Are you a CFO drowning in legal work?

8 Minutes

We kept hearing from CFOs and FDs working in growing businesses, who were originally given responsibility for managing all legal work but could no longer cope with the quantity or complexity of that work.

We have recently undertaken a Client Listening exercise to try to understand what our clients want, what we do well and what we can improve on. We have learnt a lot and will continue to work hard to hone our service so we can add value to every business we support.
One aspect of the exercise was to ascertain why our clients engaged us in the first place – what need had they identified in their own businesses. And we kept hearing from CFOs and FDs working in growing businesses, who were originally given responsibility for managing all legal work but could no longer cope with the quantity or complexity of that work.

This is not only enormously frustrating, but it can have serious ramifications for an organisation. Our clients have reported being constantly deflected from being able to lead and direct their actual business operations whilst also not feeling confident that they were successfully addressing their legal risks and obligations.

TLD Client Legal Director, David Bray, describes just such a scenario. Fulfilling multiple roles within the business, his client found himself in a viscious circle of being unable to devote the time needed to the legal work, which ultimately led to problems, delays, and yet more work: “He was swimming in work, throwing contracts over the fence to get them off this desk, just for them to come back days later with more to do because of the questions and follow up with lawyers.”

Solutions that were initially relied upon, can also lead to problems as another TLD Client Legal Director, Claudia Gerrard, highlights when talking about a business she supports: “The FD was spending too much time dealing with contracts and the issues they were throwing up were becoming too complex. He had four or five contracts being negotiated on his desk all the time. Their standard form contract had been cobbled together from supplier agreements/documents pulled from competitors or from the internet and were making every negative aspect worse. Their T&Cs were a real mish mash and as a result was putting the business at risk.”

Several of our clients had been engaging external lawyers to help but professed their dissatisfaction with the lack of continuity of service, slow response times and the unpredictability of outlay on legal spend. They also felt a disconnect between the legal world and the commercial demands of the business world. Looking for hands-on support, their external legal resource would stay at arm’s length, highlight the problems, and then push the work back on to the business. This is no solution if you are looking to lighten the load.

How Can We Help?

We can provide you with a dedicated business lawyer embedded in your business, working alongside your senior team for as many or as few days a month as you need. All our lawyers have business-specific legal expertise and will deal with your legal work with a shared vision of your business goals always in mind. TLD Client Legal Director Rustam Roy describes his approach: “My first question is ‘What is the business angle here?’. Whatever I’m doing, whether it’s helping on channel agreements or distribution models, I will always consider this and make the legal words reflect the business need. I want to facilitate the business and don’t get too bogged down in unnecessary legal stuff. I will, however, protect the business’s interests and am prepared to say no if I have to.”

Our clients have told us they gain huge value from having a legal resource who is able to provide wider commercial business advice to their senior management and who feels like part of their team. They also talk of the relief of having someone managing the legal work, knowing that compliance, governance, and employee matters are being handled by an expert, and that the business’s interests are being represented most effectively in contracts and supplier agreements.

Our lawyers take ownership of their client’s legal work, enabling them to concentrate on their own roles. Katie Denyer, Group FD of William Jackson Food Group recalls how before TLD Client Legal Director, Paul Forster came on board, everything used to come through her and speaks of her relief that, in Paul, she now has a trusted resource who deals with that: “All the businesses are now having direct conversations with him and whilst I’m kept up to speed, I’m not by any means having to get involved all the time, which has been a godsend for me. People just have trust in what he’s saying in the conversations that happen, which is really good.” And this sentiment is echoed by many of our clients. Gavin Marshall, CFO of Bristol Sport, told us of the genuine business benefit of having TLD Client Legal Director, Amanda Mallender working within the organisation: “She has built up relationships with our people, who these days proactively approach her for advice which helps us increase our efficiency while reducing our risk.”

Senior and experienced, our lawyers come into a business at a level where they can manage the legal process and literally take work off a busy CFO’s desk. David Bray describes how this works: “I ‘own’ a lot of their commercial documents that I maintain internally…They have a suite of documents – their general T&Cs, their Fair Use policy and product schedules – and I take ownership and maintenance of them. And I support the sales function as these documents are used in day-to-day contractual arrangements.”

If you are currently drowning in legal work, or want to explore a way to get better, more business-focussed legal support on a flexible basis, get in touch on 020 3503 8613 or We would be more than happy to discuss your situation with you.

The Legal Director

call: 020 3053 8613