Commercial Law – Oral Agreement – Potential Agency Agreement – Oral Terms

The case of Aboualsaud v Aboukhater and Another [2007], concerned an agency arrangement where a Claimant contended entitlement to commission pursuant to a binding oral agreement. The claimant was the executive vice-president of the Kuwait Investment Office in London and a financial adviser to both a petroleum corporation in Kuwait and to the Minister of Energy. The first defendant was a commercial director of the office of the government of one of the United Arab Emirates in London. The second defendant, the first defendant’s father, was the beneficial owner of a number of large hotels.

In the 1990’s, the claimant and the first defendant had a meeting in London. They subsequently became close friends. They would see each other every week and would speak on the telephone most days. Then, in late 2002, the claimant alleged that the first defendant had spoken to him about the sale of one of his father’s hotels. The specific hotel concerned was the ‘Monte Carlo Grand Hotel’ (“MGCH”).

The claimant further contended that a binding oral agreement had been made with the first defendant. He claimed that the agreement arose out of various meetings and telephone calls and that the terms were that if he introduced a party to the defendants, and that party went on to purchase the MCGH for a price that was acceptable to them, he would be entitled to a commission of EUR 21.5million.

In December 2004, the MCGH was sold to Kingdom, a member of the joint venture FHR European Ventures LLP. The claimant argued that the sale had been facilitated by the introduction of HRH Prince Al Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, who was the principal owner of Kingdom.

The defendants denied that there was any binding agreement for the payment of commission in the terms that the claimant had alleged. The defendants felt that the case was simply one where a friend had sought the help of another friend, and that if that help were to be successful then payment in recognition of that help could be expected.

The case proceeded to trial.

The issue which arose to be decided by the courts was whether there was an agency agreement between the claimant and the first defendant, the latter acting for himself and his father.

The court held that on the evidence, the first defendant’s account was more convincing than that of the claimant. This was mainly in respect of the essential points in dispute, namely, how the discussions between the friends arose, how the discussions progressed and what the outcome of those discussions was.

The court felt that on that basis, there could not be any agency agreement upon which a binding legal contract could be established. Therefore, judgment would be made in favour of the defendants.

SEO Tips for Lawyers – Five Crucial Keys to Organic Search Engine Optimization

Business referrals also play a huge role in building a practice for attorneys, but can only go so far. What happens when you want more business or would like to expand your firm? This is when many practices turn to marketing and advertising– yellowpage ads, radio, TV commercials, lawyer directories.

These are all good ways to promote your practice, but what if I told you there is a “free” source of leads that would facilitate potential seeking you out, right at the time he/she needed your services? Well there is and it’s called the modern day search engine.

Search engines, when used to the fullest extent, can act as pre-qualifying authoritative referral sources. Just as a consumer is more likely to get product or service recommendations form a friend or family member verses take what a commercial has to say at face value, search engines can be a strong lead source in your practice’s marketing mix because of the trust they are given for finding unbiased information.

Have you ever wondered why some attorney websites have top ten rankings on search engines, while others do not? You’re about to learn some of the secrets. Do not take this information lightly. As an attorney, what you are about to read could earn you thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars in new cases and legal fees.

Below are Five Basic Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for Lawyers that have taken me years to understand. While paid listings or “sponsored links” do have a high ROI when managed properly, this article in particular is only speaking toward the natural or unpaid listings you see on popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Some of these techniques may seem very easy to understand, even implement, but that is the beauty of it. With all the false information out there, it takes a long time to know what has value and what does not. As Mark Twain said, “I’m sorry this letter is so long, I didn’t have the time to write a short one.” It has taken me years to weed through the tricks, and fly by night gimmicks, and false information so enjoy and feel free to contact me with any questions. With that said, I present to you five crucial keys to organic search engine optimization.

SEO Tip One: Use Descriptive & Unique Meta Titles

Did you know one of the most important areas for your firm’s site in regard to search ranking is the “Meta Title” of your home page? This is the title that appears on the blue frame around your browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox). The title also appears in search listings. You can see your website’s title in its raw coding by choosing “View” and “View source code” from your browser.

Anatomy of the Meta Information

In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category). A website’s meta information is typically made up of three distinct areas: title, description, and keywords. According to many well-known SEO gurus, the “keywords” section is completely useless, but it can harm you if you use too many keywords.

