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Drafting Effectively - Reports on Contracts & Other Documents in Finance Transactions

Drafting Effectively: Reports on Contracts & Other Documents in Finance Transactions

Compliance Issues in Green Investing and Sustainable Finance Course

A half-day course

Reporting on contracts and other documents in finance transactions is both a time consuming and difficult exercise for lawyers in practice, particularly where you need to be able to highlight the key commercial risks quickly and in a clear and concise manner.

This course examines some of the key issues encountered when drafting reports and how to approach writing them in a way that creates the most value for the report reader. The content covered in this session would ordinarily take months or years of experience to acquire in practice.

Our trainer has many years’ experience of training and mentoring lawyers and has a unique insight into drafting problems that are experienced in practice and what report readers are really looking for.

This course will look at among other things:

  • what you always need to understand before you even start drafting a report
  • how and why reports are used on finance transactions
  • understanding the types of reporting and the important differences between them
  • understanding the agreement or other document you are reviewing in the context of the financing
  • a framework for breaking down a contract into easier to review parts
  • how to disseminate information from contracts and documents without regurgitating the whole document
  • how to approach analysing due diligence exercise reports
  • how to present information in a report in a way that is valuable and which helps the reader identify key issues
  • reporting on multiple documents
  • the pros and cons of using technology to review contracts.

Exercises and interactive questions may be used during the session to highlight particular issues.

This course is not a page by page review of a report, but by examining common difficulties, key drafting principles and how contracts and other documents fit together and interplay commercially, it will help you to acquire a set of core key principles that you can apply to drafting reports on any type of document and help you present information in a way that is of maximum use to the reader.

What you always need to understand before you even start drafting a report

  • Why does the underlying transaction matter?
  • What questions do you need to ask before starting a report?
  • What shouldn't a report do?
  • Does one size fit all?

How and why reports are used on finance transactions

  • The use of reports in acquisition finance
  • The use of reports in receivables finance
  • The use of reports in asset based lending
  • Security reviews
  • What you need to understand about the reader and the ultimate reader
  • Cash flow lending vs financing the asset – how does this play into reports?

Types of report

  • The long and the short
  • Fatal flaw reports – what's fatal, what’s not?
  • Legal opinions
  • Other types of reports
  • What drives the most value in a report?

Understanding the agreement or other document you are reviewing in context

  • Examining the types of agreements or documents that might hit your desk to report on in a financing
  • Questions you need to ask others before reviewing & reporting
  • Questions you need to ask yourself before reviewing & reporting

How do you break down a contract into something that you can report on?

  • What are financiers really interested in?
  • Where do you start when approaching reviewing a contract/document?
  • A checklist of the areas you should always consider when reviewing a contract
  • Some handy tips on making light work of more complex agreement/document reviews
  • The one thing you should always check at the start of any contract review

 How to disseminate information from contracts and documents without regurgitating the whole document

  • Disseminating valuable information
  • Imagining the reverse term sheet
  • What to keep focus on when writing the report

The difference between reporting on due diligence reports and reporting on the actual underlying contract

  • What are you looking for?
  • Understanding the purpose and effect of assumptions and qualifications to reports
  • Considering whether the report recommendations stack up

How to present information in a report in a way that is valuable and which helps the reader identify key issues

  • Identifying the news headlines
  • When summaries aren't summaries
  • What’s the overriding objective?

Reporting on multiple documents

  • How do you approach multi-document reports effectively?
  • What’s the aim of a multiple document report?
  • What’s your starting point?

The pros and cons of using technology to review and report on contracts

  • How can document review tools assist with reporting?
  • What are the pros and cons of relying on technology tool reviews?

The trainer is a highly experienced lawyer, educator and writer. For almost 30 years and across several industries, he has written and delivered a wide range of bespoke training for individuals, businesses, professional associations and educational establishments.

He completed his formal training and qualified as a banking & finance solicitor in Leeds with the law firm, Cobbetts LLP in 2005, before moving to London in 2007 to continue his career at Denton Wilde Sapte LLP (now Dentons) and subsequently with Wragge & Co LLP (now Gowling WLG (UK) LLP).

The trainer has advised banks, alternative lenders, asset finance houses, borrowers, private equity houses, guarantors and pension trustees on a wide range of UK and cross border banking and finance transactions. These have included syndicated investment grade and global loans, leveraged finance acquisitions, real estate investment & development finance, asset and receivables finance, bridging finance, securitisations, social housing finance, higher education finance and general corporate borrowing. He has also advised on restructurings and complex intercreditor arrangements and drafted and reviewed reports/certificates on title on a wide range of real estate transactions.

He moved to an in-house counsel role at Barclays Bank PLC in 2010, working in their Trade & Working Capital team, advising on a wide range of UK and international receivables finance, inventory finance, securitisation and other asset finance matters (including invoice discounting, factoring, recourse and non-recourse financing, selective receivables finance, supply finance and full asset based lending agreements). He has also worked on secondment with the HSBC (UK) Invoice and Equipment Finance legal and business teams, advising on UK and cross border asset based lending transactions, including hire purchase, lease finance and asset purchase finance.

In 2015, he returned to Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, to become a professional support lawyer in their banking & finance team, where he is responsible for education & training, briefing notes, precedents, legal technologies and providing advice across the firm and its international offices on complex areas of law. He has also written and delivered training for several professional associations including the Loan Market Association and the American Intellectual Property Law Association.

Having worked both in private practice and in-house with leadership, sales, relationship, risk, compliance, legal, transaction management, operations and product teams, he understands both the obstacles that need to be overcome on transactions and how to get deals over the line successfully. Consequently, his training focuses on providing students with the foundations, commercial awareness and approaches to thinking which are necessary to achieve this.

The trainer has sat on the legal & technical committee for ABFA (now UK Finance) and the advisory board for the LexisPSL banking & finance module. He is also a member of the City Finance PSL network. He has contributed to a number of major law reform projects and consultations including the University of Oxford led Secured Transactions Law Reform project, the City of London Law Society’s Secured Transaction Code project, the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce consultation on crypto-assets, distributed ledger technology and smart contracts and the England & Wales Law Commission’s call for evidence on smart contracts. As a mentor, he has also worked on the law firm panel at Barclays Eagle Labs Legal Tech Hub, London and has provided help and support to a wide range of new start-up legal-tech businesses from the UK and overseas.

With increased pressure on lawyers to provide greater value for money to their clients and time pressures on supervision, understanding how to draft reports effectively is a key part of every banking & finance lawyer’s tool kit.

Reports are provided on a wide range of contracts and agreements during finance transactions to help inform lending decisions, from reports on shareholder and investment agreements, to reports on key commercial contracts, through to reports on lease and sub-lease arrangements.

However, drafting reports that are useful commercially and which clearly and concisely highlight key areas of risk to those engaging in finance transactions is a difficult skill. Furthermore, it is a skill that isn’t often learnt in any detail at the important foundational stages of a legal career. That can make report writing both challenging and potentially, of little value to the reader.

This unique course is primarily aimed at junior lawyers, or lawyers who are looking at ways of improving their report writing skills and who wish to gain a better understanding of how to approach reporting on documents in order to provide greater value to their readers.

This course will provide a foundation which allows you to examine your report drafting habits and will also provide practical suggestions to raise awareness of how it can be improved in practice.

  • I liked the interactivity of the questions being asked and answered
  • I'd expected something more to do with technical black letter law and was pleasantly surprised when the content turned out to be far more hands on/practical. The trainer's delivery was excellent

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