Find the answers to your questions below, or alternatively, please get in touch if you have any other questions.
For years small and medium sized businesses have avoided the services of solicitors, finding the cost excessive compared to the perceived benefits. As business law and litigation specialists for over 15 years, Sajen has witnessed first-hand the damage that can be caused by businesses and individuals attending to their own legal issues. Here at Sajen we have decided that it is time legal services became affordable and manageable to businesses. Sajen Accord is a revolution in the provision of legal services. For an individually tailored and fixed retainer fee Sajen is retained for all your pre-agreed legal services. It is payable weekly, monthly or quarterly to best suit your cash flow. With Sajen Accord, you will have the whole team at Sajen at your disposal, whether it is for a five minute phone conversation, a brainstorming session or comprehensive contract development we are there to help you. It is much like you having your own ‘in house counsel’ but with greater protection and more skills at your fingertips. Think of it as another level of business consultancy or mentoring. Members on the Sajen Accord all share common strategic advantages:
- they benefit from a distinct lack of inhibition or a stifling fear of the unknown;
- they do not suffer the usual dread of the monthly time sheet or costly surprises; and
- they have their own personal body guards for their business to eliminate the risks rather than just solving the problems.
There’s nothing particularly unique about retainers and many professional service firms operate by them. However, they are all still based around the time it takes to do the work for the underlying basis of charging, with perhaps a discount for the certainty that comes with the retainer. The Sajen Accord model has absolutely no connection with the time it takes to do the member’s work, and the fee is the same. Essentially, for one small fee (payable by direct debit monthly, quarterly or annually) the member has Sajen on retainer for all its predetermined services.
As an overview, below are the general terms that explain how Sajen Accord works on a practical level:
- you apply and request a quotation for Sajen Accord for your business. You must disclose any current or potential disputes regarding your business at that time;
- you pay a weekly or monthly instalments of your retainer amount (the amount of the fee will vary depending on the size of your business and its needs);
- once the first payment is made, we conduct an initial legal audit of your business which includes:
- review of your terms of trade and business agreements (eg. supply, lease, sale, etc.);
- review of your trade mark and business structure status and advise on any deficiency;
- collation of your overdue debtors and getting straight to work on recovering the money; and
- advice on Personal Property and Securities legislation and how it may affect your business;
- we continue to provide further business legal services to you as and when required (as we are business law experts, certain services are excluded, such as family, personal injury and criminal law. A full list is provided with our Master Client Agreement);
- outlays and disbursements such as government agency fees (ASIC, OFT) and barristers fees are, as always, separately payable by you;
- litigation (meaning proceedings are commenced against you, or you commence proceedings against someone else) incurs a one off excess fee. However, the savings are substantial in comparison to running the matter on a time cost basis. With our alternative dispute and negotiation services available without further charge under the Sajen Accord though, we have found that our members are more likely to contact us regarding potential disputes at the outset. We can then nip those in the bud before they reach the point of litigation; and
- the term of Sajen Accord expires after one year, at which time you can assess the value of the services you have received. You are then more than welcome to request renewal for a further period.
Sajen Accord is backed up with the Sajen Warranty – a money back guarantee that if we don’t benefit your business we’ll give you your money back (subject of course to the terms and conditions of your retainer). This means that you do not take the risk with legal fees. We do.
In general, Sajen Accord is an annual retainer. This is renewable every year. Sajen Accord is essentially about tailoring our services to your needs. This means that we are willing to discuss anything from a 6 month retainer to a five year retainer. However, it is our view that the more involvement we have in your business over the years, the more you will benefit from our services.
Sajen Accord members are not limited to the extent that Sajen can assist in their business. Below is a general list of services that are offered to our Sajen Accord members:
- Finance and Capital – examining how you fund growth and working capital, and implementing new ideas and procedures;
- Employee Issues – Employment Contracts, HR policies (WH&S, Anti-Discrimination etc.);
- Mergers and Acquisitions – making sure you know what you are getting into and getting the best deal possible;
- Buy Outs, Exit Strategies – digging you out of the hole;
- Trade and Operations – how you interact with your suppliers and customers;
- Dispute Resolution and Litigation– because sometimes people disagree;
- Information Technology and process issues – no business can operate without computers;
- Structural Arrangements and Asset Protection – protecting your assets;
- Property –property takes many forms (i.e. real and personal) and they can all generate serious wealth if managed and protected properly;
- Intellectual Property – including copyright, trademarks, non-disclosure/non-compete agreements and all business negotiations with joint venture or strategic alliance partners;
- Debt Collection and Recovery Services – so you don’t waste your time begging people to pay;
- Structural Review –review of your current asset protection strategy and implementing appropriate changes and recommendations;
- Detailed Risk Analysis – to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business;
- Strategic Plan Development – a plan to ensure your ongoing success and growth in conjunction with other aspects of your business activities; and
- Trade Documentation – terms and conditions of sale, supply and service, non-disclosure agreements.