Most major search engines have now filtered out the importance of the “keywords” section because of past abuse, “keyword stuffing,” as well as placing long lists of irrelevant highly searched terms. Do not put too many keywords in the keywords section, and do not rely on this section to help with search engine optimization (SEO). Some SEO experts still use it “just in case, ” but only place 10 – 15 keywords never repeating, and using a comma after each single term.

The title however, is still a hugely important area to naturally work in highest level key phrases, along with branding the firm, or your name if acting as an independent practice. However, do not repeat keywords, and do not use more than 12 words or around 65 characters. Otherwise, the full title will not been seen in search and having an overabundance of words will dilute its power anyway. Google also has a filter or penalty block for sites that repeat one word too often in titles.

What’s in a Name?

Check your meta title right now! Choose “View” and “View source code” from your browser. Does it only have the name of your firm? That is fine if you are doing other advertising and your firm has lots of name recognition, but you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

What about those prospects you are missing out on who are typing into the search engines more generic phrases without any firms or attorney names in mind? Example, a search engine user types in “Personal Injury Attorney Dallas.” If you do not have specific words that describe your practice in your meta title, your site is less likely to appear in the top then than an attorney who does.

Be Unique

Your meta title can make or break your search engine rankings for valuable placement. Use a different title for every page of your site, making sure it describes the page’s content and/or user function (such as an “About” page, use the word “About So and So Firm.”). With deeper pages further away from the homepage use varying logical keywords that not only describe the page, but are akin to the words a user might type in seeking out that specific information.

It may seem like if you repeat the same title over and over again on other pages your site will perform better for those keywords, but it will not, you will be cannibalizing your efforts. You can use your name or the name of your firm, but place it near the end of the title. Keep the most unique part toward the beginning. Proximity and density also play a role.

This one tip could warrant a whole article on best practices on its own, but for now start with recognizing your meta title’s importance. I will be publishing a more advanced “nuts and bolts” article covering how you should plan a reverse keyword pyramid for your site titles, as well as other titling recommendations.

SEO Tip Two: Acquire Relevant Backlinks

Links to your site are seen as votes in the major search engines’ eyes. Just so we are on the same page, these are links to your website from another website, not links from your website to another. In this analogy these popularity votes are similar to how voting existing before several human rights were established. Some were considered 3/5ths a person, and some not considered at all. Their votes were counted accordingly. In other words, not all backlinks are created equal. The quality of a link toward your site can be determined on multiple criterion.

a). Relevance – Does the subject matter of the page linking out reflect the subject matter of your site or is it about something completely off topic? Example would be another attorney links to your site from his/her blog unsolicited based on your site’s relevant content and merit verses a random site that sells knockoff Viagra wanting to trade links with you.

b). Link & Text Density – This speaks to the amount of other links on the page linking to yours on the other website. If the other site has a listing of 100s of links on all different topics, including yours, the link is most likely devalued in the search engines eyes, not only because of relevance, but because of perceived importance. These are commonly known as “link farms.” The opposite situation would be your link is the only one listed. The backlink could be considered even more valuable if the other site surrounds it with relevant copy before and after (for example in a blog or article). A less effective, but not completely worthless placement would be a listing on a “Links” page from another site where only a handful of other offsite links existed.

c). Second Generation Link Popularity- Your site is deemed more important in the search engines’ eyes not only by how many other sites link to you, but how many sites link to the sites that link to you. The link popularity is passed on using a formula that one search engine originated called PageRank(TM). In essence, you could have 100s of backlinks, but if no one is linking to the other sites linking to you, many of the links may be worthless from a ranking point of view (but could be valuable in other ways to be discussed in a later article). There are tools you can use to “pull up the curtain” and see just how people are linking to your site, as well as how many are linking to their’s.

This is a simplified explanation on how acquiring backlinks can help your SEO. As with titling, the topic of backlinks could also warrant its own full fledged article, or multiple articles. The important takeaway is: backlinks matter for SEO.

SEO Tip Three: Build a Legal Knowledgebase

The Internet was built on the foundation that people want authoritative, quality information fast. Instead of trying to remember the categories of the Dewy Decimal System and searching through different books’ table of contents, the search engine user uses keywords describing what he/she are looking for in order to find that information as fast as possible.

Not all Visitors are Qualified

First, as an attorney, you have to accept this fact that not all the visitors to your website are prospects. Many may be in the research mode of their buying cycle or may be looking for information for a friend or even a school report. The reality is the more original, helpful, and consistently you can put new information on your website, the more the search engines will show you preference. By high quality content I do not mean a sales pitch. You can use that type of language on your main pages, but you will appeal to a much wider audience if you use non-commercial, unbiased information presented as knowledgebase in your deeper pages.

