By Pooja Thakur and Hema Shekhawat
The devastating nature of the COVID-19 outbreak has impaired economies, business and companies all around the world. The pandemic outbreak in the near future might thus become the cause of action for several disputes and litigations in India. Every sector of the economy has been hit hard, giving rise to the possibility of disputes arising across sectors, such as cross-border trade, real estate, EPC (engineering, procurement & construction contracts), banking, insurance, hospitality, aviation, pharma, information technology, plain joint-venture agreements as well as Merger & Acquisition deals. There is also a possibility that companies may be confronted with allegations that they have used the COVID-19 situation to wriggle out of payment or performance. In such typical situations, businesses would have to demonstrate how they were severely hit by the massive disruptions caused by the pandemic outbreak and, not by financial difficulty and general slowdown.
The whole world is facing an unprecedented economic crisis and, in these times, every organization/individual is worried about the way forward. Thus, the need of the hour is to put the best foot forward by ensuring that terminologies and terms being used in agreements, contracts, licenses etc. are watertight. This will not only effectively deal with all anticipated claims, but also offer protection from unanticipated claims. In the post pandemic era, time is of essence and one should not move forward without proper advise and consultancy, which not only effectively provides future solutions, but also helps in tackling the problems at hand and does so without being a burden on one’s pocket.
A legal retainer agreement is an agreement with a law firm or an individual practitioner to keep a law firm or solicitor on hand for all your legal needs. The sum paid towards a legal retainer can either be a monthly or quarterly recurring payment which provides for an all-inclusive service as enumerated in the terms of the retainer-ship agreement, which can be worded based on the legal requirement of an organization.
Benefits of entering into Legal Retainer-ship Agreement
- Accessibility – One of the benefits of legal retainer-ship is that the legal services will be readily accessible as and when a situation for reliable legal advice or representation arises. For business owners, retainer-ship is especially important in these tough times, as every organization may have to deal with a range of legal requirements under varying laws, from employment laws to data protection legislation, legal compliances of government norms, new legislations, regulations, guidelines, fiscal/ tax matters etc.
- Better service – when an organization hires an outside solicitor, the chances are that the result may not be as per the expectations of the organization. However, a specialized team working closely on retainer-ship has more in-depth understanding of the business and the interconnected challenges, risk exposures connected with the business etc., thereby enabling the business to thrive with considerable comfort knowing that the services would be personalized and well suited to all its requirements.
- Economical and affordable – with a specialized team, one can comfortably get the legal guidance needed, without worrying about the cost of each phone call/email or consultation, especially at this moment when there is so much turbulence in the economy. Having retainers on call, can also help prevent costly and time-consuming legal disputes, and avoid civil or criminal liabilities in the long run.
- Reliability – with a specialized team on board, clients and business will always be updated with the new legal requirements and any legal advice would be backed up by reliable and trustworthy professional suggestions. tools to give you peace of mind, unavailable to an in-house legal team.
These trying times require that all the established businesses as well as all the upcoming businesses step up and plan for future. It is imperative that every step be taken with utmost caution. The basic functioning of a business should not be bogged down due to the unavailability of legal advice to properly tackle disputes and litigation arising on account of a particular unexpected situation. Thus, keeping a specialized team on board which provides robust, cost conscious and reliable legal advice and due consultation on one’s disposal in these times is not merely a requirement, but a necessity.
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