We can't afford solicitors

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
27 messages Options
12
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

We can't afford solicitors

Thomas Dalton
Ok, it's official, solicitors charge way too much (anyone particularly
surprised?). I've just got a rough budget from a solicitor
specialising in charities and for them to have a "light touch
involvement" in us getting registered with the appropriate authorities
will cost "between £1200 to £1500 (plus VAT)" (given their hourly
rates, that comes to about 6 hours work, God knows how they call that
"light touch" - it's just a few modifications to the models and a
couple of forms!). I think we'll have to do it ourselves, hope we
don't make any particularly serious mistakes and just find someone to
witness it (which is what WER did, I believe - it seems the only way).
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Tom Holden
My barrister friend has agreed to look over the AoA and MoA for us at least, but it's not his area of speciality and he wouldn't be covered under his legal indemnity insurance, so we should view it as completely informal, unofficial advice. But still, better than nothing I imagine.

Tom

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Thomas Dalton
Sent: 22 September 2008 18:51
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [Wikimediauk-l] We can't afford solicitors

Ok, it's official, solicitors charge way too much (anyone particularly
surprised?). I've just got a rough budget from a solicitor
specialising in charities and for them to have a "light touch
involvement" in us getting registered with the appropriate authorities
will cost "between £1200 to £1500 (plus VAT)" (given their hourly
rates, that comes to about 6 hours work, God knows how they call that
"light touch" - it's just a few modifications to the models and a
couple of forms!). I think we'll have to do it ourselves, hope we
don't make any particularly serious mistakes and just find someone to
witness it (which is what WER did, I believe - it seems the only way).
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Thomas Dalton
2008/9/22 Tom Holden <[hidden email]>:
> My barrister friend has agreed to look over the AoA and MoA for us at least, but it's not his area of speciality and he wouldn't be covered under his legal indemnity insurance, so we should view it as completely informal, unofficial advice. But still, better than nothing I imagine.

Much better than nothing - good work!

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Ross Gardler
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton


Thomas Dalton wrote:
> Ok, it's official, solicitors charge way too much (anyone particularly
> surprised?).


Yes, I am.

I've been involved with not-for-profits in the past and never had a
problem with this (although I've never dealt with the legal stuff myself).

Given time it is likely you will find a solicitor who is willing to look
over things for you at a vastly reduced rate in return for being
associated with the chapter. in my experience it is normal to have a
solicitor and an accountant on the board for precisely this reason.

Take your time and don't rush things. This way you have plenty of time
for planning and, where necessary, fund raising.

Speaking personally, I would not be very unhappy with a "do it
ourselves" approach, especially when coupled with the phrase "and hope
we don't make any particularly serious mistakes". If you don't have the
skills don't attempt it. This is a serious business.

Ross

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Ross Gardler


Ross Gardler wrote:

> Speaking personally, I would not be very unhappy with a "do it
> ourselves" approach, especially when coupled with the phrase "and hope
> we don't make any particularly serious mistakes". If you don't have the
> skills don't attempt it. This is a serious business.

That firs sentence should not have a double negative I *would* be very
unhappy with an amateur approach to the legal affairs of the chapter.

Ross

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Gordon Joly
At 10:16 +0100 23/9/08, Ross Gardler wrote:

>Ross Gardler wrote:
>
>>  Speaking personally, I would not be very unhappy with a "do it
>>  ourselves" approach, especially when coupled with the phrase "and hope
>>  we don't make any particularly serious mistakes". If you don't have the
>>  skills don't attempt it. This is a serious business.
>
>That firs sentence should not have a double negative I *would* be very
>unhappy with an amateur approach to the legal affairs of the chapter.
>
>Ross
>
>____________________________


Not sure why we don't just clone the old MoA and AoA...

Would anybody object?

Gordo


--
"Think Feynman"/////////
http://pobox.com/~gordo/
[hidden email]///

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Ross Gardler


Gordon Joly wrote:

> At 10:16 +0100 23/9/08, Ross Gardler wrote:
>> Ross Gardler wrote:
>>
>>>  Speaking personally, I would not be very unhappy with a "do it
>>>  ourselves" approach, especially when coupled with the phrase "and hope
>>>  we don't make any particularly serious mistakes". If you don't have the
>>>  skills don't attempt it. This is a serious business.
>> That firs sentence should not have a double negative I *would* be very
>> unhappy with an amateur approach to the legal affairs of the chapter.
>>
>> Ross
>>
>> ____________________________
>
>
> Not sure why we don't just clone the old MoA and AoA...
>
> Would anybody object?

