One of the first generation banks in Nigeria, Union bank Nigerian PLC has joined the growing list of legal services providers.
The bank in a colourful image made available on social media announced its intervention into the Nigerian Legal System. The bank seeks to offer legal services such company incorporations, Contracts, Mediation and Arbitration, Debt recovery, perfection of title documents and regulatory compliance.
The bank with this move aims to provide such legal services via its advertisement mode. This move could possibly ensure that Nigerian lawyers have a Juggernaut in the legal sphere providing legal services.
The rules of professional conduct 2007 expressly prohibits law firm style corporation or law firms using agents to get business with payments for such organizations.
The umbrella body of Nigerian lawyers the Nigerian Bar Association is yet to make a statement or act on this move.
Update: Union Bank has reached out to Lawyard NG stating that the bank has partnered with its legal partner, by allowing SMEs have a one-stop shop for all legal needs.
Retainership packages, advocacy, mediation, debt recovery and legal advisory services are all provided upon request.
The Twitter handle of the bank referred to the law firm that it would award the briefs to as Amber Solicitors.
Nigerian Law School Lecturer Slyvester Udemueze had spoken on the issue, according to the experienced lawyer. This issue raises professional issues such as.
“If Union Bank of Nigeria Plc claims it is now rendering *legal services* to the public in partnership with Amber Solicitors, have the “partners” considered these:
(1). Obviously, Union Bank Plc is not a lawyer. So, is Amber Solicitors not guilty of aiding a non-lawyer in an unauthorized practice of the law., against Rule 3 (1): *a lawyer shall not aid a non-lawyer in the unauthorized practice of the law and must not permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make possible, the unauthorized practice of law by any person not qualified to practice or disqualified from practice*
(2). If the new “partners” begin to earn money, and as a result begin to share profit, would Amber Solicitors not be in breach of Rule 3(c) RPC: *a lawyer shall not share his legal fees with a non-lawyer*
(3). Has Amber Solicitors considered Rule 4 RPC: *a lawyer shall not permit his professional services to be controlled or exploited by any …. corporate body, which intervenes between him and the client….*
(4). Most importantly, what Amber Solicitors has allegedly done, does it not go against Rule 5(1) RPC: *lawyer shall not form a partnership with a non-lawyer or…, if any of the activities of the partnership consists of the practice of law.*
Union Bank of Nigeria and Amber Solicitors, did you not look at all the aforesaid?”