Who says contracts have to be boring? Certainly not newly Certified B Corporation, Checklist Legal – a boutique law firm helping women in business and law to create contracts clients love.
Founded by commercial lawyer turned legal innovation expert Verity White, Checklist Legal believes that thoughtfully designed contracts are crucial to improving confidence and quality of life for business owners. Where do we sign?
To celebrate their recent certification, we sat down with Chief Contract Enthusiast Verity to learn more about the importance of jargon-free contracts and creating greater change for gender equality through business.
Why did you want to certify as a B Corp?
I knew I loved working with B Corps and wanted to ‘have what they have’ in terms of greater accountability, transparency and impact measurement. Then, it was about how I could best achieve Checklist Legal’s three primary aims, to:
- Empower women in business and law
- Change the way the world creates and uses contracts
- Inspire lawyers or ‘legal legends’ to forge a different path and make the legal industry more inclusive
I believed (and still do) that the best way for us to achieve this was to deliberately design an impact business model, set up a fantastic business structure and become a B Corp.
Checklist Legal doesn’t sound like any ordinary law firm. Could you tell us a bit more about what makes your business unique?
There are not many law firms that care about contracts as much as we do! After 10+ years in corporate law land, I saw a problem. Too many business owners and lawyers were held back by confusing contracts and clunky legal processes.
On the contrary, I have seen the power that good, clear contracts can have for business owners. We create clear, readable and practical contract design, innovative legal services and fun legal content designed for humans (not lawyers).
Running a business is hard enough, and I wanted to take the indecision and overwhelm caused by confusing contracts out of the equation. But it’s also about more than just better contracts.
I set up Checklist Legal to be a different kind of passionate about making a positive impact for the community we work in, changing the legal industry for the better, and bringing more to business than just making money.
Could you give us some specific examples of how you’re going about making a positive impact?
Can I ever! I knew from the get-go that I wanted Checklist Legal to be the kind of place where clients and employees work to make the world a kinder, clearer, better place for more people.
We work primarily with women-owned businesses, women-led legal teams, and we are working to ensure that all of our key suppliers are either owned or co-owned by a woman, including 30 percent fellow B Corps.
We also donate five percent of our time to support women-led not-for-profits or femme founders from underserved communities with their legal documents. And we donate one percent of our revenue to causes we care about through B1G1, including education programs for girls and activities under Sustainable Development Goals 4 (Quality Education), Goal 5 (Gender Equality) and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).
Advocating for gender equality seems to be a high priority in your business. What else would you like to see become the norm in your industry?
As you said, Checklist Legal’s mission is to create a world where femme founders feel confident and courageous in business. We would like to see companies striving for greater gender equality across all areas of business, right up to the board room. And we would like to see everyone, no matter their background, given the opportunity to learn and grow.
Other things we want to see become the norm is responsible procurement when it comes to office supplies, service providers, tech and client gifts – us included. And, of course, we want to reduce the number of crappy contract templates!
Bad contracts are like the ocean plastic of the business world. Ideally, we would like to see a more collaborative approach to contracts be the norm.
Clear, balanced and understandable contracts result in easier and more sustainable businesses. If we want to live in a better world, businesses (and especially law firms!) must take a central role in creating and demonstrating best practice in user design and sustainability.
We like to think the future of the legal industry looks like more of a simplicity mullet, with far less jargon and far better designed and user-focused contracts.
We can’t possibly go any further without unpacking the phrase ‘simplicity mullet’. Tell us more.
Easy! Contracts that are clear cut at the front, details out the back.
Leading up to your certification, did you look to any B Corps for inspiration?
Who Gives A Crap and Sharesies are both clients of Checklist Legal and I love their energy and enthusiasm, in addition to doing business for an incredible purpose. Harvey is also amazing in the way they have shared their impact and B Corp journey, which I found extremely helpful as an aspiring B Corp.
Learn more: Checklist Legal’s favourite B Corps ↗
Finally, do you have any tips for aspiring B Corps about the certification process?
I would also say to definitely reach out to one of the many amazing B Consultants out there. I did a few sessions with the team at Really Good and they helped me to wrap my head around the various opportunities within the B Corp landscape. This helped finalise our submission and, ultimately, become certified.
A big thank you and congratulations to Verity and Checklist Legal for achieving B Corp certification. To find out more about their work or get in touch, visit: checklistlegal.com