Reducing risk by conducting a Commercial Legal Audit

In the fast-paced business environment a company may experience challenges which could ultimately lead to legal risk. This may be caused by a number of different factors, including not having the right contracts in place, not following best practice when it comes to use of your terms and conditions or not having or following the necessary legal policies. The result could end up exposing the company to financial risk such as fines for non-compliance, damages for breach of contract or damages claims. We, at Herrington Carmichael Solicitors, (recently named as one of The Times best law firms 2023) offer legal advice to UK and international businesses as well as individuals and have experienced commercial and compliance lawyers that provide a combination of legal expertise and pragmatic commercial awareness. With our wealth of experience and specialists in these areas of law, we are pleased to offer a new product to existing and new clients alike: a commercial legal audit as a solution to the risks identified above.

What is a commercial legal audit?
A commercial legal audit is an effective review of certain key contracts as well as certain policies to ensure that not only are your contracts adequately protected but also to ensure that you have the right procedures in place to make sure those contracts are working for you. The audit consists of advising on certain elements of key contracts and policies as well as ways of incorporating a business’ standard terms and conditions. The review is done from a commercial law perspective and all advice is based on English law.

What are the benefits of a commercial legal audit?
Reviewing or streamlining certain policies may result in cost savings. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Further, by identifying legal blind spots, and operational inefficiencies, a business would have created the framework to introduce solutions which could lead to an improved business and importantly, to reduce exposure to financial risk such as fines or damages for breach of contract.

What other solutions can reduce legal risk?
Besides conducting a commercial legal audit, a business can also reduce their exposure to risk by implementing good corporate governance systems or strategies such as integrated business management systems, routine internal audits, training management system or risk management. Some of these systems can be implemented internally and others may require external specialists.

In the area of risk management, in-house legal teams are doing more to identify and mitigate legal risk however, on the downside, these teams may not have the experience or specialism in certain areas of law or may be biased by the interests of their employer compared to specialist firms of solicitors. If your business does not have an in-house legal team, or a legal team with specialism in risk management, there are specialist firms of solicitors that will be able to assist a business to identify and manage existing legal risk.

In conclusion, by outsourcing a commercial legal audit to a specialist firm of solicitors is a cost-effective mechanism for a business to review its core contracts and policies, without the business having to allocate vast resources and time to conduct the audit itself.

We can help your business by conducting a commercial legal audit on your behalf. If you would like to discuss this further or would like more information, please contact our commercial team.

Cesare McArdle
Partner, Commercial & Construction
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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