About Us

legalese noun 1. the formal and technical language of legal documents.

,li:gɘ’li:z/ informal “the typed pages were full of confusing legalese”

Legalese is a creative legal agency which has redesigned legal services to suit creative, start-up, and tech-based businesses by making them accessible, affordable and understandable.

Traditionally, lawyers are called to fix problems. Legalese looks at law differently – utilizing modern technology and innovative thinking to tailor-make legal solutions that suit your business and prevent problems occurring in the first place. Our belief is that lawyers are best used prophylactically.

We are not a law firm. Do not call us when you get arrested. We are here for one thing – to take care of your business’ legal needs so you can focus on what you do best; your vision and your business.

Our approach to legal services comes from a mix of practice in corporate law firms, years of experience in the South African creative sector and a background in running start-ups. In this way, we speak the language of creativity as well as the legalese of the law.

Eitan Stern

Legalese's founder and director, Eitan is a practising attorney with a background in commercial and entertainment law and tech entrepreneurship.

Reneesha Davidson

Reneesha is an admitted attorney specialising in commercial law, with a background in litigation. She works with creative businesses and start-ups, to assist them to manage commercial relationships, reduce risk, solve organisational problems and prophylactically avoid disputes. Reneesha has an eye for detail, combined with a comprehensive understanding of the bigger picture, turning grand ideas into business methodologies.

Stephan Viollier

Steph is a practising attorney licensed in both South Africa and New York with a background in media and commerce. He specialises in intellectual property law, focusing on trade marks, international copyright and technology licenses.

Catherine Marcus

Legalese's paralegal, Catherine focuses on music and tech trends, legal research, royalty administration, and legal applications, registrations and licensing.

Thomas Reisenberger

An admitted attorney with a global firm background, Thomas brings regulation and compliance expertise to Legalese, with a specialisation in burgeoning industries utilising emerging data technologies and online systems. With his unique understanding of both technology and the law combined with a focus on creating a bespoke and solutions-driven service, compliance becomes straightforward, understandable and relevant.

Angisiwe Mafumana

Legalese's Operations Manager, Angi has an eye for processes, productivity and efficiency. She keeps all our ducks in a row and ensures smooth sailing, no matter the weather.

Yvonne Lazarowicz

Yvonne is a senior commercial lawyer with international experience. She has worked in the UK and South Africa with both emerging and growing start-ups in sectors ranging from fashion, travel to education and fin-tech: and everything in between. Yvonne enjoys working as an integral part of businesses, guiding them from the germination of an idea through to the foundations of corporate governance, structuring legal and commercial risk, all the way to managing investor funding, and beyond.

Our Services

Artists, Creatives and Musicians

Over the past decade, the South African creative sector has grown into a thriving industry where musicians, artists, performers, sportsmen and filmmakers have turned their hobbies into professions. This progression did not happen by chance – it’s come about as a result of serious artists, investing time and effort into the business behind their art, as well as into the art itself.

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Legalese offers a spectrum of legal services to musicians, creatives, management agencies, record labels and anyone else dealing with artistic performance or intellectual property. Whether you need contracts drafted, guidance on publishing deals or just a chat over coffee to bounce around an idea, we strip away the incomprehensible legalese and talk to you in a language you can hear, at a price that you can afford.

Some of the services we offer to the entertainment industry:

  • Performance and booking agreements
  • SAMRO registration and management
  • Management agreements
  • Band member agreements
  • Publishing, distribution and licensing agreements
  • Photographic and media release forms
  • Terms of engagement
  • Intellectual property protection
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Start-up Companies

Starting your own business can be exciting, nerve racking and difficult. You understand how your product works and why it’s a game changer. Yet there are so many elements that feel out of your control: Are you supposed to register a company and pay tax? How do you protect your interests and make sure everything is done by the book? What should you do to ensure good and sustainable relationships with your partners?

