No doubt you will expect to see phrases like “including, but not limited to”, and “inter alia” and a nice safe, low risk article. Instead, as you finish reading, you should have a better understanding of how Legal/Commercial fits into and can contribute to every day Inzpire life.
The Legal/Commercial team at Inzpire has grown three fold within the last two years. Jessica Wood, our Commercial Director, has been at the birth of Inzpire – its incorporation at Companies House, when the Company boasted just three employees. We now also have Steve Brunning (Senior Legal Counsel) and myself, Gemma Grundy (Junior In-House Lawyer) in our team.
So, what does a day in the life of an in-house commercial lawyer actually look like? Although many of you would be surprised to hear it, we do not spend every day scrutinising text so small you need a magnifying glass to read it. Neither do we spend all day reading court judgments and writing “WITHOUT PREJUDICE” at the top of very important letters. Instead, we embed ourselves within the operational side of the Company, to immerse ourselves in what the Company is actually doing on a day to day basis so that we can better understand and assist our colleagues. The image above shows us doing just that, at DSEI 2015. Myself (second from left) and Steve Brunning (far right) are pictured with some of our HODS and our Finance Team.
It is not uncommon for us to spend many an hour poring over software language that is used within Mission Systems, or deciphering military acronyms within Managed Services. To truly add value to any project that the Company undertakes, a good commercial lawyer must have the ability to comprehend what they are reading within a document. But not only that. We read the entire document/appraise a complete situation, with the more technologically advanced teacher’s “red pen” that is track changes whilst challenging thinking, recognising potential risks and attempting to identify routes around complications.
Whether it is considering how to protect Inzpire’s intellectual property, ensuring that the Company’s legal documentation adequately describes our technical contribution to a project, or analysing Royal Jordanian Air Force terms and conditions, the job of an in-house commercial lawyer is perhaps more rounded than most would envisage.
The final thought we would like to leave you with is this. The next time you are inwardly heaving a sigh as the commercial lawyer in the room identifies another potentially irrelevant issue, or perhaps misunderstands an aspect of the project you are working on, ask yourself this. As the famous phrase goes, you reap what you sow. The more information and time we are given to do our job, the better and more valuable contribution we can offer.
And after all, who wouldn’t want a team of fully appraised, talented (ahem) commercial lawyers on their side?