Hi! My name is Zarek.

I’m a technology lawyer.

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (no. 599017).

Who I am

I’m an independent commercial solicitor. I advise startups and established tech businesses, software developers and investors on the law and business growth. Here’s why I’m different to the rest:
  • I’m a technology specialist. It’s my passion.
  • I have over 12 years’ of practical experience working in corporate and commercial law.
  • I also wear a web developer hat, and an entrepreneur’s hat. This means I can really put myself in your shoes (or hat).
  • I give practical commercial advice specific to your goals and objectives.
  • I explain the law in a clear and concise way and only bring up the stuff that’s relevant to the matter in hand.
  • I make a sincere effort to get to know you and your business.
  • You always deal with me directly. I don’t employ anyone.
  • I don’t have to deal with any of the bureaucracy of working in a large firm.
  • I don’t get bogged down with billable hours and I won’t charge you to phone me.
  • I work on fixed fees so you always know what you’re paying.
  • I am based in London and am happy to take meetings, but my real office is in my laptop.

 

 

about2

 

My love for technology

I’ve watched technology change the world over the last 25 years. It’s a part of my life. I’ve dabbled in digital graphics, software development, photography and building custom IT hardware.

When I was growing up, MS-Dos 3.0 was all the rage but GUIs were the new big thing. I remember the first time I used GEM Paint and was amazed at how I could draw, erase, cut and copy. I knew this was the way that things were heading, and I knew I had to stay on top of every digital development.

Over the years I learnt how to code, first in QBasic, then pascal, then Tcl and C++. I learnt how to use Photoshop, the difference between bitmaps and vectors, how to composite images and create new worlds inside my computer. At the same time, I watched the Internet grow from a bunch of closed networks like Compuserve and AOL to the sprawling web. I strived to learn how to use newsgroups, IRC, unix systems and of course, HTML, CSS, php and JavaScript. I still actively dabble in web development and have built tools which I use to assist me in my day job.

As IT systems and software started to develop, it was clear that there was no going back. I kept remembering the playground chats I used to have about Skynet taking over the world, and while I hold no fear for our robot overlords, I know that this industry is the future.

So why did I become a lawyer?

Being a lawyer allows me to deal with every kind of new technology, whether it’s online or offline, a new gadget or a new IT system. I appreciate that developments in technology are only possible with the right support networks and whether you like it or not, lawyers will always need to be involved when it comes to pioneering technology. I know that if I was developing the next big thing, I’d want an adviser who understands what I talk about.

There’s no other job in the world that puts you at the forefront of technology like this. I write the non-disclosure agreements from which new social networks are born. I help broker the deals when Internet giants acquire small startups. I negotiate the contracts when you supply IT hardware. Without lawyers like me, the tech industry would never have seen this growth.

All new technology is developed by people, and I love working with people. I love to understand their problems and come up with solutions. There’s always a solution.

But the biggest reason? I love working with people who are passionate about what they do. There’s more to life than money. I want to help change the world. Just like you do.

What I do

Startups

Established businesses & investors

  • Commercial contracts, including advising on key commercial terms, structuring deals and drafting completely bespoke contracts in plain English.
  • Corporate law, including Companies Act advice, exiting or acquiring established business through a sale or purchase of shares or assets, joint ventures and mergers, management buyouts, private equity and venture capital fund investments.
  • IT law, including drafting software and hardware development agreements, end user license agreements, enterprise licensing agreements, API agreements, consultancy, maintenance and managed services agreements, advice on the use of open source software, service level agreements, system integrations, software/platform/infrastructure and data as a service agreements.
  • Fintech, including advice on the financial promotion rules, specified activities and investments, FCA authorisation, the Electronic Money Regulations for e-money issuers, the Payment Services Directive and mobile payments regulation for small and authorised payment institutions, money transfer and remittance services and passporting.
  • Employment & incentivisation, including drafting employment contracts, directors’ service agreements, adviser and consultancy agreements, appointment of non-executive directors, writing your staff handbook and policies and implementing EMI and other share option pools.
  • Advice for investors, accelerators and incubators, including due diligence reporting, guidance on the issues to look out for when investing in startups, negotiating and drafting key documents, advising on tax effects of investments, dealing with angel networks and investment through nominees or online platforms.

