We developed a workshop for Hill Dickinson, an international law firm, to help their construction lawyers to understand the role of implied terms in construction contracts. The half-day workshop was packed with activities including reviewing their precedent consultant appointment and other relevant boilerplate clauses.

Background

Hill Dickinson LLP has one of the largest and most respected property and construction practices in the country, advising on all aspects of construction and engineering law. Lawyers from the construction and professional negligence teams, as well as external clients were invited to attend the session to ensure maximum value for money.

Sarah had delivered training to staff from Hill Dickinson on previous occasions and they valued her knowledge and experience as well as her unique style of interactive training.

Our Role

Sarah Fox liaised closely with Eleanor Stirrett an Associate in the construction team at Hill Dickinson.

They worked together to ensure that the workshop reflected their firm’s values, practices, clients and the documents they used in-house in particular their precedents. Sarah was particularly keen that the workshop met the training needs of the dozen lawyers attending, as well as the clients.

The team had extensive construction experience, but the subject of implied terms is one which is not well-covered in texts, external courses, websites or other materials. Understanding implied terms was identified as critical to the lawyers at Hill Dickinson – whether acting as drafters and negotiators of contracts, advisers on professional negligence claims or bringing actions for breach of contract.

Sarah provided a workshop which filled in these gaps in their knowledge, helping the team to understand the role of implied terms in assisting their clients.

The Challenges

As with many construction law topics, there is a considerable amount of technical knowledge to understand in a relatively short session, which can be rather dry and dusty. Sarah put the learning into context and provided a client focus to the workshop using our unique client process. The lawyers also debated how the clauses in their precedent appointment differed from the associated implied term. The workshop finished with a ‘Runaround’ activity to test their new knowledge and discuss issues arising from the session.

Through this and other activities, the relevant legal knowledge was wrapped in skills-based, real-life scenarios to enable the information to be immediately used in practice.

The Outcome

The workshop was invaluable in bringing colleagues from different teams and offices together to discuss and debate issues that arise in the working day. It gave everyone a safe environment to ‘trash things out’ – the team found that by sharing experiences it helped individuals improve their knowledge and skills much faster than learning on the job as well as helping the teams work together better for the benefit of clients.

The workshop “highlighted that common law and statute imply the majority of the terms and obligations our clients rely on and reminded us why we make certain terms express. It was also useful to remind us exactly what we need to think about when analysing a client’s case in litigation. Through the workshop we are all better placed to identify the relevant implied terms that affect our clients and when and how to rely on them or exclude them.

The extensive materials provided have been regularly referred to as invaluable guides to the subject and are “relied on all the time“.

As Eleanor said “the cost of the workshop was less than the cost of sending just two of our solicitors to external courses.” If you would like to see just how cost effective in-house training can be, contact Sarah.