Were they put together with legal advice?

Were they at the root of any of the problems V1 encountered?

Ross

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Alison M. Wheeler
On Tue, September 23, 2008 11:44, Ross Gardler wrote:
> Gordon Joly wrote:
>> Not sure why we don't just clone the old MoA and AoA...
> Were they put together with legal advice?
> Were they at the root of any of the problems V1 encountered?

AIUI there are a number of changes required to the new AoA/MoA as a result
of Charity law/registration changes, although these are probably mostly a
matter of detail not major rewrites.

The WER documents caused no problems whatsoever, indeed they were
specifically designed to permit everything we might require, maintain
control in the hands of the editing members (should anything awful
happen), etc.

I re-wrote them from the initially proposed documents from long experience
with designing and implementing such things (and multi-national contracts
too) and then agreement with the WMF. I am not a lawyer on paper but I
used to take my company law handbooks to bed with me for reading (and not
to fall asleep to!) and would be happy to cast an eye over the proposed
documentation and point up any issues there might be.

The only 'root problem' WER experienced was the well-over-a-year holdup
with the WMF not liking that we had (correctly and on a firm legal basis)
not used "Wikimedia" in the name of the company. There were no other legal
issues at all.

Alison


_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Michael Peel
In reply to this post by Gordon Joly

On 23 Sep 2008, at 11:42, Gordon Joly wrote:

> At 10:16 +0100 23/9/08, Ross Gardler wrote:
>> Ross Gardler wrote:
>>
>>>  Speaking personally, I would not be very unhappy with a "do it
>>>  ourselves" approach, especially when coupled with the phrase  
>>> "and hope
>>>  we don't make any particularly serious mistakes". If you don't  
>>> have the
>>>  skills don't attempt it. This is a serious business.
>>
>> That firs sentence should not have a double negative I *would* be  
>> very
>> unhappy with an amateur approach to the legal affairs of the chapter.
>>
>> Ross
>>
>
> Not sure why we don't just clone the old MoA and AoA...
>
> Would anybody object?
>
> Gordo

I thought that the new ones were based on the standard charity ones,  
whereas the old ones weren't? Re-using the old ones could then cause  
us problems later when we go for charity status.

Mike

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Ross Gardler
In reply to this post by Alison M. Wheeler
Alison Wheeler wrote:

> On Tue, September 23, 2008 11:44, Ross Gardler wrote:
>> Gordon Joly wrote:
>>> Not sure why we don't just clone the old MoA and AoA...
>> Were they put together with legal advice?
>> Were they at the root of any of the problems V1 encountered?
>
> AIUI there are a number of changes required to the new AoA/MoA as a result
> of Charity law/registration changes, although these are probably mostly a
> matter of detail not major rewrites.
>
> The WER documents caused no problems whatsoever, indeed they were
> specifically designed to permit everything we might require, maintain
> control in the hands of the editing members (should anything awful
> happen), etc.
>
> I re-wrote them from the initially proposed documents from long experience
> with designing and implementing such things (and multi-national contracts
> too) and then agreement with the WMF. I am not a lawyer on paper but I
> used to take my company law handbooks to bed with me for reading (and not
> to fall asleep to!) and would be happy to cast an eye over the proposed
> documentation and point up any issues there might be.

In terms of informed advice we (OSS Watch) can help too. But without
someone willing to stick their professional neck on the line any
solution is sub-optimal (not necessarily a blocker).

Ross

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Alison M. Wheeler
In reply to this post by Michael Peel
On Tue, September 23, 2008 13:00, Michael Peel wrote:
> I thought that the new ones were based on the standard charity ones,
> whereas the old ones weren't? Re-using the old ones could then cause
> us problems later when we go for charity status.

To clarify; the WER ones were explicitly written to enable application for
Charitable status with the Commission.

Alison


_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Andrew Whitworth-2
In reply to this post by Alison M. Wheeler
On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 7:56 AM, Alison Wheeler
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> AIUI there are a number of changes required to the new AoA/MoA as a result
> of Charity law/registration changes, although these are probably mostly a
> matter of detail not major rewrites.
>
> The WER documents caused no problems whatsoever, indeed they were
> specifically designed to permit everything we might require, maintain
> control in the hands of the editing members (should anything awful
> happen), etc.

As a subtle note, the requirements of the chapcom have also changed
since V1 became a chapter. One thing to point out is that we're
pushing very hard for a serious divorce between the concept of
"editors" on the wiki, and the concept of membership in the various
national chapters. Your MoA/AoA should not include any mention of a
relationship between the two, your membership should not be limited to
active editing wikimedians. There are a lot of open-content
enthusiasts in the world who can strengthen your cause but who do not
participate in these particular projects.

