Terms of engagement

1. About us

William Brennan and Hugh McGroddy practice under the title and style of William J. Brennan & Co. Solicitors, a partnership, and this business name is registered with the Companies Registration Office in the Republic of Ireland.

Our registered office address is at 12/15 Killegland Street, Ashbourne Town Centre, County Meath. We are also located at 33 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2.

Our registered business name number is 376955.

Our VAT number is 9694495K.

We are authorised and regulated by the Law Society of Ireland.

The standards and requirements that we are expected to achieve and to observe can be found in the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2013.

We hold professional indemnity insurance with Allianz Insurance who can be contacted via our brokers Kelleher Insurances, 3 Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, Co Louth, telephone number +353 42 9334735 and email info@kelleherinsurances.ie. The insurance covers our practice carried out from offices in the Republic of Ireland and will extend to acts or omissions wherever in the world they occur. The policy number is B062P00200848/01 with Miller Insurance Services Limited and the level of cover is €14,000,000.

Financial services

We are not authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland, which is our financial services regulatory authority, and we do not conduct activities or supply services that would require such authorisation.

However, we are obliged to carry on certain incidental financial services for our clients governed by legislation and The Law Society of Ireland.

This part of our business as with all parts, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Law Society of Ireland. The Law Society of Ireland also deals with complaints against solicitors. For more information with regard to regulation of the legal profession in the Republic of Ireland please visit http://www.lawsociety.ie.

2. This communication

This communication explains the work we will undertake on your behalf in connection with any document(s) (‘the Document(s)’) created by you on the LawOnline website (‘the Website’), assuming that we are able to accept your instructions, including the limitations on the work we will do.

Prior to carrying out any work on your behalf in connection with the Document(s), there are certain steps which we are required to take in order to be sure that it is proper and in your best interests for us to act for you. We will notify you by separate email, after completing these steps, if we are unable to accept your instructions. Further information can be found below under 'Acceptance of instructions'.

We shall not be obliged to carry out any work on your behalf in connection with the Document(s) unless and until:

  • you have signified your consent and agreement to these terms of engagement either expressly or impliedly by you telephoning us in order to proceed with the Assisted Document Preparation Service (if applicable) or by you submitting the Document(s) to us for review; and
  • we have accepted your instructions.

3. Acceptance of instructions

Criminal Justice Act 1994 and Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010

Before we can accept your instructions and begin work on your behalf in connection with the Document(s), we may be required to obtain information and documents to enable us to verify your identity and to understand the nature and purpose of the work you want us to do for you. Unless you are an existing client of the firm and we hold all relevant and required information about you already, we will advise you separately which information and documents we need you to provide, and will be obliged if you will kindly supply us with them as soon as possible. We do hope that the impact on you will be minimal and that you will promptly provide all requested documents so that we may commence our work on your behalf.

If we are unable to complete the verification process to our satisfaction because of any failure on your part to supply any requested information or documents, we will not be able to carry out any work for you and will be required to refuse your instructions. If this should occur, any payment (if applicable) already made with respect to the Document(s) will not be refundable.

Conflict

Similarly, before we can accept your instructions and begin work on your behalf in connection with the Document(s), we are required to undertake a conflict check to ensure there are no reasons why we may not or should not accept your instructions because either the interests of another client may be in conflict with your interests, or our own interests may be in conflict with your best interests. We will let you know as quickly as we can if we are unable to act for you, and in that event (if applicable) any payment already made with respect to the Document(s) will be refunded in full.

Joint instructions

If you want us to act for both you and another person in connection with the Document(s), we will need to conduct a similar verification and checking process in relation to that other person before we can accept instructions from, and begin work on behalf of, both of you. We will also need to assess the risk of a conflict of interests arising between the two of you. If we are satisfied that it is proper and appropriate for us to act for both of you, we will inform you and send a separate engagement letter to the other person. Otherwise, we will contact you to discuss your options.

4. Our work in connection with the Document(s)

The work that we do for you in connection with the Document(s) will be governed by these Terms of Engagement and either by the Terms of Use appearing on the Website or the Terms of Use relating to the Assisted Document Preparation Service sent to you by email (as applicable).

The work that we do may, depending on the service(s) that you have purchased, comprise the Assisted Document Preparation Service and/or work on the Document(s) under a Limited Engagement (see below).

5. The Assisted Document Preparation Service

The purpose of the Assisted Document Preparation Service is to collect by telephone the relevant information required to create the Document(s).

