It is a broad based and highly experienced team that consists of lawyers and specialist consultants with a range of skills and expertise to support businesses. The group has experience in areas including employment, health and safety, employee relations, finance and restructuring, State aid, private equity fundraisings, property, contractual reviews, communications and PR.
Square One Law is advising businesses to form a strategy team comprising of owner/CEO/finance/ sales and marketing /HR/ supported by external advisers, who understand the business and political landscape. It believes this should be, where possible, separate from the operational team running the business or planning the re-opening and can therefore help ‘wargame’ potential strategies and scenarios for the coming months. This can be started with a no-cost strategy workshop delivered by Square One Law’s Business Response Support Group.
The firm, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Teesside, has spent the past weeks working closely with businesses to provide urgent and practical advice and to help them understand and access the various Government schemes.
As a result, Square One Law’s senior partner Ian Gilthorpe and ex-senior banker Mike Mullaney, have to date provided guidance to 40 businesses accessing CBILS or its big brother, CLBILS for companies with a turnover of £45m-£500m. Now, through the COVID-19 Business Response Support Group, the firm will work with a wide range of companies and provide support for their project teams, as they make business critical decisions in their detailed planning for operating from their facilities and the effect of furloughing being phased out.
Alongside its support group, Square One Law is continuing to run weekly virtual ‘Business Executive Fellowship Meeting’, which are organised jointly with Recognition PR and have, so far, attracted over 100 business leaders. Its employment team is also holding “Future of Work Meetings” which provide a similar discussion forum for HRDs and FDs, run by employment lawyers JP van Zyl and Rebecca Fielding.
Senior partner, Ian Gilthorpe said: “There is wide disagreement in predicting the length or depth of the recession the UK is facing and most importantly how it will affect different sectors and businesses. We don’t know whether it will be v, w, u or longer bath-shaped recession, and so businesses need to plan for a variety of differing economic scenarios and impacts on their company’s eco-system so that management can pivot the business at short notice to the most favourable outcome.
“We suggest businesses approach it with a military mindset - this is not one battle but like a military campaign where there are many variables, within the context of the core objective, and up to date information and agile decision making are key to survival and then success.”
Mark Lazenby, head of corporate said: “Our highly experienced COVID-19 Business Response Support Group are prepared to invest our time, without charge to companies, in a strategic planning workshop, working with their teams, to “wargame” the likely scenarios for their business as a starting point to examine their options for the future, in case circumstances are not as predicted in current operational plans.
“In practice this will involve a dedicated Zoom meeting with the CEO or MD of the business and a number of our experienced specialists. The business can then ‘war game’ the logic of its strategic objectives and tactics, along with the logistics and resources needed for implementation.
“As part of this we will pose some of the tough questions and choices that will be highlighted by shareholders, funders, regulators and customers and help plot a route through this situation.”