The arrival of Katherine Kinch last year heralded a new era for J Sainsbury’s legal function.
Kinch, who is a former Clifford Chance lawyer, is the supermarket’s first in-house property specialist. Her appointment was part of Sainsbury’s plans to significantly slash the supermarket’s external legal spend. And given Sainsbury’s recent financial woes, every penny that is saved will help.
Since joining, Kinch has not wasted any time and is already demanding fixed fees from Sainsbury’s property law firms. The move is part of the supermarket’s plans to roll out a suite of standard-form documents, including licences to assign and agreements relating to residential disposals and lease renewals.
Sainsbury’s has been working with its existing advisers to produce around 12 precedent agreements that will enable the supermarket to charge a fixed fee to prepare such documents regardless of which firm is doing the drafting.