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 companies on the law, investment and business growth.

This is why I'm different

  • I’m a technology specialist. I have years of knowledge and experience in the tech industry.
  • I have over 12 years’ of practical experience in corporate and commercial law. I also cover employment, intellectual property, financial services and tax.
  • I also wear a web developer hat, and an entrepreneur’s hat. This means I can really put myself in my clients’ shoes (or hats).
  • I give practical commercial advice specific to my clients’ goals and objectives. I don’t just fill out templates.
  • I can 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 my clients and their businesses. 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’ve adopted an agile work methodology.
  • 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. No unwarranted bills, no surprises.
  • I am based in London and am happy to take meetings, but my real office is in my laptop.

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I’m a fully qualified solicitor authorised and regulated by the SRA. You will get the same level of service and protection from me as you would from any other UK law firm.

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 my clients say

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

I contacted Zarek at a time when we were in a real mess with several different lawyers giving different opinions on things, but nobody just sorting out the situation. I was slightly skeptical of lawyers at the time and wondered how a startup lawyer would be any different. But Zarek was able to assess the situation, give me the right advice, and immediately execute a plan of action that got me out of the mess, and 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 I do

Startup packages

Other services

  • 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.
  • General corporate law advice, 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.
  • Employment and HR legal advice, 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 specific to the IT industry, 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.
  • Advice for fintech startups, 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.
Ongoing advice

Online counsel
  • Ad-hoc legal advice and guidance by phone / email / Skype
  • Providing commercial advice tailored to your goals and objectives
  • Reviewing and explaining third party contracts and suggesting changes where appropriate
  • Drafting minor agreements (e.g. NDAs, IP assignments and heads of terms)
  • Making minor amendments to your standard documents (e.g. new employment contracts)
  • Carrying out routine administrative work (e.g. companies house filings)
  • Annual fee split into 12 equal monthly payments with different pricing bands depending on the level of service you need
  • Discounts on my standard fees for any extra transactional work

From £600 + vat / month

General counsel
  • Expert advice where it’s not cost efficient to employ a full time solicitor in-house, including everything I do under my online counsel package plus all of the following
  • Analysing how you currently do things, identifying and dealing with any potential issues
  • Proactive advice on changes in the law that may affect your business
  • Advising the board and providing strategic commercial advice and opinions
  • Attending board and third party meetings as your general counsel
  • Drafting and negotiating your own bespoke commercial contracts
  • Reviewing, negotiating and amending third party commercial contracts
  • Enforcing your brand and intellectual property rights

From £3,000 + vat / month

How I work

1. Send me your enquiry

Be as detailed as you can, and be safe in the knowledge that 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, use my public key (below) to send me an encrypted email. If you don’t know how to do this, don’t worry about it – just use the form.

Once I have enough details from you, I’ll confirm whether it’s something I can take on and if it’s covered by one of my packages, I’ll arrange a time for a quick call so we can get to know each other before I get started.

If you need some specific initial advice which isn’t covered by one of my packages, I may need to arrange an initial consultation. I charge £200 + vat for the initial consultation, which I’ll credit back to you if you ask me to carry out any follow-on work. During the initial consultation we’ll delve into the issues at hand, but I’ll also want to get to know you and your business generally to put the specifics into context. There’s no time limit on the first consultation, and you’re under no obligation to proceed with me once we’re done.

2. Fixed fee quote

After we speak, I’ll confirm my fixed fee for each piece of work you need me to carry out. My quotes:

  • remain valid for 30 days, unless there is a significant change of circumstances,
  • exclude VAT and any disbursements that might be required, and
  • are not calculated by reference to an hourly rate but instead take 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.

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. 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 my full fee plus VAT 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 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. I’ve not had a dissatisfied client yet, and I’m going to try my best to keep it that way.

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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Feeling insecure? Here's my public key.

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What to expect when you instruct me

Any other questions? Email me. I’ll get back to you asap.