A Perfect Example of a Miserable Retainership Letter


    We recently received a letter from a company offering that we render legal services. The content of the letter would make you weep for the profession. The worst case is that the letter was conceived, drafted and signed by a colleague (a legal practitioner). We initially gave a benefit of doubt to the company and engaged the author of the letter. She said very shocking things during our engagement. The most shocking information she gave was that a law firm whom the company has been with for 10 years has been rendering legal services under the terms contained in the letter and the company would not review the terms of engagement for any other law firm it would engage. Please enjoy the letter:


    Dear Sir,


    The above subject refers.

    We are currently sourcing for a law firm to handle our legal matters, when the terms of the incumbent law firm we have engaged comes to an end, on the 31st of December, 2017.

    We carry on business as a sales and distribution company. We retain tobacco products and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) pan Lagos State. A large percentage of our cases are criminal matters ranging from stealing, fraud, conspiracy and breach of trust. We are looking at getting a law firm who has sufficient manpower, professional experience in criminal/civil procedures learned lawyers.

    The scope of work for the Law Firm we want to engage as an all-inclusive retainer, include

    1. The law firm should have sufficient and available lawyers to handle our matters.
    2. The law firm should have astute professionals and ready to diligently work for our company and associate company.
    3. To liaise with the investigation police officer (IPO) to draft the charge sheet.
    4. To liaise with the Police Prosecutor on prosecution and tips on how matter should be professionally and diligently prosecuted for best result.
    5. May be required to apply for a fiat to prosecute matters.
    6. The law firm will be required to defend criminal, civil actions or a quasi-judicial matter/proceedings.
    7. Required to file and handle civil action in any court from the commencement to judgment.
    8. Required to provide legal opinion which may include changes in the existing laws, statutes sine quo non to the company’s business, compliance and statutory matters whether relating to Government policies or to the company.
    9. The Law firm retained shall act for the company and its associates companies.
    10. The law firm shall in conformity with recognized and enforceable rules of ethics and professional endeavor act and secure the highest performance of the following services to the company without additional fees.
    11. The law firm shall be required to represent the company in meetings where the rights or otherwise of the company staff shall be deliberated.
    12. The law firm shall be required to issue report on court proceedings, meeting it attended on behalf of the company immediately, or as soon as practicable, electronic report will be sufficient, where the delivery of hard copies may be delayed.

    We currently have twelve (12) criminal matters where the external lawyer is holding watching brief for us, we have five (5) civil matters and two (2) matter at the National Industrial Court respectively. 

    The commercial aspect shall be thus: 

    1. The profession/retainership fee shall be a cumulative sum of Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N400,000) per annum, payable in two equal installments, the first payment will be paid upon the execution of a service agreement and the second half payment will be due after the first six (6) months of the retainership agreement.
    2. We will settle the cost of filing and service of court processes in arrears, once we get a copy of the filing receipt or agree on the cost of service.
    3. The transportation expenses per day to represent the company in any location in Lagos State is fixed at Two Thousand Naira (N2,000).

     All other matters will be discussed when we receive a positive response, stating interest to work with us on the terms shared above and from the timeline indicated.

    Are lawyers not the worst enemies of lawyers?

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