Within the first quarter of your Sajen Accord, the team at Sajen will attend to all your predetermined immediate legal needs. In the second quarter of your Sajen Accord, the team at Sajen will conduct a detailed business risk analysis over your business, and devise a plan to utilise Sajen’s additional services which will be carried out over the remainder of the year, at no extra cost.
For Sajen Accord members that renew their retainer, bi-annual reviews of your business will be conducted to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
If any of the following statements apply to you or your business, Sajen can help.
- I am experiencing problems with raising capital and business finance arrangements.
- I am not sure what my rights and obligations as an employer are.
- I am restructuring staff and need employment contracts.
- I am concerned that my staff might leave and try to start a business in competition with my own.
- I want to merge my business with another.
- I want to acquire another business into my own.
- I am buying into a company.
- I am selling shares in a company.
- I want to restructure my company.
- I am not sure if my assets are adequately protected.
- I have trade and operation agreements that have not been reviewed in the last year.
- I am considering entering into a new trade, operation or service agreement.
- I am in dispute with other shareholders and/or directors.
- I am in a dispute with my current business partner.
- I am being sued.
- I think I need/want to sue someone.
- I think that my company may be insolvent.
- I think that I might be bankrupt or need to become bankrupt.
- I have intellectual property that needs to be protected.
- I don’t really know what intellectual property is, but I designed all of the systems and procedures for my business and/or my business is unique.
- I am a trustee of a trust.
- I would like to establish a trust.
- I have property that I need to buy/sell.
- I am considering entering into a Lease.
- I want to break a commercial lease.
- I want to buy/sell a business.
- I want to grow my business.
- I am not sure that my business is running as efficiently as it could be.
- I am owed money and have a list of debtors that will not pay.
Sajen Accord essentially means that you have the entire team at Sajen as your in-house counsel. You will have access to all lawyers, paralegals and support staff that each brings something unique and their own experience to the table. You will also be assigned a Client Liaison as your first point of contact for any general queries.
Our current Sajen Accord members include a range of businesses, such as IT companies, publishers as well as mining and development companies. Sajen Accord will provide unlimited benefits to any business with plans to grow.
Some of the major benefits that our members already using Sajen Accord have found are:
- freeing up accounts staff or business owners/managers by handling all debt collection. The results are often much better too, meaning the cash is in your hand rather than that of a rogue debtor;
- improvement of cash flow through better debt collection techniques;
- avoiding litigation by negotiating solutions with other parties at the outset of matters rather than when it is too late;
- the peace of mind of being able to pick up the phone and receive a quick answer to a legal matter that may be playing on the back of your mind;
- small to medium sized businesses sign or enter into hundreds of agreements a week, most of the time without ever reading the terms. We provide a simple summary of the key terms so that you know exactly what you are agreeing to without having to read through lengthy document;
- advising and bringing business up to speed on the Personal Property and Securities Most businesses are unaware that if during the course of business they part with possession of property temporarily or without having received full payment, they run the risk of losing ownership of it; and
- trade mark audit and brand checking. Ensuring that your business name is protected (registering a business name or company name does not provide trade mark protection) and that you are not infringing another party’s name.
We would love to assist with the growth of your business, and can see real benefits of becoming a Sajen Accordmember now so that we can grow with you. All in all, once we are on board we will be able to help you achieve your business goals, and do so safe in the knowledge your interests are protected and your decisions are based on good advice provided by advisers with an intimate knowledge of your business. You effectively have your own in-house lawyer and strategic advisor all rolled into one and at a significantly lesser cost than would ordinarily be the case.
