Monday, June 28, 2010

Should I act as an attorney for a client?

A number of people contacted me following last week's post with questions in relation to the consequences of an accountant or financial adviser (or for that matter a lawyer) acting as an attorney for a client.

Many of you will have either professional body guidelines or guidelines that your firm has agreed to implement about the basis on which (if at all) you can take on the role of an attorney.

In a practical sense, the two biggest issues you need to ensure are addressed:

1. The conflict of interest rules are very strict in this area. It is always preferable to have a very clear statement in the attorney appointment document confirming that the person appointing you as their representative waives any prohibition on you acting due to an issue of conflict.
2. Similarly, on a number of levels, it is always our strong recommendation that the professional adviser be permitted to charge their standard professional fees. This ability should be clearly set out in the appointment document.

Until next week.

Matthew Burgess