Our telephone operatives will either collect that information, if appropriate, when you telephone, or book an appointment for that purpose. In the latter case, one of our telephone operatives will call you at the appointed time. If you do not have available all the information required to complete the Document(s) during the call, the operative will arrange for you to call back or email in with the missing information.

If you are not available at the appointed time, the operative will leave telephone messages and/or send email messages to advise you to arrange another appointment.

Our telephone operatives will not enter into correspondence with you other than as indicated herein.

The Document(s) will be sent by a telephone operative for review under a Limited Engagement when complete.

Our telephone operatives will provide general information relevant to the creation of the Document(s), but it is not part of the Assisted Document Preparation Service for our operatives to suggest any particular choice or course of action, or to give any other advice (legal or otherwise).

However, we would be very happy to provide such advice either under a Limited Engagement or under a separate engagement letter, as appropriate.

6. The Book a Consultation Service

The purpose of the Book a Consultation Service is to enable you to book to engage with one of our solicitors to discuss in person or online the Document(s) you have prepared.

Meetings can be held at either of our offices at 33 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2 and 12/15 Killegland Street, Ashbourne Town Centre, County Meath, or online.  A consultation can be booked by completing the booking form on the Website.

Further to Clause 3, the Acceptance of Instructions above, the Book a Consultation Service and to meet in person, or communicate via the telephone or the Internet, with one of our solicitors will be subject to the Criminal Justice Act 1994 and Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.

Before you meet, or communicate via the telephone or the Internet, with one of our solicitors, you will be required to obtain information and documents to enable us to verify your identity. Unless you are an existing client of the firm and we hold all relevant and required information about you already, we will advise you separately which information and documents we need you to provide, and will be obliged if you will kindly supply us with them as soon as possible.  Such information and documents will include but may not be limited to proof of identity by way of photo identification and utility bill by way of proof of address. We do hope that the impact on you will be minimal and that you will promptly provide all requested documents so that we may commence the Book a Consultation Service with you.

If we are unable to complete the verification process to our satisfaction because of any failure on your part to supply any requested information or documents, we will not be able to provide the Book a Consultation Service and will be required to refuse your instructions. If this should occur, any payment already made will not be refundable.

7. The Limited Engagement

Definitions

The ‘Limited Engagement’ means the work that we will do on your behalf in connection with reviewing and approving the Document(s).

The ‘Service’ means the provision to you EITHER of access to the System to enable you to draft the Document(s) OR the Assisted Document Preparation Service OR the Book a Consultation Service, AND the Limited Engagement.

The ‘System’ means the document assembly and drafting system made available to you on the Website which you used to create the Document(s).

We call the work that we will do for you on the Document(s) a Limited Engagement because there are limitations on that work. This is reflected (where applicable) in the pricing of the Service.

What we will do

The scope of our work is:

  • to indicate to you whether or not we are satisfied, based on the answers that you gave the System or one of our telephone operatives, that the Document(s) is effective, so far as has been disclosed, to meet your requirements and suitable for your circumstances
  • if necessary, to amend the Document(s) to ensure that it is suitable for your disclosed requirements and circumstances

This means that it is very important that you inform us about any information that you think may be material to the preparation of the Document(s) or about the purpose for which the Document(s) are to be used. The possible damage to you or to your interests if the Document(s) are not correct is one such important material piece of information that you should disclose to us.

How we will perform our work

We shall:

  • review the answers you gave the System or one of our telephone operatives
  • review the Document(s)
  • engage in reasonable correspondence and/or communications with you. Subject to our fair usage policy (see below), we will endeavour to respond to your correspondence and communications as fast as we can, but do not guarantee any particular response time
What we will not do

The Limited Engagement does not include:

  • undertaking any investigation of your particular circumstances beyond those that you disclosed in the answers you gave the System or one of our telephone operatives, or that you informed us of via subsequent communications
  • the provision of legal advice about the suitability of the Document(s) to your particular circumstances save to the extent that they are disclosed by the answers you gave the System or one of our telephone operatives and/or in any subsequent communications
  • verifying your answers or any information given by you when using the System or the Assisted Document Preparation Service. You alone are responsible for ensuring the answers, and any information you give, are correct (this includes information in relation to the identity of any parties or signatories, their age and capacity). We rely on you providing the correct information
  • proofreading data you have inputted for typographical errors
  • supervising or checking the due and proper execution of the Document(s). It is your responsibility to ensure that the Document(s) are properly executed, and, if any person or entity who is to sign it is outside the jurisdiction in which we operate, it is your responsibility to ensure that the Document(s) are properly executed in accordance with the requirements of that jurisdiction where those requirements prevail (Please note that in most cases it is prudent to have an independent third party to witness the signatures on an executed document.)
  • undertaking any future review of the Document(s) or providing any ongoing advice, legal or otherwise, as to the continued effectiveness for legal, taxation or any other purpose of the Document(s)
Exclusions
Where the Document is a Will or a trust

We do not give personal, corporate or specialised tax advice and we strongly recommend that you engage a specialist to provide this advice for you.