One thing we are constantly told by Sajen Accord members is the simple piece of mind they have knowing we are there when they need us, not when it is too late. The knowledge that they can be safe in running their business allows them to focus on what they do best. Ultimately, Sajen Accord actually works best if your business has plans for the future. So don’t delay, join today.
Sajen provides businesses with the ability to obtain proactive advice, before issues become problematic. This means taking the time to structure your business and assets properly, and have security measures in place to weather the storm of any claim or litigation. Sajen Accord members consider their retainer as an investment, or a form of insurance. That is, they pay a small weekly or monthly fee in order to have peace of mind that their business is bullet proof.
Now, to the million dollar question – how much does it cost? There is no set price, because the price is negotiated based on your legal needs, and how many services Sajen can provide to your business. In its simplest terms, Sajen Accord is based on the benefit that you/your business will receive.
As a point of reference, the usual services Sajen provides for its members, on a fixed price (or hourly) agreement would be in excess of $30,000 (excluding including litigation). The usual transactional and policy documents alone would exceed $15,000 if they were all prepared on a piecemeal basis.
The real value for Sajen Accord members is unlocked when they use the additional services available. Sajen legal can even participate in board meetings and regular strategy reviews; the extent to which you benefit from Sajen Accord is entirely up to you and the level to which you involve us. However, it is important you ensure that Sajen Accord is a cost that your business can afford going forward. The nature of the retainer ought to make it a deductible business expense, but that only helps if the business is making money. Remember, it will not be long and Sajen will no longer be offering Sajen Accord memberships due to its popularity among our existing members.
In negotiating your Sajen Accord retainer amount, the following factors are taken into consideration the:
- known work required to be carried out, including a work plan prepared after detailed risk analysis;
- relative urgency of the identified work;
- size of your business (including an approximated turnover, value, infrastructure and staff levels);
- industry type (some types are just far more risky and or labour intensive than others);
- ‘business maturity’ of the client (i.e. general experience and the level of active involvement likely to be required from our end);
- internal resources the client will utilise;
- past fee history of the client; and
- likelihood of unplanned or unidentified work, and the level of resources it will consume.
Our Client Agreement and formal terms and conditions are issued once you register your interest in Sajen Accord. Please contact our office if you would like a copy of these terms and conditions.
There will be an agreed excess for any litigation that may arise throughout the course of your Sajen Accord. This will be determined based on your risk and likelihood of either facing or making a claim. An agreed list of services will be determined prior to entering into your Sajen Accord membership. If at any time throughout your Sajen Accord you elect additional services, your retainer will be re-negotiated with you, or an additional fixed fee will be quoted to you for any of this additional work.
In saying this, small queries, conveyances, debt collection and minor matters requiring our attention will automatically be covered by your Sajen Accord membership. Please note that Sajen do not practice in the following areas of law:
- taxation or financial advice or services;
- family law;
- criminal law;
- personal injuries;
- workers compensation claims;
- wills and estates; or
- town planning.
There are a couple of ways that your Sajen Accord can be managed. Regardless of your retainer amount, your annual fee can be paid by direct debit either weekly or monthly.
Most Sajen Accord members have a ‘single’ retainer which serves to benefit their particular business entity. Such an agreement does not cover all of their requirements and is limited solely to one particular body. I.e. if your Company enters into a retainer, the scope does not extend to assist you with your own personal legal needs.
Our more successful Sajen Accord members utilise an overarching retainer agreement that covers all the entities they control. It is more expensive in real terms, but is generally much more cost effective than having a separate retainer for each entity. An overarching retainer reflects the benefits of each entity having the same legal representative (and the economies of scale) and the fact that often those various entities have intertwining relationships.
Sajen Accord is tailored to you and your business needs. This means that your friends and family are not covered by your retainer.
Sajen likes to meet with its Sajen Accord members at least every quarter to ensure everything is on track. Sajen Accord members are also assigned a Client Liaison. Your Client Liaison is responsible for ensuring regular communication between the firm and yourself, and to ensure matters are progressing as planned.
Sajen Accord can cover litigation and disputes, however an excess fee is payable. The size of the fee depends on the nature of the dispute and the forum in which it is brought. This fee is negotiated with you if and when the need for litigation arises.
Sajen Accord is not the only means by which we can do business. We can bill on a time basis, or even a ‘fixed fee’ for the various items of work to be carried out. Ultimately it’s up to you as we want to be sure you’re completely happy with the process.