General Terms for our Legal Services
Von Bila, de la Pava, Bertoletti SAS, is a Colombian law firm founded in 1999 first as partnership and then transformed into a limited liability company, with principal place of services and main office in Bogotá, Colombia. The firm and its lawyers and administration will always act on the highest level of ethics, quality and best services and the relations with its clients and third parties will be based on these General Terms that do apply if not contradicted by the client or third party and in no case these General Terms shall generate any situation of abuse case in which, such special un lawful provision shall be null and void and only the rest of these General Terms shall apply.
- SERVICES: The services we will provide to you in relation to a particular matter will be agreed at the beginning of the matter and may be varied by mutual agreement from time to time.
The services we provide are for the benefit of the party to whom these terms are provided, and as specified in the accompanying correspondence. Unless otherwise agreed in writing by us, no other party shall have any rights to enforce any term of this retainer.
- TEAM: The team of lawyers and/or administrative persons and paralegals in charge of the matters in our firm, will be informed in each annex to our invoices for each case and as a matter of effectiveness the suitable lawyer(s) or person(s) will be in charge.
- BASIS OF OUR CHARGES: Unless we agree a fixed fee for a particular matter, it is our policy to charge for our professional services on a time-spent basis. The hourly rate of our lawyers varies from US$100 and US$280, depending upon their seniority (experience) and position. The hourly rates of the lawyers acting for you will be advised upon request. Hourly rates are reviewed and may be adjusted periodically. At your request, we will be happy to provide you with a general estimate of how many hours it may take us to complete a particular matter.
Out of pocket expenses incurred by us on your behalf, including courier charges, bulk photocopying and international telephone calls, will be charged to you at cost. The costs of minor currier, minor photocopying and other items of minor expenditure can be charged in an estimated general fixed minor monthly expenses value of up to USD 25 and it will not be charged for in addition unless we consider them to be excessive. Any translation work undertaken by us will be charged at the normal rate in Colombia per page.
- PAYMENT OF OUR INVOICES: Unless expressly otherwise agreed: We will invoice you monthly for the forgoing month. If you have any queries on any invoice, please raise them with our comptroller (firstname.lastname@example.org) or with the partner or senior lawyer responsible for the matter within 2 weeks after receipt of the invoice. All invoices will be rendered in Colombian Pesos, USD or Euros. Our bank details are informed in the monthly invoices.
Our invoices are due immediately after the date of the invoice. If any part of the invoice is under discussion or shall be changed or modified, that rest of the invoice shall be paid in due time.
If any amount owed to us remains outstanding more than 30 days after issue of the relevant invoice we may (subject in each case to applicable laws and regulations):
- Charge your account as client any expenses incurred to collect the outstanding amounts;
- charge your account as client with interests at the highest permitted value for interests in Colombia;
- stop acting on your behalf; and
- retain documents and papers belonging to you.
At the time of accepting your instructions, we may ask you to make a downpayment. In cases where we are entrusted to hold money for you, on account or otherwise, and unless expressly otherwise agreed: We may use this money toward payment or part of the payment of our invoices outstanding from you. We will always inform you when this is being done; and
- WITHOLDING OR REDUCTION FOR TAXES AND BANK CHARGES:
Our fees are to be paid free of any withholding or deduction in respect of any taxes, duties or bank charges. If you are required by law to withhold or deduct tax, or if bank charges are deducted from your payment, then the amount of each invoice is to be treated as increased to the extent necessary to ensure that after any withholding or deduction we receive and retain a net sum equal to the amount of the invoice.
- CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: Subject to any legal or professional restrictions that apply to us, the following is agreed:
We will not act for any other client on any matter on which we actively are acting for you unless we have your express agreement that we may do so. You agree, however, that we will otherwise be free to act for any other client either generally or on any specific matter in which you may have an interest, even if there is, or may be, a conflict between your interest and those of the other client, unless we conclude that it would be inappropriate for us to do so in the circumstances.
Your interests and the interests of another client of ours may conflict in any number of circumstances. The effect of 6.1 is that we may act for another client on any issue or matter in which you might have an interest including without limitation (a) commercial transactions, business formations, mergers, joint ventures, acquisitions, financings, contracts for services, insolvency, the protection of rights, representation to governmental or regulatory authorities; and (b) the resolution of any disputes, whether in any judicial forum or otherwise. Except where we have expressly agreed with you otherwise, we may also act generally for another client who, for you, is a market competitor.
We owe a duty of confidentiality to all our clients and accordingly, subject to any overriding legal obligation on you or us:
- we will keep all documents and information which we receive as a result of acting for you confidential, and in particular we will not disclose them to any other client of the firm without your express agreement.
- you agree that we will not be under any obligation to disclose to you or use on your behalf any documents or information in respect of which we owe a duty of confidentiality to another client (or any other person).
You agree that the fact that we hold documents and/or information in respect of which we owe a duty of confidentiality to you and which are or may be relevant to a matter on which we are instructed by another client will not prevent us from acting for that other client on the matter. However, in such a case we will put in place such arrangements as we consider appropriate in the circumstances to ensure that the confidentiality of your documents and/or information is maintained.
You agree that we may publish or otherwise disclose to our other clients or third parties that fact that you are a client of our firm.
- INSTRUCTING OTHER EXPERTS AND LAWYERS IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS: It may be necessary during the course of a matter to instruct one or more experts outside the firm, such as accountants, consultants or specialist counsel. We will discuss this with you at the appropriate time, including who might be suitable and the costs likely to be involved. If we need foreign legal advice on a particular matter, we will use our correspondent lawyers where available, unless you instruct us otherwise.
- DOCUMENTS: Copyright: Original materials which we generate for our clients are protected by copyright, which belongs to us. The fee you pay for our work entitles you to make use of those documents for the purposes for which they were prepared. You do not, however, obtain ownership of the copyright in the documents unless we specifically agree to this in writing.
Retention of files: We will retain any file relating to a matter on which we have acted for you for five years after the matter is completed, unless we agree otherwise. We will then dispose of the file without further reference to you.
- APPLICATION OF THESE TERMS AND AMENDMENTS: We provide our services to you on the basis of this document which is part of our written or verbal legal services contract and which is public through our web site and on the basis of our accompanying correspondence. If you disagree with any of the terms, you should inform us within 30 days after beginning of our service agreement. These terms supersede any earlier agreement between us.
From time to time it may be necessary for us to amend the terms on which we act. Where this is the case, we will notify you directly or through our web site of the proposed changes and, unless we hear from you in writing to the contrary within 30 days, such amendments will be deemed to come into effect from the end of that period.
- RESOLVING ISSUES AND DISPUTES: Von Bila, de la Pava & Bertoletti SAS is open to receive any questions or suggestions you may have. It is always necessary to first have at least 90 days of amicable solution efforts. In our firm please contact any of our partners.
These terms shall be governed by and construed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Colombia. Any claim against us founded on any allegation of negligence or breach of duty or otherwise in relation to any specific transaction or matter shall be referred to and be determined by the Courts of the
Republic of Colombia.
After 3 months of having the verbal or written legal service agreement with our law firm, these General Terms and Conditions published in our office and in our web site automatically apply to our service relationship.
Valid since January 2010