Who are Lowndes Jordan?
Lowndes Jordan is a specialist corporate, commercial, business and IT law firm based in Auckland City, New Zealand. The firm was formed in 1986 as the first niche corporate law firm in New Zealand, recognising that business people want high quality technical advice but on a more personalised, cost effective level.
Since then we have grown but we hold true to that specialist, niche way of doing things. Our clients tell us they like that. You can find more details here about our advisory expertise and our disputes expertise.
How do we go about engaging Lowndes Jordan to assist us?
We like to meet face to face if possible - although we have local and international clients who prefer to engage remotely. However we do it, it is important that we establish a good trust based relationship from the outset.
To give you the best advice possible, it is important for us to get an initial understanding of what might be involved and how we can assist. We will usually be able to get that initial understanding in half an hour or so, often without charge if we have not worked together before, so that we can both assess if we will be the right fit.
Once we have a high level understanding of what is involved, we will conduct an internal check to make sure that we do not have a conflict of interest in acting for you (e.g. because we have acted or now act for another party to your transaction).
Once we both agree to move forward, we will try to give you an indication of likely costs (although sometimes things may be moving so quickly or be so uncertain that this will not be possible). Our relationship going forward will be governed by our terms of engagement and client care rules.
When is the best time to get Lowndes Jordan involved?
It is best to get us involved at the earliest possible time. In our experience, costs can increase dramatically where people try to go it alone for as long as they can and then come and see us when it is too late. It seems counterintuitive, but it can often cost you more if you delay getting us involved, particularly if it becomes very urgent and we have to charge more because we have to reprioritise other work.
Also, we will almost certainly have been involved in similar projects before, so we can give a good steer, not just on legal matters, but on commercial terms as well.
What information do I need to give you?
We will need to obtain personal information from you to satisfy our AML obligations, before we start acting for you. We use FirstAML, an expert AML-CFT firm, to gather the AML-CFT information we need, directly from you. They will contact you and advise you of the information you need to provide. Please contact us if you have any questions about this.
This due diligence process can take some time. We cannot act if we do not have the information, or continue to act if it needs to be updated because of a change in the transaction. This can even delay settlement, and we will not be liable for that delay if you have not provided the information in time. Generally, any such information should be provided to us at the outset, and any information required as a result of a change at least 10 working days out from a settlement (e.g. where a different purchaser has been nominated in a property purchase).
Do not leave this until the last minute.
What other information does Lowndes Jordan need from us?
We need the background information relating to the advice you are seeking. Generally more is better. It is surprising how often we start off down a track only to find a piece of information comes to light later, leading to problems as we have to pivot in another direction. Don’t end up saying “I didn’t know you needed that”. Load us up from the start; we’re pretty good at reading fast.
Who will be involved on the project?
We will assess what is involved on the particular project and let you know who our best people are to assist. If you have an existing relationship with someone here or you have come to us because you made personal contact with one of our team, they will generally have some involvement.
For some projects we may also agree with you to use outside experts. We are used to working with top barristers, forensic accountants, tax advisers and experts in all fields – whatever it takes to make a project move quickly and with the right expertise. Unless we agree otherwise, you will be directly responsible for payment of external fees.
All clients have partners or senior staff who are responsible for their relationship with Lowndes Jordan and for sorting out any issues that may arise.
At the start of any project, we will tell you who exactly you will be working with. If that needs to change, we will let you know in advance.
How will Lowndes Jordan charge us and how much does it cost?
Generally, we bill monthly based on the time we have spent and the different charge out rates of the people here who are involved in the project and for different types of work. If a project is particularly urgent we may often need to charge more to cater for the fact that we have to shift other clients’ work, but we will always agree this with you first.
When we send you our invoice, we will explain all the work we have done for you since our last invoice.
Significant expenses, such as Court filing fees and external expert or advisor fees, are generally payable in advance.
Unless otherwise agreed, we require payment within 14 days, as set out in our terms of engagement.
Is Lowndes Jordan open to other payment arrangements?
Yes, depending on the nature of the project, we are happy to talk about fixed fees, retainers, success fees, payment terms and other arrangements.
Can you give us an estimate or a quote?
Yes, if it is feasible to do so. Any estimate or quote will be clearly labelled as such.
Charge out Rates?
All our staff record the time they spend at different charge out rates. These are reviewed at the beginning of each year to keep pace with inflation and recognise increases in expertise. At the beginning of any particular project we will tell you who will be involved and what their charge out rates are. Generally, this forms the basis of how much we will charge, unless we have agreed a different arrangement with you. We may alter our time based fee to reflect such things as urgency, importance, complexity and value of the transaction, subject to any estimate or quote we have given you.
How will Lowndes Jordan communicate with us?
Generally we send and receive most information by email or an agreed document management system. The contact details for the people who will be working with you and their secretaries are available here.
Why do you need personal ID information and bank account details from me?
Lawyers are subject to the Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act, usually referred to as AML. This means that where you are having us act on a business or property transaction, trust or business structuring, or we handle your funds through our trust account (among other things), we are required to conduct customer due diligence (CDD) on you. The level of CDD required depends on the type of transaction and various other factors. Some of this information is also required for conveyancing when we effect transfers, mortgages and other property dealings through the Government's Landonline land title system.
