The consequences of substituting lawyers responsible for client matters

My experience of working in and representing big firms is that they consider they have an entitlement to swap lawyers in and out of files, even if that involves the loss of accumulated knowledge and a need to spend time on (and therefore charge fees for) the newbie coming up to speed.  One of the things solicitors whose retainers are governed by the Legal Practice Act, 1996 are required to disclose before, or as soon as reasonably practicable after, being retained, is the name of the person who will be principally responsible for the matter (s. 86(3)(a)).  Under the Legal Profession Act, 2004 there is no such requirement, but I often see disclosures and costs agreements which specify who is going to work on a matter, and at what rate.  In Fitzroy Robinson Ltd v Mentmore Towers Ltd [2009] EWHC 1552 (TCC), the Queen’s Bench Division of the English High Court considered an alleged breach of a promise in a professional services contract that a certain person would work on an engagement. I will link to CMS Cameron McKenna’s excellent Law Now service’s helpful case note rather than reinventing the wheel.

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