She left Eversheds over 4 years ago to set up her own training consultancy, Enjoy Legal Learning. Sarah is passionate about helping the construction industry understand the law they need to meet their business objectives, through Enjoy’s unique style of workshops, as a speaker, as a blogger, and as a guest lecturer for Salford University’s MSc in Construction Law and Practice. Property Aspects Magazine decided to ask Sarah a few questions…
Sarah, what can you do for a company or firm in the construction industry?
“Because we are in the midst of the deepest recession for a generation, terms are getting harsher, more risks are being allocated to contractors, claims are more prevalent, and companies need to really understand their risks and liabilities.
As I no longer get involved in managing disputes, I bring benefits to construction companies by helping them ‘think like lawyers’ and to read a contract from a legal perspective. This allows a construction company to really use the contract to their advantage, to negotiate over only those clauses which are critical, to avoid pitfalls of legal jargon, and to close any loopholes”.
“Ideally, companies need to understand the legal risks before they start the project, rather than when things turn sour.”
What makes you different to lawyers who offer this sort of service?
“By working with me, my clients will understand the ‘need to know’ elements of the law and legal practice as they apply to their business. My interactive workshops focus on their company, not my knowledge; and demystify the law. Not only will they learn the answers and where they exist, they will also get lots a practical toolbox of tips and techniques for solving more intractable legal issues. My courses help people to focus on what matters to them by using case studies, real life scenarios from key cases, documents that they will be familiar with, and my knowledge of the industry. This will give them confidence to use the knowledge in their job, and it will also help them to build on what they already know”.
“It goes without saying that I want my delegates to enjoy my workshops and events – which helps them to learn more, remember more and apply more of the information, tools and processes”.
So is there anything you are particularly keen to help construction companies with? “Obviously I’d love to help construction companies ensure all their contracts – whether one or one hundred pages, oral or written; suit their needs and objectives, and guide them to getting the most out of their contracts”.
One of my pet hates is letters of intent, because although they are widely used, they are poorly understood. If a letter of intent is a contract, then the amended Construction Act applies and the letter needs to include certain requirements on payment and adjudication. But sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t! I have put together a handy ten-point guide to help companies decide if their letter of intent is a contract and what to include.”
FREE 10-point guide to Making Letters of Intent work for you
Sarah has been Highly Commended in the SCL Hudson Prize competition in 2011 for her paper on “Limits and Incentives in Letters of Intent”. She has prepared a handy 10 point guide to help make letters of intent work for you. If you would like a copy, please email your request to Sarah via: firstname.lastname@example.org