> The only 'root problem' WER experienced was the well-over-a-year holdup
> with the WMF not liking that we had (correctly and on a firm legal basis)
> not used "Wikimedia" in the name of the company. There were no other legal
> issues at all.

For as long as I've been a chapters committee member we've been
discouraging chapters from using "Wikimedia" in the name. In fact,
we've recently rejected one proposal for exactly that reason.

--Andrew Whitworth

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Delphine Ménard
On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 14:17, Andrew Whitworth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 7:56 AM, Alison Wheeler
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> AIUI there are a number of changes required to the new AoA/MoA as a result
>> of Charity law/registration changes, although these are probably mostly a
>> matter of detail not major rewrites.
>>
>> The WER documents caused no problems whatsoever, indeed they were
>> specifically designed to permit everything we might require, maintain
>> control in the hands of the editing members (should anything awful
>> happen), etc.
>
> As a subtle note, the requirements of the chapcom have also changed
> since V1 became a chapter. One thing to point out is that we're
> pushing very hard for a serious divorce between the concept of
> "editors" on the wiki, and the concept of membership in the various
> national chapters. Your MoA/AoA should not include any mention of a
> relationship between the two, your membership should not be limited to
> active editing wikimedians. There are a lot of open-content
> enthusiasts in the world who can strengthen your cause but who do not
> participate in these particular projects.
>
>> The only 'root problem' WER experienced was the well-over-a-year holdup
>> with the WMF not liking that we had (correctly and on a firm legal basis)
>> not used "Wikimedia" in the name of the company. There were no other legal
>> issues at all.
>
> For as long as I've been a chapters committee member we've been
> discouraging chapters from using "Wikimedia" in the name. In fact,
> we've recently rejected one proposal for exactly that reason.

Actually, that is not exactly accurate. Historically, we _have_ pushed
for "chapters" which actually answer the requirements and follow the
guidelines we've put together to use the name Wikimedia.

Wikimedia UK history is a different one, since WER precedes our
trademark being secured in the UK and this would have beena  problem.

Other organisations which do not, at this stage, answer the exact
requirements needed to become a chapter are indeed, discouraged to use
the trademark in their names.

Today, it might be interesting to revisit this notion and see if
Wikimedia UK can register under the legal name of Wikimedia UK and
whether this does not constitute a liability.

Cheers,

Delphine


--
~notafish

NB. This gmail address is used for mailing lists. Your emails will get lost.
Ceci n'est pas une endive - http://blog.notanendive.org

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Alison M. Wheeler
In reply to this post by Andrew Whitworth-2
On Tue, September 23, 2008 13:17, Andrew Whitworth wrote:
> One thing to point out is that we're
> pushing very hard for a serious divorce between the concept of
> "editors" on the wiki, and the concept of membership in the various
> national chapters. Your MoA/AoA should not include any mention of a
> relationship between the two, your membership should not be limited to
> active editing wikimedians. There are a lot of open-content
> enthusiasts in the world who can strengthen your cause but who do not
> participate in these particular projects.

lol. Actually this was one of the specific changes I made in the
originally proposed articles. The need to absolutely completely and
utterly delineate the separation between <WMF and the projects> and
<people involved with Chapter> is a nobrainer.

Alison


_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Alison M. Wheeler
In reply to this post by Delphine Ménard
On Tue, September 23, 2008 13:28, Delphine Ménard wrote:
> Today, it might be interesting to revisit this notion and see if
> Wikimedia UK can register under the legal name of Wikimedia UK and
> whether this does not constitute a liability.

I'd very strongly suggest not going down this route. Firstly as I get
tired of explaining to 'people' that Wikimedia-the-Chapter have no legal
responsibility for what Wikimedia-the-Foundation-and-projects get up to
and, sfaics using the name formally would just make that far far worse.
Secondly, our original reasoning that if something causes the Chapter to
need to be closed down and restarted (as, indeed, is currently proposed!)
then it makes things far easier to not have the name issue in the way*.

