – Protection Majority Shareholders

This legally binding contract protects those with more than 50 percent of the issued share capital in the company and is designed to cater for situations where new shareholders are joining the company or the relationship between shareholders is changing. The agreement covers the key aspects of shareholder rights including share transfers, a drag-along clause (ensuring minority shareholders cannot obstruct a sale of the company), confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation and non-poaching clauses.

Shareholders’ Agreement – Equal Shareholdings

This type of agreement is extremely useful in cases where two or more shareholders have an equal stake in the company, such as two shareholders each holding 50 percent of the company or three directors holding one-third each, common occurrences when firms are starting out. The Shareholders Agreement – Equal Shareholdings sets out the rights and obligations of all shareholders with respect to share transfers, how to deal with deadlock situations, along with confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation and non-poaching clauses.

Commission Agreement

A Commission Agreement is a legal agreement between two parties where an Introducer brings clients to a business. The relationship benefits both parties because the Introducer is paid a Commission for introducing clients and the business (Supplier) has the opportunity to increase sales. The agreement sets out how both parties will benefit from this arrangement.

A Commission Agreement is in some ways an agency agreement, where the Introducer is independent but acts on behalf of the Supplier. The Introducer cannot sign contracts on the Supplier’s behalf and does not sell their products or services. The relationship is purely about making the introduction and once this has happened the Supplier takes over the client relationship and makes the sale.

The Commission Agreement sets out the nature of the relationship between the Introducer and Supplier and clearly states the rights and obligations of both parties. Under this Commission Agreement the Introducer is only paid once the new client enters into a contract with the Supplier. It allows flexibility in how Commission will be calculated, which is generally based on the income that the Supplier receives from the new client during a specified period of time, known as the Introduction Period.

The Commission Agreement will cover introductions made when the agreement was in force even if the contract is later terminated. This means that Commission cannot be reneged on, which protects the Introducer. The Agreement also ensures that payments are only made to the Introducer on income that is actually received by the Supplier, which protects the Supplier in the event that they do not receive any or all of money due.

This Commission Agreement, written in plain English, provides for a complete statement of the limits of the Introducer’s authority and sets a boundary between the two parties so that the Supplier avoids any unexpected obligations under the arrangements. It also makes clear what the Introducer’s authority will be when marketing to potential clients, e.g. within a certain sector or geographical area. This avoids situations where the Introducer oversteps their authority and also prevents competition with the Supplier’s own sales or marketing initiatives.

The Commission Agreement contained in the business folder on our website protects Suppliers and ensures they are fully compliant with existing legislation, particularly with regards to non-competition, confidentiality and anti-bribery, all of which are essential these days in protecting Suppliers and ensuring compliance with the law, including the Bribery Act 2010.

Deed of Gift

If you have ever wondered how to transfer an asset legally to another person then this article will be of interest to you. People do this reasonably regularly and it is actually a very straightforward process, as long as you have the correct legal document in place. Known as a Deed of Gift it will allow you to transfer ownership of practically any asset; not just money but also shares, property or a range of other assets.

The key feature of a Deed of Gift is that no payment is given by the party who is receiving the asset. This is what distinguishes the legal agreement from a contract governing a sale or a loan agreement. In legal terms the person giving the gift is called the Donor and the person receiving it is called the Donee. Importantly, as the agreement does not involve a payment the signing of the contract must be witnessed and the witnesses must have no interest in the arrangement.

Gifts are currently exempt from Inheritance Tax if the Donor lives for at least seven years after the gift has been made, as long as the Donor does not retain an interest in the gift. However, if the Donor dies within seven years then Inheritance Tax will be payable on the value of the gift. Spouses or registered civil partners are generally exempt from Inheritance Tax, as long as they have a permanent home in the UK. In addition, gifts made to some organisations, such as charities, museums, universities and community amateur sports clubs are also exempt.

The following are the most common Deed of Gift agreements:

Deed of Gift Shares
This agreement allows a person to transfer shares or other securities in a company as a gift to another individual. It is important to note that ownership and interest will be transferred completely and the Donor will retain no rights after they are gifted, including to dividends. Before transferring shares the Donor should also check to ensure there are no restrictions in the company’s Articles of Association that would prevent shares from being transferred in this way.

Deed of Gift Property
This is a common agreement and is used to transfer property or land as a gift from one person to another. It should be noted that, as the gift is unconditional, the Donor will retain no rights or interest in the property or land, which would include rent.

Dead of Gift Object
This is a flexible agreement and covers many different types of asset including works of art, antiques, classic cars or wine collections. As with any other Deed of Gift, once the agreement has been signed the legal ownership will pass immediately to the Donee and the Donor cannot subsequently take ownership back if they change their mind.

Cash Deed of Gift
A Deed of Gift agreement can also be created to cover cash transfers. As with all Deed of Gift contracts the Donor will not retain any rights of ownership or repayment, differentiating these arrangements different from loan agreements.