Five Minute Focus – TMN Legal Initiative

With the launch of the ‘TMN Legal Initiative by The Media Network (TMN) and Al Tamimi & Company, Team TMN sit down with Fiona Robertson, Senior Associate at Al Tamimi & Company to talk about the new initiative and what to expect…

Tell us about the concept behind the ‘TMN Legal Initiative’…

It became evident when TMN and Al Tamimi did a presentation on legal issues around content creation, that a lot of smaller agencies were not using well-written and up-to-date contracts for their client services. For smaller companies and particularly those in startup mode, securing quality contracts does not get the priority that it deserves and this is often due solely to the cost. So TMN approached us about the possibility of assisting new small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the media industry to obtain quality contracts by allowing four SMEs to band together and share the cost of doing one contract between them.

Who is your target audience?

We are specifically targeting PR, marketing and communications agencies with a maximum of ten employees that have been in operation for less than five years.

What is the approximate cost for a consultation per agency through this initiative?

We have set the cost at AED 4,200 per agency. For this, they get a consultation on a one-to-one basis and then we will draft a contract that all four companies can use as their template.

Why should agencies get involved in the programme?

This is a unique opportunity to get access to our lawyers who specialise in this area for a fraction of the usual cost. We are doing this because we believe that the smaller agencies are leading the way with iconic work and truly targeted initiatives for their clients but they don’t always have the cashflow (yet) to employ our services. We want to help them. In addition, we believe that an industry that is strongly focused on doing business ethically and legally is going to assist all of us in the long term.

How would the programme grow from client servicing?

We are already doing a programme of exciting presentations with TMN and we are keen to keep that going – send your ideas to TMN and they will pass them on to us. Ideally, we hope that our chosen four companies take off to become massive success stories – and keep us as their lawyers!

What is the registration process?

TMN will be taking the applications directly and they will then be passing them on to us. You can email if you would like to be considered, but please serious applications only. Payment must be received before your place is secured and a meeting set up.

What kind of legal changes are you hoping to promote and encourage with this initiative?

We are hoping that the industry learns to see media lawyers as trusted facilitators who can help them manage their business towards growth. Working with lawyers early in transactions can assist in clarifying and managing the relationship between clients and suppliers. Clarity in relationships, which is best done with contracts, means that your business (and your staff) will be able to clearly understand your responsibilities – which means less arguments, less payment delays and more repeat business!

Why did you feel the need to launch this initiative in the region?

Although we are lawyers, we are industry lawyers, who feel very much a part of the media business. Plus I do think that newly created SMEs need all the help and support they can get.

Do you foresee any challenges in launching this initiative?

Juggling the needs of four entities will be tricky. People have a tendency to think that we simply ‘replace all’ in contracts but in fact this is not the case. Each business has its own particular way of operating – and very different areas of importance. Some are very wedded to a particular approval process with clients whilst others don’t want to be too specific with approvals. I am already having nightmares about how to juggle contract termination ideas from four different companies!

What does the future hold for the TMN Legal Initiative?

I am hoping to choose one key contract a year and do it again, but let’s take one step at a time!