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Waterfront review of the year 2013

Dec 5, 2013

We’ve set out some brief highlights from our last twelve months.

When reflecting on 2013, Waterfront’s Founding Partner, Carole Hailey, said:

“We’ve always believed that our clients are a weathervane for the economy as a whole and it’s been exciting to see the number of our SME clients who are launching new products and growing their customer bases, particularly in the last half of 2013. Also notable has been the increase in investment in the technology sector by private equity and institutional investors, from which a number of our clients have directly benefited. We get no greater satisfaction than when the work we do helps our clients achieve their business goals; and this year has been no exception. It gives us a great platform from which to head into 2014 and we really look forward to working with you during the next 12 months.”

January We started the year advising the private investors backing the successful management buyout (MBO) of BrandAlley UK, the UK’s leading fashion private sales site. Waterfront’s Head of Corporate Law, Matt Cunningham said, “It was an exciting, fast moving deal. Everyone involved worked hard to get it done within a short timeframe and over the holiday period. I’m really pleased that Waterfront was able to play a part in seeing the deal through to a successful conclusion. The MBO has given the business a new lease of life.”

In FebruaryMatthew Harris, Waterfront’s joint Head of Intellectual Property was appointed to the Law Society’s Intellectual Property Working Party. The Working Party reviews and promotes improvements in intellectual property law, practice and procedure. “There has been a flurry of activity this year in the field of IP arising both domestically and from Europe touching upon in one form or another almost every intellectual property right.  Hot topics that the working party has had to grapple with have included the new Unified Patent Court, changes to substantive European trade mark law and review and reform of the law of groundless threats.  This has involved submissions to government and the lobbying of the European Parliament. Much of this work will continue into 2014.”

It has been a busy time in the field of employment law. March saw our employment team giving their guide to recent and forthcoming changes at a seminar held in partnership with barristers, 7 Bedford Row. The talks were captured for posterity in this video of the event.

In April, Matt Cunningham’s corporate law work was back on the agenda, when he appeared in Finance Monthly’s Deal of the Month. Matt was interviewed about his involvement with software-as-a-service idea management platform, Wazoku, helping the company secure £500,000 worth of seed funding.

In May, Waterfront was to be found in London’s Tech City meeting entrepreneurs and startups at Central Working’s Open House event, as part of the Digital Shoreditch festival. Waterfront’s founding partner, Carole Hailey, commented, “I’ve been a technology lawyer for many years and have seen a lot of changes over that time, but none more so than right now. The energy and enthusiasm coming from Tech City is really exciting and we hope to get even more involved in supporting tech startups with legal advice.”

Continuing the tech theme, Waterfront launched LawBox:tech, an affordable package of legal services aimed at tech businesses, at the Business Startup Show in June. As well as offering free legal advice, free G&Ts meant Waterfront’s exhibition stand was never less than crowded.

And the gin was passed round again at Waterfront’s summer party, when our clients got to sample the formidable (yet delicious!) Waterfront gin cocktail: the Undue Ginfluence.

The summer party was a great introduction to Waterfront for Patrick Peake, our new corporate solicitor, who joined in July.

In August, after months of negotiations, one of our longest-standing clients finally got signatures on a contract for the design, build, licence and management of a complex Multi Channel Platform Agreement with one of the largest high street retailers. The details are confidential, so we can’t share the names, but suffice it to say that Waterfront Partners Alison Berryman and Carole Hailey burned the candle at both ends for many nights to ensure that our client had the best possible contract from which to deliver the project.

In September, Waterfront teamed up with the Happy Startup School to launch a new legal toolkit at their Summercamp event in Hyde Park. The Summercamp was packed with entrepreneurs and prospective startups, all thinking about their businesses from the perspective of happiness as well as profits.

We were definitely feeling happy in October, when Waterfront appeared in both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK directories, which highlight the top law firms and lawyers in the country. The Legal 500 noted that Waterfront Solicitors has “a very genuine motivation to help clients succeed”, which we couldn’t have put better ourselves… This was demonstrated when our intellectual property team successfully assisted Shark AG in concluding a worldwide co-existence and settlement agreement with Monster Energy. The settlement involved a substantial payment being made by Monster Energy to Shark AG.

Happiness continued to be a theme in November, when we were pleased to announce some staff promotions. Our current trainee solicitor, Katie Broadley  will be qualifying into the IT and commercial contracts team as of April 2014 and Fifi Conroy, our current Practice Manager, will be starting her training contact with Waterfront in the New Year. She will be replaced by the newest member of the team, Lindsey Rigg, who will be stepping into Fifi’s Practice Manager shoes in January.

In December, we have tried to spread the happiness by supporting the use of technology to empower children in some of the world’s poorest countries more widely by making a donation to One Laptop per Child. The charity aims to give every child a laptop, making the best use of technology to help kids learn, share, and create together. Our donation will buy three laptops. Finally, some of our clients will have noted the absence of a Waterfront Christmas party this year; but don’t fear, we’re already planning a spring extravaganza – details to follow in the New Year!

With a very heartfelt thank you to all of our clients, big and small; we hope you have a very merry Christmas and here’s to a happy and prosperous 2014.