The AML regime also requires us to report any suspicious activity to the NZ Police, and, if we do, we can't tell you about it.
For security reasons we will check some details directly with you. You will be aware of scams that try to trick you or us into paying funds to a scammer's bank account. Our trust account details are published on our website and the same information will be communicated to you if you need to transfer funds to us. Please check carefully that you are paying to our correct account. WE WILL NOT CHANGE OUR TRUST ACCOUNT DURING A TRANSACTION. If you receive an email that appears to be from us suggesting that we have changed our trust account or indicating payment to a different account number, IT WILL BE A SCAM. Please immediately let us know if this happens but otherwise ignore it. You may also like to get your systems checked to make sure that they you have not been infiltrated (as will we if the situation arises).
Law seems full of jargon; can you simplify it a bit?
We try our best but if you do not understand something because we‘ve slipped back into bad old habits, make sure you ask – we will not be offended. We promise not to use any Latin!
What if I have a concern about Lowndes Jordan’s service or fees?
In the first instance, we encourage you to take any concerns up with the person who is responsible for your relationship with us (you will always know who that is). If you do not feel comfortable doing that, you can discuss the matter with one of our other partners. You are also always entitled to raise any concerns with the Law Society.
- How to make Payments
Clients may pay investment funds for Lowndes Jordan by way of cash, cheque or direct credit. All payments should be made to "Lowndes Jordan Trust Account" and cheques should be crossed "Not Negotiable" or "Account Payee Only".
Receipts will be issued for cash payments and otherwise upon request.
Please note that payments received by personal cheque require bank clearance before Lowndes Jordan commences an investment. The standard clearance period is three business days.
- All Funds Will be Held in Trust
All Clients funds received by Lowndes Jordan are held on trust and are paid out in accordance with instructions received from the client.
- Investment Authority
A signed investment authority is required to be completed and signed by the client. The investment will be made in the name of Lowndes Jordan in trust for the client. If an investment authority is not received and monies must be placed on deposit, they will attract the full 39% withholding tax rate.
Lowndes Jordan maintains detailed records of all trust account investment transactions made on behalf of clients. Lowndes Jordan will provide copies of client records if requested by the client.
Lowndes Jordan will provide a detailed investment statement and Resident Withholding Tax certificate annually following the conclusion of the March 31 tax year.
- Use of the Client Investment Funds by Lowndes Jordan
Lowndes Jordan does not use client investment funds for its own benefit, except that it may:
6.1. charge a fee of up to 5% of the gross interest earned on the funds invested and administered by Lowndes Jordan on behalf of clients; and
6.2. make any other lawful set-off against, or claim any lawful lien on, all or part of the investment money (including its proceeds) for any of the client debts due to Lowndes Jordan
- When the Investment Matures
At the end of the term of the investment the proceeds will be banked into Lowndes Jordan trust account. Lowndes Jordan will then disburse the investment funds to the client or reinvest the funds in accordance with instructions received from the client.
Download Investment Terms as a PDF
Client Care and AML/CFT Rules
Lowndes Jordan provides legal services in accordance with the New Zealand Law Society's client care and service rules, a copy of which accompanies these terms of engagement, and is also required to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act. Under the AML/CFT regime we may need to collect personal and transaction information about you and others before we can act, or, where the information or transaction has changed, before we can continue acting. Verification or certification of this information can take some time. Where information requested is not provided in a timely fashion, we will not be liable for any consequent delay or interruption to the transaction, including where this delays settlement.
We generally charge at our standard hourly rates (available on request) for the time spent on a project. We may alter our standard hourly rates depending on urgency, complexity, value or other factors. All hourly rates are reviewed periodically and, accordingly, these may increase during a project.
If requested, written estimates of fees will be provided before work commences. Estimates are provided as a guideline only and final fees charged will be based on our standard hourly rates unless otherwise agreed in writing. All estimates are exclusive of goods and services tax and disbursements unless otherwise stated.
In certain circumstances quotations will be provided. Any quotation provided will be recorded in writing and clearly labelled as a quotation, not an estimate. All quotations are exclusive of goods and services tax and disbursements unless otherwise stated.
Our usual practice is to bill our clients on a monthly basis. All invoices will be the responsibility of our Client irrespective of whether there is an agreement in place for some other party to be responsible for our Client's costs such as occurs with landlords, lenders, and by agreement between our clients and third parties. Payment of our accounts is required 14 days following the date of the invoice. Expenses and disbursements paid or payable on your behalf will be itemised separately. We may require payment of these in advance.
Without prejudice to all of our recovery rights, overdue accounts will incur penalty interest at the rate of 2% per month or part month. We reserve the right to stop work on our Client's affairs where accounts are overdue. All collection costs (including our legal fees at confirmed hourly rates) will be to our Client's account. If more than one Client, each Client agrees to extend the normal solicitor's lien to cover amounts owing from any Client. In addition, in the event of default, we may deduct any amount outstanding plus penalty interest accrued, from any amount held by us on our Client's account (whether as a retainer or on deposit) and/or refer the matter to a debt collection agency, which will affect credit ratings.