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No matter your entrepreneurial needs, Legalese can offer you practical legal advice and guidance on the best way forward. We offer user-friendly legal products and packages designed specifically for small start-up companies. We charge set fees which are appropriate to your business size – not the ever growing amounts determined by lawyers “billable hours”. We offer quick and professional service – so that you know what you are getting and when you will get it.

Some of the services we offer to start-up companies:

  • Business structuring (Pty? CC? Sole Proprietor? What works best for my business)
  • Company registration
  • Service agreements
  • Operating license applications
  • Drafting of company terms and conditions
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Lease agreements
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Growing and Established Businesses

So you started a little project from your bedroom three summers ago now suddenly you have a fully operational business, overheads to cover, two employees to pay and investors who are keeping an eye on your business growth. You never imagined it would get to this point. There is clearly some housekeeping to do because this business is going places.

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As opportunity grows, so do potential liabilities. If you’re taking the step up, Legalese can work with you to ensure you’re doing it correctly, efficiently and in a cost effective manner. We can guide you through dealing with investors, protecting shareholders, license applications or restructuring business entities to ensure you are making the most out of the resources available to you.

Some of the services which we offer to growing and established businesses:

  • Tailor-made commercial agreements
  • Employment agreements
  • Corporate structuring
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Subscription agreements
  • Loan agreements
  • Business consulting
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Tailormade Legal Solutions

You have a business idea, but there is some red tape to climb. Maybe its visa related. Maybe you want to protect your idea from being stolen. Perhaps you’ve come up with a method to innovate your industry and you’re wondering whether it is legal. You could have come to a disagreement with your business partner and you need some help to sort your differences. Perhaps you don’t know what you need, but you know you need something.

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Legalese has access to a network of experienced attorneys, accountants, consultants and strategists who can assist with any legal issues you may encounter on your road to success. While legal services are traditionally old-fashioned, Legalese looks at law differently, utilizing modern technology and innovative thinking to construct legal solutions that suit you and your business.

Some of the additional legal services which we offer:

  • Visa applications
  • Legal research and consulting
  • Mediation and discussion facilitation
  • Intellectual property registration
  • Technological legal solutions
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Start-Up Compliance and Regulation Service

Whether you are an international company looking to start operations in South Africa, or a local enterprise seeking to ensure your business adheres with your industry’s rules and regulations, your operations need to be legal and compliant. Keeping things above board increases efficiency, improves reputational reliability, and keeps unpredictable regulators at bay.

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Particularly in the growing fields of ICT, e-commerce and other web-based services, statutory duties imposed on your business can be intimidating, confusing and difficult to navigate. The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013Know Your Customer rules, the Consumer Protection Act 68 0f 2008…  It’s a headache and it all changes so fast. Regardless of the product or service you are offering, Legalese can partner with you to ensure you’re sticking to the rule book and you’ve got all your ducks in a row no matter the nature or size of your operation.

For a better understanding of some of the services we can offer, please see the following:

  • Consumer-facing compliance (terms & conditions, duties & obligations, recalls, online transactions, Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008) 
  • Licensing, registrations and permits
  • Pre-investment/launch compliance advice
  • Engagement and facilitation with specific government regulators (Civil Aviation Authority,  Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, South African Bureau of Standards)
  • Distribution advice regarding imports and exports
  • Website and application regulatory compliance and policy drafting
  • Advice on particular regulatory elements of online services (cryptography, payment systems, agency, intermediary, data-use)
  • Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 compliance
  • Workplace data, privacy and surveillance advice and policy creation
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Trade Mark and other Intellectual Property Services

You’re starting a brand, it’s just about to take off, but you’re not sure what other similar brands are out there. Maybe you’ve been investing in your brand for years and you want to make sure its valuable reputation is protected. Or, it’s too late, and someone’s gone and stolen your idea or logo and their products are being mistaken for yours. 

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Perhaps you want to license or sell your brand, or you’re thinking of stepping things up a notch and taking it overseas. For any of these situations, registering a trade mark protects your business identity and prevents your competition from using a confusingly similar (or identical) one. If protected properly, your trade mark can become the most valuable asset in your business.