By building a knowledgebase specific to your areas of practice, you accomplish at least two objectives, you are viewed as an expert becoming the authoritative source for that user’s legal question and you will likely pull prospects looking for those specific services right then and there. This is an indirect, but highly effective method of acquiring prospects.

One Page per Area of Practice

Example, if you practice copyright law and the prospect types in the search engine “copyright laws” you could have a page strictly devoted to explaining the different types, penalties for breaking the laws, defenses, highly popularized landmark cases, and other important information pertaining to copyright infringement. Create a page using at least 500 – 1500 words stratifying every area of your practice in fine detail, and your website will dominate the search engines, command lots of relevant traffic and, combined with other tools, bring a steady stream of leads. I will cover this in more depth giving more information on the best practices in future articles.

SEO Tip Four: Use specific Internal & External Anchor Text

Have you ever seen a link that says “Click here?” Oh course you have. That’s actually a waste of a link as far as SEO is concerned. Ok, maybe not a complete loss, but it does not use the link’s full potential. The words used in a link to another URL are called the anchor text and it can be vitally important to SEO.

There is a huge difference in how the search engines see a link with relevant text verses a non-descriptive or irrelevantly anchored link. This is even true for your site’s internal linking structure and calls to action. For example, instead of directing your website visitors to another internal page using the words “Click Here for information on copyright infringement,” make the words copyright infringement the actual link and avoid the cliché. You may have to change your verbiage schema to something similar to: “Learn more about the laws and penalties pertaining to copyright infringement,” which is better anyway.

Anchor Your Links or Site will walk the Plank

The more internal links on your site pointing to that page with those words, and even more importantly links from offsite with those words, the more likely the search engines will see your site, or that specific page, as being relevant for that term. Check your website right now.

Do you have any pointless “Click Here” links or something else just as useless? Right now, change the anchor text to words that describe the page in which they are linking. Or ask your webmaster to do it tomorrow morning. It’s worth it.

SEO Tip Five: Localize Your Content & Meta Descriptions

Are you an attorney who only operates in one city? Or can you work remotely because most of your work is out of the court room? If you operate in one city, or regional area, you need to make the search engines aware by using the most prominent DMA in your homepage title.

When prospects are using search engines, most are sophisticated enough to know, or have learned through search engine experience, to add the city onto whatever service in which he/she is searching. Example, a user types in “Dallas Commercial Real Estate Attorney.”

You may be a real estate attorney and your practice may be in Dallas, but the search engines will give another lawyer’s site preference if you do not spell it out for them. You may have your physical location in a normal 12 point text on the contact page, but that is not enough, since titles and meta descriptions hold more weight in the hierarchy.

Home Grown Meta Description

Some SEO gurus say descriptions are as defunct as the keywords section of your meta info. I say the meta description is the NEW keywords section of web 2.0, only the keywords must be used in a logical sentence form.

Secondly, you do not want to have to specify on a page describing individual areas of your practice or your knowledgebase that you are a “Dallas insert obscure and wordy law practice attorney” in the viable copy. While not terribly lethal, it’s a little awkward and contrived to the reader. You can use the description area of the meta for this SEO tactic.

Stay tuned for more Internet marketing tips for lawyers including more on SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and social media. Thanks for your time.

Commercial Litigation – A Closer Look

Have you ever had an argument or issues with your employees? How about breached contract from one of your business associate? Are you in need of legal counsel?

To be able to deal with this business conflicts -like arguments with your employees, shareholders, business partners and contracts-, you need to have a business lawyer. Any legal action and controversy that deals with business issues are part of commercial litigation or commercial lawsuit. And those lawyers who deal with commercial lawsuit are called business lawyers.

Commercial litigation is a branch where law and business merges. Moreover,it branches out to almost every business conflicts. This is more of an off court agreement instead of courtroom arrangements. It is more of settling disputes rather than writing and making drafts of contracts and agreements.

A business lawyer tries to settle a business conflict outside the court. That is why aside from being good in business laws; commercial litigation requires someone with a marketing strategy. A good business lawyer can settle big disputes, but a better commercial litigator knows how to nip it in the bud. The force behind the best commercial lawyer is their ability to resolve a conflict before it increase, thus, there will be less loss on the side of the client. Settling a hundred dollar dispute is much preferred than settling a multi-million dollar litigation.

Business litigation is synonymous to the term marketing of the law.

