66 Porchester Road, London

How to read contracts is part of a growing number of masterclasses run by Virgin StartUp to give entrepreneurs the practical skills and tools they need to start, fund and scale a successful businesses.

This class is part of the Step Up Masterclass Series – for start-ups looking to scale. Click here to find out more and receive a discount on the individual admission price when purchasing the whole series.


About this class

Growing your start up from your great idea into a thriving, successful business will require making the best use of your contractual terms and avoiding hidden pitfalls. Spending your time wisely now to set out what is intended from the outset will avoid costly disagreements and reputational damage in future.

This brand new workshop led by Martin Fanning, a partner at the Dentons international law firm who is a leader in the field of commercial contracts, will take you through the essential elements of commercial contracts. The interactive session will be given in "business speak" and will offer a good grasp of the basic considerations when entering into a contract.  By the end of the workshop you will have developed a good understanding of the essential points which you should cover in your contracts, which will allow you to know exactly where you stand, develop better working relationships and provide you with a paper trail in case things do not go to plan. 


Key takeaways

  • Things to think about before you contract: Will your early discussions be kept confidential? Is your IP protected? Are you bidding against competitors? What is your leverage?
  • Why bother with a contract? How much detail you need to include to eliminate doubt and set out your intentions from the outset.
  • What does it look like? Elements for a valid contract, typical anatomy of a contract.
  • What are the key points to negotiate? Warranties, indemnities, payment terms, termination rights, boilerplate.
  • What happens if things go wrong? Escalation, liability caps and exclusions, action for breach of contract, dispute resolution.


Who is this class for?

  • You are a customer frequently faced with complex supplier contract terms which are difficult to negotiate; you need to know which areas of the contract you can negotiate in your favour and how to protect yourself.
  • Or maybe, you’re a supplier and you want to know how to maintain a competitive advantage and protect yourself if something goes wrong in the supply chain.


This is a basic, entry level class, but you should ideally arrive with:

  • A clear understanding of your business logistics and what terms you think are currently missing from your contracts.
  • Any examples of complex clauses you have been faced with that have concerned you.


About the instructor

Martin Fanning is a partner at Dentons and is a Legal 500 "Leading Individual" in the field of commercial contracts and cross-border sourcing arrangements. Martin has over 15 years’ experience advising public bodies, financial institutions and other large corporates in the field  on a wide range of complex information technology intellectual property and data protection.

Terms and Conditions

i.      By buying a ticket, you consent to being filmed, recorded and photographed at the event as a member of the audience and to footage and photographs of you being used by Virgin StartUp in any medium for the promotion and marketing of Virgin StartUp and the Virgin Group.

ii.      Views expressed by speakers at the event may not be the views of Virgin StartUp. Event materials are provided on an “as is” basis and Virgin StartUp makes no warranty regarding the accuracy or completeness of those materials.

iii.      Speakers and attendees are subject to change and we do not guarantee that any specific speakers or participants will appear at the event. However, we will always try to find a suitable replacement if one of our key speakers or participants is unable to attend.

iv.      You attend the event at your own risk. You are responsible for safeguarding your property when attending the event. Virgin StartUp will have no liability for property lost, stolen or damaged at the event.

v.      You must be aged 18 or over to attend the event and may be asked to show photographic identification to prove your age.

vi.      Tickets can be transferred, exchanged, or refunded once purchased as long as the claim is made 7 days before the event is due to take place.

vii.      Whilst we cannot guarantee that our events will be at venues offering disabled access, please do let us know as far as possible in advance, of any requirements you may have in relation to access or any other disability requirements and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.