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David Hughes

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Description of myself:

I am a company lawyer. But I try hard not to be a typical one. Or at least, to be a modern one. I tweet, write blogs, run networking events and write books to share the legal knowledge I have picked up over the years.

Background:

I qualified and worked as a corporate solicitor in a commercial law firms around Hertfordshire. I have worked with all sizes of company over the years from the very smallest family run businesses to the owners of the London Aquarium on their sale to the Madame Tussards group.

What I do:

Some years ago, I decided to leave the big commercial law firm I was working for and set up a niche company law consultancy called Canopy Law. I now spend my days using my expertise to help company owners in two ways:

Firstly, by advising company owners on how to manage the business relationship between themselves via a ‘Shareholder Agreement’. A Shareholder Agreement is sometimes referred to as a ‘living will’ for a company.

Secondly, by assisting company owners through the process of buying or selling a business.

I decided when I founded Canopy Law that the legal process needed to be kept really simple and sensible – for example, I don’t charge by the hour. Everything I do is on a fixed fee. The guiding principle is that, “it doesn’t matter how long it takes to cook the meal, it is the final taste that defines the quality”.

Why I decided to become an author:

A lot of what I do is simple, or at least, it seems simple to me. The most valuable advice that I provide is not usually on the finer detail of the Companies Act but is in sharing the benefit of my years of experience of what other company owners decided to do, what the pitfalls were and how they avoided them.

I have found that most client meetings I attend to discuss shareholder agreements follow a familiar script. The company owners ask similar questions, have common worries, want to achieve matching outcomes and, in response, I give them the same answers.

I realised that I could provide the benefit of my experience via an easy to digest guide that is available to all company owners, wherever they are, at any time of the day or night, for a fraction of the cost of meeting with a solicitor. The result is ‘Shareholder Agreements: the 60 minute guide’, which explains the typical issues that arise when company owners want to put in place a shareholder agreement and how to overcome them.

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