How I work

1. You send me your enquiry

Please be as detailed as you can about your circumstances and let me know if you think you need an initial consultation or just want to jump straight into the work. I charge a fixed fee for consultations, but if you instruct me to carry out any follow-on work, I will credit the consultation fee back to you.

My confidentiality obligations extend to potential clients as well as current ones (so there’s no need to send me an NDA). If you’re particularly worried about security, you are welcome to use my public key (below) to send me an encrypted email.

2. I provide a quote

If your work is something I can take on, I’ll confirm my fixed fee quote for each piece of work you need me to carry out.

My fees are calculated by taking into account how complex your enquiry is, how quickly it needs to be dealt with, whether any third parties need to be involved and if relevant, the value of the contract or investment. I do not work on an hourly rate basis. All quotes exclude VAT and disbursements.

To confirm this all and explain the next steps, I’ll send you a letter explaining exactly what work needs to be carried out to reach your goals, with confirmation of the fixed fee quote. At this point, I’ll also send you my standard terms, which you’ll need to agree to in order for me to proceed.

3. You pay me up front

In most cases, you pay the agreed fee plus VAT in full up front, although when handling higher value investments, I usually ask for a certain amount up front with the balance payable on completion of the investment. Once you’ve made payment of my fee, your place in line will be reserved.

In any case, fixed === fixed. You pay me for the work you would like me to carry out, and nothing more – regardless of what is involved. You can contact me whenever you like without worrying about running up a bill, and I am certain to get paid on time. Everyone is happy!

4. I start work

I’ll start working on your matter as soon as I can, and of course, if it’s something which needs to be prioritised, it will be. I aim to get initial drafts out within a week or two of starting work, but again, this depends on each job – so don’t hold me to it. The upside is that I will always give you an indication of when something will be done, rather than just leaving you hanging.

I work alone, so I’ll be the only person you deal with. I respond to emails and make amendments to documents quickly. I don’t take on work unless I have the capacity to do it – this enables me to provide an efficient and high quality service for my clients.

Remember, I don’t limit myself to giving legal advice: I have experience of running both tech and non-tech businesses so I will always think about the commercial impact of what you want to do, in the context of the law. It’s like having your own in-house lawyer…

Ready to get started?

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The details:

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Feeling insecure? Here's my public key.

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What my clients say

We have worked with Zarek on our recent funding rounds. He has been a brilliant and trusted antidote to the larger law firms operating on behalf of our investors. I would happily recommend him to anyone in need of practical, cost effective legal advice.

Becky Downing CEO, buzzmove.com.

We have worked with Zarek for about a year now and are delighted with his work. Our company is a fast-growing startup breaking info unfamiliar territory requiring delicate legal safeguards. He is timely and thinks around the actual problem instead of being a cookie cutter. He also adapted well to our way of working – it often feels like we have our own legal department! We would highly recommend working with him.

Sajeev Shanmuganandarajah CEO, medify.co.uk

I approached Zarek as I wanted a lawyer who knows startups and technology and could be our first point of contact when it comes to any legal tasks that we face when building our tech startup. He has been extremely helpful and is always available to talk through our concerns and help us find a solution. He is also great to work with and he gives us fixed fees for his work which is extremely useful for any startup.

Heidi Lindvall CEO, storygami.co

We are engineers. Our customers ask us to price their jobs before giving us their custom. We ask for a clear specification, and if necessary we help our customers build one, which we then use together with our knowledge and professional judgement to give our price. We do not always get the job. Imagine my delight to find Zarek saying up front that he works in the same way. Working with him has been easy and timely. His explanations are straightforward and logical. We work from our laptops wherever we are. Low overheads, functional, effective and friendly. I like that.

Rory Carter Chairman, compotech.com

We contacted Zarek when we were in a real mess. I was skeptical of lawyers at the time and wondered how he would be any different, but he was able to assess the situation, give the right advice, and immediately execute a plan of action that got us out of the mess, all at an affordable price. I now completely see the value of having specific expertise in legal work for startups, and wish I’d found Zarek sooner.

Nathaniel Smithies CEO, plusguidance.com

Zarek has been a huge help to us in structuring our company the right way as well as being there at every step of a complete seed investment round, providing reliable and timely advice with respect to legal matters as well as general guidance with SEIS/EIS mechanics too.  He has been extremely helpful across the board – we genuinely hope to retain his services as our company grows.

Shahzad Younas CEO, muzmatch.com

 

What to expect when you instruct me