We will not supervise the execution of any Will or take responsibility for the Will being correctly executed. You will be provided with instructions on how to sign the Will. If the Will is not correctly executed it will be invalid. Please note that if a person is signing a Will it needs to be witnessed by two independent parties that are not beneficiaries in the Will and both witnesses must be present while the Will is bring signed by the person making the Will.

Capacity

To execute a valid Will you must have the requisite mental capacity at the time of execution. By instructing us to review a Will on your behalf we are proceeding on the basis that you have mental capacity, and are of a minimum age (18 years) to make a Will. If this is not the case, this could be grounds for challenging the Will's validity which could adversely affect your beneficiaries. If you are concerned about this we would suggest that you contact us to discuss the matter further.

Change in the law

We do not assume any responsibility nor will we accept liability for failing to provide later advice on the terms of any Will or trust prepared using the Service should future taxation changes or any other changes in the law render their terms inappropriate. The responsibility for future reviews of the terms of your Will or trust rests with you. We advise you to have your Will reviewed regularly and at least every two to three years to make sure that the Document meets your requirements.

Alteration to the Document(s)

We do not have and shall not assume any liability for:

  • Any alterations made by you or on your behalf to the Document(s) once they have been returned to you by us unless such alteration has been approved by us;
  • Any use of the Document(s) or execution of the Document(s) by a person or entity outside of the jurisdiction in which we operate;
  • Any adverse consequences resulting from the use of the Document(s) which are attributable to circumstances pertaining to you which were not disclosed in the answers that you gave the System or to one of our telephone operatives, or in subsequent communications.
Work outside the scope of the Limited Engagement

If we, at any time, consider that it will be impractical or inappropriate to continue our work on the basis of the Limited Engagement, or that any work you want us to do falls outside the scope of the Limited Engagement, we will tell you straightaway and discuss with you your options.

If you wish to instruct us to continue our work otherwise than on the basis of the Limited Engagement, or to undertake additional work that falls outside of the scope of the Limited Engagement, we will agree with you the scope and cost of that work, and provide you with another engagement letter.

We will not undertake any work otherwise than on the basis of the Limited Engagement without your express written authority.

8. The My Legal Matter Service

The purpose of our My Legal Matter Service is to enable you to inform us about your requirement for legal advice and to enable us determine if we can advise you. You can submit the details of your legal query by completing the form on the Website.

If you decide to retain us, how we will perform our work will depend on the nature of the legal matter and what future instructions you give to us, if any. We will also issue you with a separate terms of engagement specific to the type of legal advice involved.

Further to Clause 3, the Acceptance of Instructions, above the My Legal Matter Service and meetings in person, or communications via the telephone or the Internet, with one of our solicitors will be subject to the Criminal Justice Act 1994 and Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.

Before you meet, or communicate via the telephone or the Internet, with one of our solicitors, you will be required to obtain information and documents to enable us to verify your identity and to understand the nature and purpose of the work you want us to do for you. Unless you are an existing client of the firm and we hold all relevant and required information about you already, we will advise you separately which information and documents we need you to provide, and will be obliged if you will kindly supply us with them as soon as possible.  Such information and documents will include but may not be limited to proof of identity by way of photo identification and utility bill by way of proof of address. We do hope that the impact on you will be minimal and that you will promptly provide all requested documents so that we may commence the My Legal Matter Service with you.

If we are unable to complete the verification process to our satisfaction because of any failure on your part to supply any requested information or documents, we will not be able to consult with you in person and will be required to refuse your instructions. If this should occur, any payment (if applicable) already made in relation to the My Legal Matter Service will not be refundable.  

9. Cost

Where applicable, the price of the Service is an agreed fee as shown on the Website; in other words, it is fixed, we cannot increase it, and it does not cease to be payable if the Limited Engagement is lawfully terminated before work on the Document(s) is completed.

For the Book a Consultation Service, we receive a fixed fee of €160 (including VAT) which covers a consultation period of up to one hour with you. 

