Note: this article refers to Least; now Kato.
“It’s the lawyers fault”, “lawyers slow things down”, “lawyers over/renegotiate” - does this sound familiar? Historically, lawyers have been a source of blame for the delays in the commercial leasing process, but why is this? At Least, we believe this is primarily to do with the point of instruction. Lawyers are often at the receiving end of incomplete information sets; unclear Heads of Terms with countless sets of track changes leading to version confusion; and incomplete information about the tenant and their team - how do they even know who they are dealing with?
For lawyers, the first few weeks of any commercial transaction are often spent chasing, waiting and then chasing again. Understandably, they may not want to start the drafting process (and their timesheets/fee clock ticking) until they have adequate and accurate information and instructions. But with numerous stakeholders providing this information, and a number of parties (sometimes with limited legal/property knowledge) all pitching in on HOTs, this period of waiting, chasing and clarifying can take several weeks. This is critical time when a tenant might get cold feet about why they haven’t got draft docs and ultimately, all time that impacts your landlord client’s bottom line.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! At Least we have recognised the flaws in the current process and created a solution that benefits lawyers too. Importantly, this means you can get deals done and fees paid quicker - spending more time on higher value work rather than chasing and deciphering documents that quite simply are not fit for purpose. Least has several elements that enable this:
Compiled in advance by the Asset Manager and Property Manager, prior to the agent finding a tenant this means that, at the point of instruction, a full data pack is downloadable by lawyers into a zip file, and is ready to go out to the other side on day one. Gaps can be identified by your client’s team in advance which means no more last minute chasing for missing lease plans or title information etc.
We have created a clear, modular set of Heads of Terms with clauses written in plain English. The output of this means that all parties have clarity over what has been agreed, avoiding renegotiation at the legal stage. No track changes, no red pen, no version confusion. Once agreed, HOTs are sent to lawyers in a format that suits you/your client. And, as a bolt on service, we can automatically populate the first draft of your client's precedent lease - avoiding unnecessary duplication and risk of error - we are all human!
Lawyers can log into the dashboard and see the deals being negotiated. This transparency over deal progress means you can plan your own team’s downstream workload, allocating resources in advance. You can therefore avoid unexpected bottlenecks when suddenly five sets of HOTs are agreed at once and it becomes impossible to turn them around quickly. You can provide a better service to your clients and more effectively manage your team.
All of these features allow for a seamless “pass of the baton” at the point of agreement of the HOTs. You already anticipated the deal arriving having looked at the deal dashboard; you receive clear HOTs with a version history and total clarity over what has been agreed; AND you get a complete zip file of relevant property information. Without further hurdles you can progress with drafting a commercial lease that both protects your clients interests, allows them the controls they need but also gets the occupier up and running, paying rent as soon as possible. No delays, no blaming and quicker fees for you … sounds too good to be true?
Click here to find out more about how Least is changing the narrative around commercial leasing making it faster and simpler for all stakeholders, lawyers included!