Registering your trademark involves a few hurdles and tricks to get right. Legalese has a dedicated Intellectual Property lawyer specializing in all things copyright and trademark related. With years of experience under our belts, we can advise on and handle the process, and work with you on a strategy to best protect what’s yours.

Some of the IP-related services we offer:

  • Advice on brand or trade mark suitability and protection possibilities
  • Search service for competitive and infringing trademarks
  • Registration of trade marks
  • Trade mark management
  • Renewal administration of trade marks
  • Assignment of trade marks
  • Opposition of trade marks
  • Copyright
  • Registered Designs
  • Patents
  • Domain Name Registrations and Disputes
  • Counterfeit Goods
  • Protecting your Know-How and Trade Secrets
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Got any IP issues? We can probably help.
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Free Trade Mark Check

As a first step towards securing your trade mark, we’ll do a free check for you to see if your exact chosen word or phrase may be available. We will then send you our results and more information on the registration process.

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Our Clients

Afrika Burn
Red Bull Amaphiko
Bamboo Revolution
Beanstalk
Brannas Draught
Crazy White Boy
Greenpop
Jonx Pillemer Photography
Living Room
One-Eyed Jack
Sibot
Tedx Cape Town
The Bread
Wolf Maiden
iXperience
Southern Guild Gallery
PHFAT
Have You Heard

Some Questions

What is Legalese?

Just to be clear, while Legalese is run by lawyers, it is not a law firm. Legalese is a creative legal agency designed specifically to service the creative and small business sector. By not registering as a law firm, Legalese is able to steer clear of the regulations and requirements of traditional law firms as well as many of the expenses involved.

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The advantage of this is that it keeps our costs down – which in turn keeps our fees down. Moreover it means that we can direct our full attention to offering only those legal services which creative businesses and start-ups need.

In this way, Legalese is no different to any other creative business. We are trained lawyers who noticed a way to innovate legal services by making them accessible, creative and cheaper. So while we don’t have the word ‘incorporated’ on our company name, we do have competent legal minds with experience in the creative industry and running start-ups. Just as you do your business differently, so do we.

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Why do creative businesses need lawyers?

If you’re running a fly-by-night business or a project in your spare time, then you don’t want to waste your money on legal fees. However if you have a vision, if you are putting your money on the line and are taking your work seriously, then ensuring your legal affairs are in order is imperative.

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The correct entity needs to be registered. You may need a license to operate. The rights and responsibilities of shareholders or partners need to be agreed upon and put into writing to avoid conflict. If you make music, take photos or create art, you need to ensure your ownership is protected. Similarly, if your business is to promote and sell other people’s art or talent, you need to make sure you have the right to do so and are protected. You may offer a great service with genuine intentions, but what happens if things go wrong?

Cape Town’s creative sector has taken a step up. The projects are international, the money is significant and the consequences are real. Formalizing your legal affairs is an investment in your business which separates the hipsters from the professionals. Much the same as investing in marketing can yield significant returns, so can investing in legal services.

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Creatives and start-ups have no money, how can they afford legal fees?

Simply enough, we believe this to be a fallacy. Creatives are often freelancers. This means that their earnings can be irregular, but not that they earn poorly. Many creatives offer a professional service and can charge adequate fees in return.

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Legal services need not cost more than any other business service. Spending money on legal services should be seen as an investment in your business. A service agreement designed specifically for you may be sent out hundreds of times each year – if you think in the long-term, legal fees start to become affordable. For the same price as a dinner and a music festival ticket, you can ensure your business is protected for years to come.

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Why not use just any lawyers?

Traditionally, lawyers are expensive, intimidating and litigious. They charge per minute, have a financial interest in taking your matter to court and while they understand the law and look great in a three-piece suit, for the most part, they do not understand you or your industry.