For instance, if your company breached a contract from one of your supplier and they immediately stopped supplying raw materials, even though you are the victim, your business lawyer must prioritize solving the breached contract and avoid time consuming lawsuit. That is, sense of marketability.

Also, a business lawyer must be able to give quality legal advice for a company. It should be noted that before the economic crisis, most business fails because of their lack of business-related legal advice. The best business lawyer would tell you the best legal action to do during a dispute. He should advise you if your company would gain if you go for litigation, or, if your company will just lose more during this litigation.

Commercial litigation is a trending necessity. During the course of business deals, the supervision of commercial litigator is preferred. This is to avoid any future fixes or dispute, and to legalize almost every contracts and any confidentiality agreement. A company would barely survive without commercial litigator.

You can find independent business lawyers on the internet.

Work As a Commercial Solicitor

Commercial solicitors work on behalf of businesses both large and small, advising and representing them on all legal matters. If working for big companies they may be involved in setting up, negotiating and finalising big mergers and acquisitions. Smaller companies may need general advice in terms of progressing their business. Commercial solicitors (otherwise known as corporate solicitors) often work in teams, especially when dealing with large companies and these teams will consist of a range of more or less senior lawyers.

Some of the typical duties carried out by commercial lawyers will include
• Meeting with clients to discuss their legal requirements and inform them of the cost implications i.e. how much the solicitor’s fees will be
• Advise them of the law and how it relates to their plans or concerns
• Research relevant case studies and check legal reference materials in order to make sure all the boxes are ticked
• Take on the case which could entail auctioning and scrutinising contracts and documents and meeting with and negotiating with other professionals
• Managing and overseeing the work of junior solicitors
• May involve representing a client in court or calling in specialist witnesses or advocates
• Checking all paperwork is correct before client signs
• Ensuring fully up to date with all the latest changes in the law by reading professional journals and attending training courses in order to achieve CPD – continuing professional development

The hours of work can be long and mean working late into the evening and at weekends, especially when working for an important client. The pay may make up for this however – salaries start at around £20,000 per annum for junior solicitors, but with experience, and especially if working in the City of London starting salaries are £30,000 or more. For those who stick it out for 10-15 years or more the sky’s the limit pay wise. A solicitor who makes it to board level in one of the City’s top legal firms may be paid £1,000,000 (with profit share)

Most work is found in the big cities of the UK, primarily London. There are currently about the same number of men and women entering the profession.

Tips Before Hiring Commercial Solicitors for Your Organization

Commercial solicitors are those types of lawyers who are specialized in handling cases that are related to corporate organizations and offices. These lawyers can be come from both civil field as well criminal field of law. These lawyers are appointed for handling cases of both criminal as well civil offenses that occurs or takes place within the boundaries of organizations and companies. There are several big organizations those who appoint commercial litigation lawyers as their employees on a continuous basis. The major advantage of keeping lawyers as salaried professional in a company helps in getting a legal person always available in hand while handling of all the legal issues that are faced by the company.

But before appointing some commercial lawyer for your company, you need to verify and have detailed interview sessions with the candidate in order to check whether the particular person will be ideal to handle the legal issues of your company with minimal of confusions. While undergoing the interview sessions, some of the questions that you need to ask the candidate are:

First and foremost question will be how many years of work experience does the candidate possess on the similar sort field. Then you need to grab information about the previous organizations the person was associated to. The types of cases, which were handed by the candidate while working at the previous organization, also need to be given a brief explanation of. The time period that is approximately required to sort out the cases is also important to discuss about. Monetary matters regarding the handling of cases are also important to discuss while the interview sessions goes on. Finally you need to ask about the matters which can be easily handled by the interviewer. Let us see some of these matters:

  • Legal procedures involved during office incorporation.
  • Proper and appropriate drafting of official documents, which are of legal importance.
  • Taking care of the internal official agreements and assignments that do require legal assistance.
  • Legal procedures that are involved while commercial properties are bought, sold, leased or given for rental purpose.
  • To sort out matters that involves employee arguments and problems.
  • To provide legal protections of property rights that is of intellectual stature.
  • To settle problems generating from income tax oriented matters.
  • To provide support in regarding to buying and selling of official shares.
  • To fix and settle for matters those are associated with litigation issues.
  • To settle and fix on negotiation issues.

Although there are several offices that hires for fresher law candidates as their commercial solicitors, but it is better to hire for experienced ones in your offices because they have more knowledge and are much more experienced in handling different sort of official cases with maximum efficiency.