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Legal position


 I have been working on and off with a consultancy for a number of years and  have worked with a client through them for several years now and increasingly they have become frustrated with the value add they get from the consultancy, as I tend to manage the account. I have been asked to work with the client directly, does anyone know where I stand legally? The consultancy have not offered me any work for a while and the client says she will not be working with them again in the near future? I cant afford to turn down business, has anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice gratefully received, Thank you

2 Responses

  1. been there!

    Dear HM Consultants

    I was in EXACTLY this position several years ago……

    I discussed the potential conflict with the client and expressed my desire not to "do the dirty"….they contacted the consultancy and informed them that they wanted to terminate the relationship between client and consultancy and that they were going to be using me in the future.

    I contacted the consultancy and told them that I had no desire to do the dirty on them but that I had been asked by the client to work with them in the future.

    The consultancy, recognising that everyone was being above board, ethical and reasonable about it understood that there was nothing to be gained by creating a stink and that no one was actually doing the dirty.

    That particular client was my single largest account for the next 5 years and the director of the consultancy actually recommended me to other clients later on……..

    This doesn’t answer the question about legal standing as that depends entirely on what written contractual agreement you have with the consultancy, but it is true to say that a legal standing is only of any potency if someone decides to enforce it, if they see that the win/win situation is to reach an amicable agreement then that is what they will often do.

    I hope this helps


  2. Legal issues

    This is a tricky one. I cannot advise you on the specific legal situation as this will depend on the contract you have with the brokering consultancy firm, and the contract they have with the client. That said, I’d be surprised in there is a specific restraint of trade clause that would cover this situation.

    Another way to approach this would be to seek an honourable solution and check out the legal position along the way. So – and this is just for example – you could go to the consultancy and explain the position. Reassure them that you have not been trying to cultivate this client for yourself and suggest to them that it would be better for them if you kept up this contact as that might lead to a door opening for them again at some point in the future. If you don’t the client may go elsewhere completely, possibly to a competitor. Also explain to the client that you would love to keep the relationship with them but you feel honour bound to only do this once you have spoken with the consultancy company.

    If the consultancy company objects then you have a clear choice: stay with them and lose the client, or go with the client and lose the consultancy firm. This is the point you need to find out the legal position. If the consultancy company feels there is a legal issue, get them to point out exactly the basis for that view and take it from there.

    I hope it all works out for you. Sometimes you cannot please everyone, but you should at least be able to put your hand on your heart and say that you did your best to manage the process in a proper and professional manner.

    Best of luck


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