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Lawyers do not have the reputation of being approachable. You, as a business owner in the creative or tech industry, probably aren’t too keen to approach the first attorney you happened to Google, for an unknown amount of money, to draw up contracts that you don’t even know you want or need.

Legalese is different from traditional law firms. We are not a law firm, we a creative legal agency. Our approach to law comes from years of experience in the South African creative sector and a background in operating start-ups. You will not have to explain how a tech rider works or why it is important to keep overheads lean during the winter seasons. We speak the language of creativity as well as the legalese of the law.

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What about online legal resources?

Do you drink real coffee or are you satisfied with instant? Do you use a professional designer who understands your concept or is ilovelogos.com good enough for your business?

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As an example, a contract is a record of the agreement between two parties, protected by law. Your business model is different from your competitors which makes your legal requirements different too. Every single term of a contract is binding on you and thus your contracts need to reflect exactly what you are doing and not just more or less what you are doing.

Legal services are not one size fits all and cannot be cookie cut. Online services do not understand your business, your realistic concerns and your industry. Legalese does.

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Price List

Package
service
cost
New Business Starter Pack
 
 
 
Consultation
Free
 
Company registration
R1 500.00
 
Tax Number Registration and Clearance
R2 100.00
 
Shareholders Agreement
R3 500.00
 
Terms of Engagement
R2 850.00
 
 
R9 950.00
Growing Business Package
 
 
 
Consultation
Free
 
Employment Agreement
R2 500.00
 
Shareholders Agreement
R3 000.00
 
Loan Agreement
R4 000.00
 
 
R9 500.00
Musician, Band or Producer Package
 
 
 
Consultation
Free
 
SAMRO Registration
R1 000.00
 
CAPASSO Registration
R1 000.00
 
Band Member Agreement
R2 500.00
 
Collaboration Agreement
R2 000.00
 
Performance Booking Contract
R2 500.00
 
 
R9 000.00
Creative Agency Suite
 
 
 
Consultation
Free
 
Client Terms of Engagement
R2 900.00
 
Content Licensing Agreement
R2 900.00
 
Performance Booking Contract
R2 500.00
 
Shareholders Agreement
R3 500.00
 
 
R11 800.00
Freelancer Package
 
 
 
Consultation
Free
 
Client Terms of Engagement
R3 500.00
 
Content Release or Usage Agreement
R2 000.00
 
 
R5 500.00
Intellectual Property Package
 
 
 
Consultation
Free
 
Medium Search
R1 500.00
 
Trade Mark Registration (first class)
R2 990.00
 
Trade Mark Registration (additional class)
R2 590.00
 
 
R7 080.00
Social Enterprise and Non-Profit Package
 
 
 
Consultation
Free
 
Non-Profit Company Application
R3 500.00
 
Hybrid Structure Design Structure
R4 500.00
 
S18A Application (Public Benefit Organisation)
R8 000.00
 
Directors Employment Agreement
R2 500.00
 
 
R18 500.00
Regulatory Compliance Package
 
 
 
Product-specific Regulations Advice
R3 990.00
 
Regulatory Authority Advice (e.g. SARS, SARB, CIPC, CAA)
R2 000.00
 
Consumer Protection Guidance
R4 000.00
 
 
R9 990.00
Website & App Compliance Package
 
 
 
Pre-launch Legal Checklist
R3 990.00
 
“Big 5” Policies
R6 000.00
 
Online Regulation Guidance
R3 000.00
 
 
R12 990.00
Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) Compliance Suite
 
 
 
POPI Breakdown
R990.00
 
POPI-readiness Checklist
R2 000.00
 
POPI-compliant Privacy and Personal Information Policy
R1 000.00
 
POPI-readiness Analysis
R3 500.00
 
 
R7 490.00

** VAT excl.
Prices are a guideline only and are subject to changes depending on specific requirements.
Services are available individually.
Email us directly at info@legalese for other services.

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190 Buitengracht Street
Bo Kaap
Cape Town
8000

44 Stanley Ave
Milpark
Johannesburg
2092