Due to the magnitude and complexity in a case, several Counsel were briefed and retained at different times to share responsibilities.
Some transactions or litigation matters may be enormous for a Counsel or perhaps a law firm to successfully handle. Thus, a client may engage the services of a Counsel or Law firm at the outset of a matter, and subsequently, engage another Counsel or law firm, or jointly engage the services of a Counsel and a law firm.
It is solely the prerogative of a client to appoint a representative. Conversely, both Counsel or law firms have joint responsibilities to the client and must act together.
Notably, the original representative may decline if not comfortable with the development.
The Rules of Professional Conduct make provision for the relationship with other lawyers. In Nigeria, Part C of the RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS, 2007 regulates associating in a matter Rule 28 (1) & (2) states as follows:
- —– (1) It is the right of the client to proffer, either on his own, or on the advice of his lawyer, the service of an additional lawyer in a matter.
(2) Where a lawyer is employed by a client to join the original lawyer, the later lawyer shall decline if it is objectionable to the original lawyer, but if the original lawyer is relieved of his retainer by the client or he withdraws, the later lawyer may come into the matter, and in that case he shall use his best endeavour to ensure that all the fees due to the other lawyer in the matter are paid.
It is pertinent that parties act together in a joint representation.
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