For new clients, usually a retainer will be required before we commence work (and we may also require a guarantee from a corporate client's shareholders). We will hold the retainer in our trust account on interest bearing deposit (interest less commission to our Client's account) and apply it against monthly invoices when they are due. If the balance of the retainer we hold is less than the fees we anticipate, we may require it to be reinstated to cover those anticipated fees. Any surplus at the conclusion of the project will be returned to the Client.
Other than as set out above or otherwise agreed in writing, all monies held by us will be held in accordance with our Investment Terms.
In addition to our ethical obligations of confidentiality, all information obtained is held by this firm subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act 2020 to enable us to provide legal and ancillary services to our Client. In doing so, we may from time to time provide newsletters and other material that we consider to be of interest to clients (in hardcopy or electronically). Our Client authorises us to conduct credit checks with, and obtain credit and other personal information from, credit agencies and to provide personal information to those agencies, at any time.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
We hold professional indemnity insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum standards specified by the New Zealand Law Society.
Lawyer's Fidelity Fund
The maximum amount payable by the fidelity fund maintained by the New Zealand Law Society to cover theft of Client funds by lawyers is NZ$100,000. Except in limited circumstances, the fidelity fund does not cover any loss suffered on investments which we are instructed to make on a Client's behalf.
Limitation of liability
To the fullest extent permitted by law our total liability to you in connection with any matter (or series of related matters) on which you engage us will not exceed an amount equal to five times the value of fees paid to us (excluding our office service charge, disbursements and GST), up to a maximum of NZ$1,000,000 (including interest and costs).
This limitation applies to liability of any kind, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), equity or otherwise. We may override this limitation but only where this is specifically agreed with you in an engagement letter signed by us.
If we provide services to any persons or entities related to or associated with you or to anyone else at your request (whether or not we also advise you) on a matter (or series of related matters) on which you engage us, then our aggregate liability to you and all those persons and entities in respect of that matter (or series of related matters) will be subject to this limitation and you will ensure that those persons and entities agree to this.
We are only qualified to advise on New Zealand law. If we assist you in respect of matters governed by foreign law, we do so on the basis that we do not accept any responsibility (and will not have any liability, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), equity or otherwise) in relation to your legal position under that foreign law.
Where you engage our services for business purposes you agree that the terms of the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 shall not apply.
Our firm may be subject to regular audit by an auditor approved by the New Zealand Law Society. Unless otherwise agreed, our Client consents to the disclosure of information during such audits.
We maintain a pro-active complaints policy (a copy of which is on our website at www.lojo.co.nz) and encourage Clients to raise any issues that they may have at the earliest opportunity. We value our relationships with our Clients very highly and will strive to accommodate valid Client concerns wherever possible.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, these terms, having been handed, sent or referred to our Client, will apply to all instructions received from our Client including matters currently in train and future instructions. We may revise these terms from time to time and the revised terms will apply to any instructions we receive after they have been handed, sent or referred to our Client.
We are often asked, in a marketing context, to identify our clients.Unless you let us know to the contrary, your acceptance of these terms authorises us to identify you as a client of this firm in brochures, on our website, and in other written materials prepared for the purpose of marketing this firm’s services.
Set out below is the information which we are required to provide to you under the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers of the New Zealand Law Society ("Law Society")
Whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:
- Act competently, in a timely way, and in accordance with instructions received and arrangements made.
- Protect and promote your interests and act for you free from compromising influences or loyalties.
- Discuss with you your objectives and how they should best be achieved.
- Provide you with information about the work to be done, who will do it and the way the services will be provided.
- Charge you a fee that is fair and reasonable and let you know how and when you will be billed.
- Give you clear information and advice.
- Protect your privacy and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
- Treat you fairly, respectfully and without discrimination.
- Keep you informed about the work being done and advise you when it is completed.
- Let you know how to make a complaint and deal with any complaint promptly and fairly.
The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. Those obligations are subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.
Download Client Care Rules as a PDF
We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that a complaint is dealt with promptly and fairly.
If you have a complaint about our services or charges, you may refer your complaint to the person in our firm who has overall responsibility for your work, or if applicable, their responsible Partner.
If you do not wish to refer your complaint to that person, or you are not satisfied with that person's response to your complaint, you may refer your complaint to David White, who is our General Manager.
David may be contacted as follows:
by letter at PO Box 5966, Auckland, New Zealand;
by email at email@example.com
by telephoning him on (09) 309 2500.
The Law Society operates the Lawyers Complaints Service and you are able to make a complaint to that service. To do so, phone 0800 261 801 and you will be connected to the nearest Complaints Service Office, which can provide information and advice about making a complaint.
Download Complaints Policy as a PDF
Bank details for direct payments to Lowndes Jordan
Account Name: Lowndes Jordan Trust Account
Bank Account Number: 03-0104-0934457-02
Address: 79 Queen Street, Auckland, New Zealand
Unfortunately we do not accept payments by credit card