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  • Terms of Engagement

    Sarah Pilcher; Barrister and Solicitor, Auckland t/a The Franchise Lawyer 

    NZ LAW SOCIETY RULES OF CONDUCT AND CLIENT CARE FOR LAWYERS INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS 

    AND STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT JULY 2021

    a) Unless otherwise agreed, I will:

    (1) be the only person responsible for your work unless I advise you otherwise

    (2) act competently, in a timely way in accordance with your instructions

    (3) protect and promote your interests and act for you free of compromising influences or loyalties

    (4) clarify your objectives and how they can be achieved and give you clear information and advice

    (5) provide you with information about the work I will do and how it will be done, keep you informed about progress and let you know when it is completed

    (6) charge you a fair and reasonable fee if not quoted or estimated prior to commencing the work

    (7) protect your privacy and confidentiality

    (8) treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination

    (9) deal with any complaint from you promptly and fairly

    b) I will keep electronic copies of your files for 7 years including documents created for you, correspondence, emails, copies of important documents and file notes. I will not create or keep physical copies of your files or any documents. Upon completion of a matter, any original agreements and other paper versions of documents I have possession of that are related to your work will scanned and retained as electronic copies and the originals destroyed unless you specifically ask me to return them at the time they are created by me or provided to me.  I normally copy clients in on all emails and correspondence that are important or material to their work.  You may ask me at any time in writing by email to send you electronic copies of documents or communications that you do not have in your possession. I may charge an administration fee based on my actual time if the items are archived or require multiple emails to be sent and/or any printing and scanning to occur.

    c) You may use and copy and modify all documents and work I create for you for your own business however I will continue to own all copyright in the documentation and original ideas created by me unless otherwise specifically agreed. Subject to my duty of confidentiality to you I am entitled to use format and non-identifying content of documents and ideas used in your work for other clients. You may not provide copies of documents I have written, or my advice or legal opinions to other persons to copy or use for any reason without my prior consent, which I may withhold in my discretion.

    d) If you or another person make any changes or updates to any documentation, advice or opinion or other work prepared or provided by me I will not be responsible for the continuing effectiveness or validity of my work or advice unless I have reviewed and approved the changes in writing.

    e) I do not operate a trust account and I do not accept, hold or invest funds or assets, or process payments on your behalf or for any third party. I do not provide any legal services that are covered by the Anti Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT). This means that if I am acting for you on buying or selling a business or a lease I will advise you on the terms and conditions, risks, obligations and implications of those transactions that I consider important and relevant to you; but you will need to instruct an independent full services law firm to act for you to handle funds and / or settle or complete a transaction. I will decline to act on any matter or cease acting on a matter that I believe should be dealt with by a full services law firm. 

    f) I may be required to disclose or report information about you or your business to the Police if I have reason to believe you are using legal services for a dishonest purpose or as an aid to commit a crime, even if that information was given to me in confidence or would otherwise be protected by legal professional privilege. 

    g) Legal advice is not an exact science. Different lawyers have different approaches, theories and interpretations of how to apply the law, write a document, or identify all possible options and risks that are applicable to a client's situation.  I agree to use my reasonable endeavours to provide you with what I believe is professionally appropriate legal advice and services that are consistent with my experience and knowledge and your instructions. I do not give any warranty my advice or services will always be the 'right' or only way to assist you to achieve your objectives; or that you will like or agree with my advice or recommendations. Often the follow-up or implementation of advice or services by the client is key to a successful outcome; and factors outside the control of the lawyer or client can impact on the effectiveness or outcome of the lawyer's work. If you have any complaint about my work please tell me about it so we can endeavour to clarify and resolve matters of concern. If you are not satisfied with my response you can make a formal complaint to the NZ Law Society Lawyers Complaints Service ph 0800261801. NZ Law Society has a Fidelity Guarantee Fund which provides clients with protection against theft by a lawyer or their employee or agent to a maximum of $100,000. (see www.lawsociety.org.nz for further information). I have professional indemnity insurance with a cover level of $500,000 per claim, $1 million per annum which I am required to declare because it is less than the minimum recommended by the Law Society, but in my opinion more than adequate as I don't have a trust account or do high risk work such as conveyancing, large transactions, trusts, wills or handle any client funds .

    h) Fees & Payment: Where possible I will provide you with an estimate of fees for work before I start.  Where an estimate is not possible my fees are based on a variety of considerations the amount of time spent on your matter (current hourly rate of $395.00 plus GST); the skill, specialised knowledge, responsibility and experience required; the value of property or money involved; the importance, complexity, difficulty, urgency of the matter and results achieved; market fees; reasonable costs of running the practice. I will advise you of the invoicing schedule for larger projects which might involve a first payment being invoiced at the start of the project, then further invoices at defined stages. For ongoing or ad hoc work I usually invoice for work done within a month or two of completing the work. 

    i) Unless agreed otherwise before I commence any work, my invoices are to be paid within 7 days of invoice date by direct credit to the bank account noted on my invoice. If you have not paid your account I may stop acting for you and I am entitled to hold and not release your files and documents until all amounts are paid. Interest may be charged at 14% and any collection costs will be payable by you. If I am instructed by a company, partnership or trust all directors, shareholders, partners and trustees shall be personally responsible for payment of all fees and other charges if the client for any reason fails to pay on these terms or if in a liquidation or bankruptcy any funds paid to me by the client are clawed back. 

    j) My work is governed by the laws of New Zealand and the jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts. If I give you any advice or prepare documents for any other country or subject to any other law you accept that I am not qualified or admitted as a lawyer in any other jurisdiction; you are not entitled to rely on that advice or documentation being accurate, complete or effective and you are strongly recommended to obtain local advice in the applicable jurisdiction before proceeding with any decision or transaction.

    k) These Terms may be updated by at any time.  The current version which will always apply over any earlier version; can be found on www.thefranchiselawyer.co.nz