10. Refunds

If we have not met with you the European Communities (Protection of Consumers in Respect of Contracts Made by Means of Distance Communication) Regulations 2001 apply to our work for you. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within seven working days of our acceptance of those instructions. The right can be lost if we begin work with your agreement before this period has run out.

However, we have a 'no quibble' policy. If you wish to cancel your instructions, you may do so (even if we have begun work with your agreement) by contacting us at any time within seven working days after we accept your instructions, provided that the Limited Engagement has not already been completed before you contact us.

11. Responsibility for the work

We will advise you separately of the name of the file handler who will be assigned to doing most of the work under the Limited Engagement as well as the identity of the partner ("the Client Partner") with overall responsibility for your business relationship with us. The file handler may not be a solicitor, but the client partner will be an experienced solicitor.

From time to time it may be necessary for us to involve other staff, including trainees and paralegals, with different levels of experience or with other areas of expertise, if we consider it to be of importance in relation to our work for you. We will let you know in advance why we consider it necessary, what the area of specialisation is, and the name of that person(s).

12. Sending the Document(s)

We shall not have any responsibility for sending the completed Document(s) to you. This will be organised through the Website.

13. Fair use policy

Fair use restrictions applicable to each Limited Engagement

Our aim is to complete each Limited Engagement quickly and efficiently. We expect that in most cases the work that we undertake as part of a Limited Engagement will take no more than two hours in total and we expect that it will be achievable within one hour. We reserve the right to manage each Limited Engagement to ensure that, so far as possible, that expectation is fulfilled.

What this means in practice is as follows:

  • We will usually expect that correspondence and communications between us will take place by email or by telephone. Face-to-face interviews will not be offered.
  • We may limit the extent to which we engage in communications with you or to which we respond to correspondence from you if we reasonably consider that to do so would be incompatible with the efficient conduct of a Limited Engagement.
  • You may provide us with additional information about your requirements and circumstances beyond that revealed by the answers that you gave the System or one of our telephone operatives, but we reserve the right to terminate a Limited Engagement at any time if, by reason of the volume and/or complexity of that additional information, we reasonably consider that it is impractical or inappropriate to continue to work on the Document(s) on the basis of that Limited Engagement.
  • As part of a Limited Engagement, we may decline to deal with any requests, issues or questions made or raised by you if they are not essential to our work on the Document(s).

14. Data protection, confidentiality and disclosure

We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:

  • updating and enhancing client records
  • analysis to help us manage our practice
  • statutory returns
  • legal and regulatory compliance

Our use of your information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1988 as amended by the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003 and our duty of confidentiality.

However, although we are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential, there may be circumstances where we are required by law to make a disclosure, e.g. where we know or suspect that a transaction may involve such illegal activities as money laundering or terrorist financing.

External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on us, and by entering into the agreement for a Limited Engagement you are agreeing to disclosure of your information to these firms or organisations for that purpose. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your information.

You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.

15. Complaints

This firm is committed to providing a first-class service and consistently excellent advice of the utmost quality to its clients, but if you have any questions or concerns, or in the unlikely event that you have any cause to complain about our service (including a complaint about any bill delivered by us), please initially contact the Client Partner. We have a written complaints procedure to which we shall adhere when dealing with any complaint. A copy of our complaints procedure is available on request by emailing queries@williamjbrennan.com.

If we fail to respond to your complaint within eight weeks or if at the conclusion of our complaints process we are unable to resolve matters to your satisfaction you may have a right to make a complaint to the Law Society of Ireland. If you wish to do so, you must contact the Law Society of Ireland within six months of your last contact with us. Additionally, you must have raised your complaint with either us or the Law Society of Ireland within one year of the relevant act or omission or one year from the date when you realised there was a cause for complaint.

In relation to a complaint about any bill delivered by us, which we have not resolved to your satisfaction, you may have a right to object to the bill by making a complaint to the Law Society of Ireland. Please note, however, that if all or part of a bill remains unpaid we may be entitled to charge interest. In addition, the Law Society of Ireland may not consider a complaint about the bill if you have applied to the taxing master for assessment of the bill.

You can contact the Law Society of Ireland as below:

Postal address:

Law Society of Ireland
Blackhall Place
Dublin 7
Website: http://www.lawsociety.ie
Email: general@lawsociety.ie
 

Thank you for your interest in our services.

Yours sincerely

William Brennan and Hugh McGroddy
Joint Managing Partners