Code of Conduct
A Message from the Founder & Managing Director
The Clarence Code of Conduct is designed to help our team members make the correct decisions when engaging with clients and third parties. The firm was founded with integrity at its core and employees, directors, consultants, and agents at Clarence are expected to always act with integrity.
The Clarence Code of Conduct applies to everyone at the firm and while it does not intend to provide all the answers, it should be sufficient to guide our team members.
Abraham Abia, Founder & Managing Director
The Clarence Code of Conduct
(last update 28th March 2019)
WHY ACT ETHICALLY?
We should all act ethically because it is the right thing to do, full stop. Also, as lawyers, in all countries where we operate, we are required to act ethically.
Clarence is always mindful of the impact that not doing so could have on its reputation, freedom to operate and financial stability, so it expects all its employees, directors, consultants, and agents to behave ethically.
COMMITMENT TO INTEGRITY
Clarence’s employees, partners, consultants, and agents need to uphold the rule of law and proper administration of justice and not allow their independence to be compromised. They must be transparent, professional, and honest in all engagements, internally and externally.
No person knows it all, so everyone ought to know their limitations and when to ask for guidance from peers. This ensures that we are always committed to the best quality and standard of service. Team members need to know that they are representing Clarence and act accordingly to always protect the firm’s interests, and the clients’ money and assets. Clarence hosts an integrity awareness session every year. Everyone is encouraged to participate and suggest activities geared towards integrity in the workplace.
HOSPITALITY AND GIFTS
Everyone at Clarence must know and respect the clients’ gifts and entertainment rules. As a firm, we may entertain clients, but this must be done exercising good judgement to avoid situations where the ulterior motive may be perceived to be to influence a client’s business decision. If a gift is given to a member of our team because of their position as a Clarence employee, director, or consultant, they must report it immediately.
Our team members will never be asked, or expected, to breach the law for the furtherance of Clarence’s business, and we ask that our team members refrain from doing so.
At Clarence, we have zero acceptance of corruption and so team members must not offer or accept a bribe or a facilitation payment and must avoid situations where their personal interest conflicts with those of Clarence and its clients. The Managing Partner should be informed about any such situations, should they arise. If team members are found to have accepted, or to have used Clarence’s resources or funds to obtain an improper benefit, disciplinary action as per local laws and regulations will be taken.
Furthermore, we have zero acceptance of slavery and human trafficking, and we comply with all applicable anti-slavery and human trafficking laws, status, regulations, and codes in force (not limited to the Modern Slavery Act 2015). Consequently, we do not engage in any activity or practice that could be considered an infraction of our Anti-slavery and human trafficking policy and/or applicable regulation.
Everyone at Clarence must keep the firm, its clients, alliance partners, employees, consultants, and agents’ confidential information strictly confidential. Confidential information is any information that came to the knowledge of our team members because of their position within Clarence and that is otherwise not available in the public domain. At Clarence team members are required to prevent the disclosure of confidential information and protect access to Clarence property.
IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS LAWS
Everyone at Clarence must comply with all immigration, employment, and customs laws. No assumptions should be made about what rules apply; team members must research the law or seek advice, if necessary. It is necessary to be mindful about the need to have freedom of mobility and team members must ensure compliance at all times.
CLIENT DUE DILIGENCE
Clarence should not provide services to its clients without first having conducted non-exhaustive due diligence and ascertained a client’s financial standing and ability to pay our invoices. If the latter cannot be done, then measures should be put in place to address any risks, such as advance payments, parent company or bank guarantees. Any such measures should be preventive and not curative.
Our main objective is to ensure our clients have the freedom to operate, consider us as their most trusted advisor and see us as their business partners. Our highest priority should be our clients’ success, and for that we need to prioritise client focus on our business processes, projects, and dealings. Remember that we are service providers, so the client is always KING!
We must always assess and confirm that we have the required resources, skills, and procedures before agreeing to provide services to a client. Clarence attorneys must ensure that the service provided to clients is competent, delivered in a timely manner and observes the clients’ needs and circumstances.
Clients must be treated fairly and services to them must be provided in a manner which protects their interests in their matter, subject to the proper administration of justice. Our clients should be allowed to file complaints and when they do, those must be channelled within Clarence to the partners and addressed accordingly. Clients need to know exactly what is needed of them for Clarence to represent them properly and their responsibilities must be clearly defined and explained.
Clients must be informed periodically about the progression of their matter and the associated costs at each stage. Also, fee arrangements with third parties such as alliance partners should be explained to them. Attorneys must clearly explain the fees payable to the client and discuss whether the potential outcomes of the client’s matter are likely to justify the expense or risk involved, including any risk of having to pay someone else’s legal fees.
We must ensure that disbursements included in our invoices reflect the actual amount spent or to be spent on behalf of the client.
HEALTH, SAFETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT (“HSE”)
We strongly believe that the well-being and safety of our people is essential to our financial success. We are committed to compliance with health and safety rules and encourage our people to be mindful of their health and avoid situations that may lead to accidents. We ban the use of illegal drugs in the workplace. Our people are encouraged to care about the environment and make that evident in their day-to-day lives.
EMPLOYEES AND COMMUNITIES
Our team comes from all walks of life, gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, and political affiliations. We love and cherish diversity and everyone at Clarence is expected to do the same. We embrace and encourage equal opportunities and respect diversity.
Harassment of any form or other offensive behaviour will not be tolerated and disciplinary action will be taken in compliance with local laws. Our approach to recruitment and employment encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity and everyone at Clarence must comply with this policy.
PRO-BONO AND LOCAL CONTENT
Everyone at Clarence values and enjoys pro-bono. Giving back to the communities in which we work, to others around the world and being involved in worthwhile projects are paramount to succeed at the firm.
We believe in the promotion of health and education and most of our projects are geared towards these two truly impactful areas. We also work closely with our clients to help them identity, manage and assess the impact of social projects. Team members are expected to show an interest in this and collaborate.
Our records are transparent and exact, and we do not hide, alter, or fabricate the true nature of transactions. Business records must be retained in accordance with local laws. At Clarence we comply with the highest accounting and financial reporting standards.
All Clarence employees, directors, consultants, agents, and service providers are encouraged to report any deviation from Clarence’s Code of Conduct or any other internal policies, standards, and procedures. Clarence duly investigates all reports and does not retaliate against employees who file reports in good faith.
Legal Notice: Copyright © 2020 Clarence Abogados & Asociados and the Clarence Abogados & Asociados logo are trademarks of Clarence International Limited. All rights reserved. This code of conduct contains the confidential and proprietary trade secrets of Clarence International Limited and may not be copied or stored in an information retrieval system, transferred, used, distributed, translated or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of the copyright owner.