Alison


* one would end up with wonderful constructs such as "Wikimedia UK Ltd
(2008) t/a Wikimedia UK" etc

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Thomas Dalton
2008/9/23 Alison Wheeler <[hidden email]>:

> On Tue, September 23, 2008 13:28, Delphine Ménard wrote:
>> Today, it might be interesting to revisit this notion and see if
>> Wikimedia UK can register under the legal name of Wikimedia UK and
>> whether this does not constitute a liability.
>
> I'd very strongly suggest not going down this route. Firstly as I get
> tired of explaining to 'people' that Wikimedia-the-Chapter have no legal
> responsibility for what Wikimedia-the-Foundation-and-projects get up to
> and, sfaics using the name formally would just make that far far worse.
> Secondly, our original reasoning that if something causes the Chapter to
> need to be closed down and restarted (as, indeed, is currently proposed!)
> then it makes things far easier to not have the name issue in the way*.
>
> Alison
>
>
> * one would end up with wonderful constructs such as "Wikimedia UK Ltd
> (2008) t/a Wikimedia UK" etc

I'm going to agree with Alison here. It seems best to have "Wikimedia
UK" as just a trading name. In addition to the points Alison makes, I
don't see how we can use the trademark in our name before we've signed
a trademark agreement and we can't sign a trademark agreement until
there is a legal entity to sign it. It's a catch-22.
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Michael Peel
> I thought that the new ones were based on the standard charity ones,
> whereas the old ones weren't? Re-using the old ones could then cause
> us problems later when we go for charity status.

The old ones were based on the standard ones at the time, but those
have changed. To the best of my knowledge, the old ones were
absolutely fine at time they were written, they are no longer fine now
(they would probably just about work, but wouldn't be ideal). As
Alison says, I think the differences are just in the details, but they
are important details.

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Alison M. Wheeler
> I re-wrote them from the initially proposed documents from long experience
> with designing and implementing such things (and multi-national contracts
> too) and then agreement with the WMF. I am not a lawyer on paper but I
> used to take my company law handbooks to bed with me for reading (and not
> to fall asleep to!) and would be happy to cast an eye over the proposed
> documentation and point up any issues there might be.

The discussion regarding the new documents (which hasn't really got
underway yet) is at

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK_v2.0/Talk:MoA
and
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK_v2.0/Talk:AoA

Your input would be appreciated. Perhaps you could detail the changes
you made to the old models and then we could probably just make the
same changes to the new models.

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Ross Gardler
2008/9/23 Ross Gardler <[hidden email]>:

>
>
> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>> Ok, it's official, solicitors charge way too much (anyone particularly
>> surprised?).
>
>
> Yes, I am.
>
> I've been involved with not-for-profits in the past and never had a
> problem with this (although I've never dealt with the legal stuff myself).
>
> Given time it is likely you will find a solicitor who is willing to look
> over things for you at a vastly reduced rate in return for being
> associated with the chapter. in my experience it is normal to have a
> solicitor and an accountant on the board for precisely this reason.
>
> Take your time and don't rush things. This way you have plenty of time
> for planning and, where necessary, fund raising.
>
> Speaking personally, I would not be very unhappy with a "do it
> ourselves" approach, especially when coupled with the phrase "and hope
> we don't make any particularly serious mistakes". If you don't have the
> skills don't attempt it. This is a serious business.

Fundraising is very difficult before the chapter actually exists - it
would involve people handing over monetary gifts to random people they
met on the internet. If you know of anyone that will advise us
pro-bono, please put us in touch. If no-one knows of anyone, then we
have no choice but to do it ourselves - no amount of time is going to
make a contact appear from nowhere.

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: We can't afford solicitors

Ross Gardler


Thomas Dalton wrote:

> 2008/9/23 Ross Gardler <[hidden email]>:
>>
>> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>>> Ok, it's official, solicitors charge way too much (anyone particularly
>>> surprised?).
>>
>> Yes, I am.
>>
>> I've been involved with not-for-profits in the past and never had a
>> problem with this (although I've never dealt with the legal stuff myself).
>>
>> Given time it is likely you will find a solicitor who is willing to look
>> over things for you at a vastly reduced rate in return for being
>> associated with the chapter. in my experience it is normal to have a
>> solicitor and an accountant on the board for precisely this reason.
>>
>> Take your time and don't rush things. This way you have plenty of time
>> for planning and, where necessary, fund raising.
>>
>> Speaking personally, I would not be very unhappy with a "do it
>> ourselves" approach, especially when coupled with the phrase "and hope
>> we don't make any particularly serious mistakes". If you don't have the
>> skills don't attempt it. This is a serious business.
>
> Fundraising is very difficult before the chapter actually exists - it
> would involve people handing over monetary gifts to random people they
> met on the internet. If you know of anyone that will advise us
> pro-bono, please put us in touch. If no-one knows of anyone, then we
> have no choice but to do it ourselves - no amount of time is going to
> make a contact appear from nowhere.

Have you consulted with Business Link?

Ross

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK
http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
12