(This is an informational statement adopted by the NY State Bar Association)
Previously, I posted the “Client’s Statement of Rights.” There is also a “Statement of Client’s Responsibilities.” This is an informational statement that has been adopted by the NY State Bar Association. It’s obvious that when you hire a lawyer, the lawyer has responsibilities to the client. However, most people don’t realize that when they hire a lawyer, they also have responsibilities to the lawyer.
The following is the “Statement of Client’s Responsibilities” that have been created by the NY State Bar Association:
Reciprocal trust, courtesy and respect are the hallmarks of the attorney-client relationship. Within that relationship, the client looks to the attorney for expertise, education, sound judgment, protection, advocacy and representation. These expectations can be achieved only if the client fulfills the following responsibilities:
- The client is expected to treat the lawyer and the lawyer’s staff with courtesy and consideration.
- The client’s relationship with the lawyer must be one of complete candor and the lawyer must be apprised of all facts or circumstances of the matter being handled by the lawyer even if the client believes that those facts may be detrimental to the client’s cause or unflattering to the client.
- The client must honor the fee arrangement as agreed to with the lawyer, in accordance with law.
- All bills for services rendered which are tendered to the client pursuant to the agreed upon fee arrangement should be paid promptly.
- The client may withdraw from the attorney-client relationship, subject to financial commitments under the agreed to fee arrangement, and, in certain circumstances, subject to court approval.
- Although the client should expect that his or her correspondence, telephone calls and other communications will be answered within a reasonable time frame, the client should recognize that the lawyer has other clients equally demanding of the lawyer’s time and attention.
- The client should maintain contact with the lawyer, promptly notify the lawyer of any change in telephone number or address and respond promptly to a request by the lawyer for information and cooperation.
- The client must realize that the lawyer need respect only legitimate objectives of the client and that the lawyer will not advocate or propose positions which are unprofessional or contrary to law or the Lawyer’s Code of Professional Responsibility.
- The lawyer may be unable to accept a case if the lawyer has previous professional commitments which will result in inadequate time being available for the proper representation of a new client.
- A lawyer is under no obligation to accept a client if the lawyer determines that the cause of the client is without merit, a conflict of interest would exist or that a suitable working relationship with the client is not likely.