What to Do if Your Attorney Doesn't Comply with Professional Obligations
The Attorney’s Responsibility to a Client
An attorney has the responsibility to provide competent representation to each client. That means that the attorney must have the legal knowledge and skill to represent the client in a particular matter and be thorough in his or her legal preparation. The attorney’s fees must be reasonable as determined by the factors set forth in the Rules of Professional Responsibility.
What is Reasonable?
Most of the Rules of Professional Conduct use a reasonableness standard in order to determine if an attorney’s conduct is appropriate. Since an attorney is a professional, the question would be one of reasonableness for other professional attorneys. So, would another attorney acting under the same circumstances and complying with all applicable rules of professional conduct and applying the requisite knowledge and skill to the matter have done the same thing?
How to Proceed with a Disciplinary Complaint
A client, who believes that an attorney violated his or her ethical obligations, can file a disciplinary complaint against the attorney with the state bar disciplinary committee. Typically, this involves a hearing on the client’s complaint. The board has the power to issue public or private reprimands and to temporarily or permanently revoke a person’s license to practice law in that jurisdiction.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
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