The carnage of the recent Co-op v ICL case has inspired Field Fisher Waterhouse to launch a new IT practice area – the project support group – aimed at avoiding litigation.
Litigation partner Richard Stephens will lead a group of more than 30 lawyers, which aims to combine the skills of litigators and non-contentious lawyers.
“Lawyers are set in this mindset of sitting around waiting for something to go wrong rather than offering proactive help,” said Stephens.
He explained that disputes often occur because nobody reviews a contract, even years after it is signed. In Co-op v ICL, it was claimed that there was no contract at all. The case is currently being appealed.
Field Fisher will charge a fixed fee in advance for three services, which are labelled ‘project check-up’, ‘project workout’ and ‘project lifeline’.
The first is a healthcheck aimed at reviewing the commercial health of a contract and assessing any risks. Project workout will provide training in legal risk to contract negotiators and project managers. Project lifeline offers telephone support on particularly troublesome projects.