Nick Gould – A Lawyer’s Legal Life
Nick Gould “The common sense lawyer with mismatched shoes” is a Partner at the law firm of Gunnercooke in London. He advises companies from local start-ups to multinational trading groups on a wide range of business law issues. For many years he has specialised in advising family or privately owned and managed businesses, from the small to the very large. Business sectors include media and fashion, and he regularly mentors and advises start-up fashion brands working with Fashion Enter. Ahead of his next ‘Legal Eagle’ masterclass, to be held 8th October 2019, Nick discusses his legal career spanning 35+ years and his wealth of experience built along the way.
‘For most of my legal life I have been a deal-doing transactional lawyer. In the early days I was involved with many companies some of which don’t exist anymore – high street clients and brands such as Etam , Woolworths and Burtons (now Arcadia), banks such as Warburgs and Morgan Grenfell and extraordinary entrepreneurial stockbrokers such as Simon and Coates. I was a junior lawyer at Clifford-Turner working on a wide range of corporate finance work, IPOs, Rights Issues, Take-Overs and lots of buying and selling of lots of companies / their businesses and their assets.
‘Then I went to work in Toronto for a leading corporate law firm and when I got back a year later, Big Bang had taken place and the City would be different for ever. I spent about 18 months working for a very acquisitive media related company (as their external lawyer), which seemed to do a deal a month. In the process it went public and carried out a couple of rights issues.
‘I went on to do a lot of corporate deals for companies, some in the UK but many overseas involved particularly in shipping and international trade. And as a side line for two years, so many deals for what would now be called a family office. Much easier then, a day or so of due diligence and if the parties liked each other and the numbers seemed OK, the deals tended to get done and fast. The client bought everything from media companies to companies involved in buildings’ safety.
‘Owner-managed companies here and across the world from the USA to Israel to Norway were my thing – problem-solving, working with smaller companies and trying to use some common sense in doing so. I had a great time buying, for example a dockyard and selling, for example, an energy company and defending a hostile take-over bid for a football club (long before the days of the Premier League). I’ve advised aerospace companies and shipping, outside broadcasting and media companies and companies doing everything in between.
‘I have spent quite a lot of time more recently writing and lecturing here and abroad about aspects of corporate law and now particularly corporate governance.
‘Probably because of the international nature of my practice and my clients, I have an extensive network of contacts across the world …and then…Someone told me about Twitter and with 20 or so other people (I’m still not sure why me) we formed SME Alliance, a group to support those whose businesses and lives had been destroyed (in some cases for ever) by the actions of various corrupt and arrogant bankers egged on by certain of their professional advisors.
‘So continued my descent into the world of litigation and mediation of which I have done more in the last few years than in the previous 35. I now reckon mediation is just another variation of doing deals – everyone should come out fairly happy. In litigation there is always going to be a big-time loser.
‘Very soon, I’ll be out of it and I can go back full time to doing deals and corporate law, advisory work.’
Join Nick for his next Legal Eagle Masterclass find out how to start trading, the pros and cons around setting up as Private Limited Company, the different types of IP rights, including patents, copyright, database rights, UK product design, community designs and trademarks and much more.
“I am taking away a lot of useful and key information on how to properly set up my business.” – Olanike (former Legal Eagle Masterclass attendee.)