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Legally Speaking: Douglas Hand on Fashion Law Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Douglas Hand is one of the pre-eminent fashion lawyers in the United States and a founding member of the law firm Hand Baldachin & Associates, LLP (HBA) which specializes in the representation of fashion and lifestyle companies (such as Stella McCartney, Everlane, Zadig and Voltaire, Altuzarra and Anna Sui). As the fashion industry embarks on its road to recovery, we asked Hand to speak on the legal side of that journey. In a recent digital session presented by PROJECT, Hand shares insight on everything from working with retailers who have recently filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection to lease negotiations, and more. 

 On Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection:

“One of the things that I think brands should be thinking about proactively with respect to retailers that have not filed [for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection] is either changing your payment terms and getting paid up front or COD or if that’s not available, and it’s often not with retailers, selling on consignment, and when your inventory goes into the physical location of the retailer, filing and perfecting a security interest in your own inventory.”

On Leasehold Issues:

“When evaluating your lease whether it’s an office space, showroom or store, you’ve got to take into account, is there a personal guarantee?” 

On Contractual Rights:

“We always advocate with respect to POs and other important contracts regarding payment to include what’s known as legal fees reimbursement provision in the event of non-payment and you have to actually engage lawyers to get your bills paid.”

On Trademarks:

“The trademark is let’s face it, the crown jewel asset of your company…You know inventory is worth a lot until it's not and it’s out of fashion, but ultimately your brand name, which is the ability to sell inventory now and on into the future is what accrues in value and therefore protecting it is very very important.” 

Want more insight into fashion law? Click here to watch Hand’s digital session in its entirety. 

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