Overview of Serenwood Services – FAQs

Who are we?

Serenwood is a niche business consultancy, set up in 2010 to specialise in the delivery of practical commercial advice and legal support. Think of us as the perfect option to get your hands on an outsourced team of commercial experts.

Who are we not?

It’s really important to understand that we are not a law firm (nor do we want to be!). We make sure we are crystal clear to clients upfront about this fact, not least because we view it as a brilliant selling point for us. There’s a time and a place for instructing the lawyers, but at Serenwood we are focused on providing commercial and pragmatic support which is jargon-free and practical. As a consultancy, we’re are not confined by the framework set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, so we use our hard-earned legal skills to deliver top-notch business advice direct to the heart of your business.

So you’re lawyers-turned-consultants?

It’s certainly true that many of our team are qualified solicitors. But we also have finance experts, procurement gurus and supplier managers in our midst. Our common goal is to work closely with our clients to deliver practical solutions based on “more than the law”. Each of our team members have spent 10+ years either practicing the law in big law firms or acting as commercial advisors in large corporates, and under the Serenwood banner we use our expertise to deliver hands-on support. Our individual team members have achieved all manner of qualifications, experience and accolades and we love putting all that expertise to good use in your business.

Sounds great. So can I save on my current legal spend?

The Serenwood offering does not necessarily replace or compete with the very necessary work done by traditional law firms. There is a rightful place for specific legal advice and we will be the first to let you know when we can see that you need to bring that onboard.  For many of our clients, saving on external legal spend can however be a welcome bonus, especially since we can helpfully serve as a useful bridge between your business and an external legal firm. We’re jargon-free and straight-talking so we can help your team to translate and implement tricky legal advice. We can make sure your teams stay day-to-day within the confines of the legal advice you’ve paid good money for. And we can make sure that smaller, day to day tasks are taken care of in a very cost-effective manner, upskilling your internal team at the same time.

How to describe the Serenwood service, then?

We’re a talented bunch and we turn our hands to all manner of things in the commercial space. We’re also keen not to be boxed-in or labelled, quite simply because the people in our team have a unique skill-set and we also have access to third party services which can extend our offering, according to client need. We pride ourselves in being agile and responding creatively to the commercial challenges our clients face – staying ahead of the curve and constantly introducing new ways of doing things.

But at the heart of our service offering is a love and wide-ranging expertise around commercial contracts and all things contractual.

They are our Zone of Genius.

So first and foremost we focus on contract foundations for our clients –  how to help you create, negotiate, understand and deliver your contracts with excellence, mitigating risks along the way.

With that in mind, you could use us in a number of ways:

  • to supplement your in-house legal team with a savvy, experienced locum who can hit the ground running with an independent workload (often at short notice);
  • to support an overworked Finance Director who needs practical help to review and decipher a mass of trading contracts;
  • roll us out to negotiate a key deal on your behalf (or to objectively settle a dispute);
  • training for your sales’ teams on the essentials of contract law (aka how to make sure they don’t sign the business up to dangerous deals)
  • educate your operations team on how to comply with critical contracts;
  • undertake an audit of your commercial strategy to recognise cost savings….

…the list goes on.

How does it work day-to-day?

Each client is unique and so we bespoke our offering to each client’s requirement. We fulfil a “trusted-advisor” role and as a small business, we’re agile and flexible to respond to the day to day needs of your business.

We can offer project-based support, interim roles, ad hoc commercial advice, drafting of contractual documents or ongoing retained advice on a monthly retainer.

In fact, we know from experience that the Serenwood model works best when we build a long-term relationship with our clients, because it allows us to get immersed in the client’s business, thereby adding value quickly and efficiently upon each individual engagement.

Tell us what you need and we will work with you to create a solution. Of course once onboard, we’ll be using our expertise to identify opportunities and make recommendations for increased value-add such as cost-savings, re-negotiation or revision of commercial strategy. This means that we do not stand still and wait for clients to instruct us – we work alongside you and your team to proactively identify what needs doing and then roll our sleeves up and help you to find solutions.

Our experience

We’ve helped clients across multiple sectors including information technology, telecommunications, health, education, construction, financial services and the public sector.

Our team approach means we have wide ranging experience across contract review/drafting/creation and negotiation, deal-shaping, end-to-end procurement, pre and post contract management, change control, dispute resolution, mediation, supply chain review and cost savings, governance and compliance, bid management and tender processes.

We have advised on a wide range of high value and high profile procurement activities, however we also enjoy working with a growing number of SMEs and entrepreneurial companies, providing varied advice including IT/IP, strategic relationship building, negotiation of cost savings and resolution of contract disputes. As well as the negotiation and procurement of contracts we are adept in managing contracts through periods of change and in supporting arbitration, mediation or litigious activity.

Costing Your Project

The Serenwood approach is to provide a fixed fee proposal for clients so there is certainty of budget within which the relationship can operate. We do not tend to operate to an hourly or daily rate mechanism because this is the traditional way of working for law firms and management consultancies and we believe that this encourages clock-watching,

Some clients do however prefer to commission us for ad-hoc work and in that case we can and do use a standard daily or hourly rate. This would allows you to make a comparison with other professional services providers which work to this type of model (and we’re sure you’ll find us cost-effective in this regard).

The best-value way for you to engage us is on a retained package, and this allows us to pass on savings of between 30%-50% against our standard rates, quite simply because we can then manage our workflow and capacity efficiently and ensure that our people are working cost effectively against our core retained client accounts.

At the outset of our relationship we therefore work with you to agree an initial scope of deliverables and agree a fixed price package, Internally we set a guesstimate for the people who will work on that project for you within the set period of time and the support you will require.

We are confident that once we are working alongside your team, you will recognise a multitude of savings and efficiencies and swiftly come to realise that we offer a great value for money. We’re so confident on this that we offer a money-back guarantee (I know – we must be mad – fortunately no-one has exercised this clause yet. Perhaps our clients know that we’d no doubt be able to expertly negotiate our way out of it….)


Like what you read? You can get lots more information about our services on our website www.serenwood.co.uk. We’d love to explore how Team Serenwood could help your business get ahead, so drop us an email us hello@serenwood.co.uk, give us a ring on 0113 2252110 or pop in and see us at our office in Sicklinghall, Yorkshire.