Client’s Rights And Responsibilities
Statement Of Client’s Rights (Adopted From the New York State Bar Association)
- You are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times by your lawyer and the other lawyers and non-lawyer personnel in your lawyer’s office.
- You are entitled to have your attorney handle your legal matter competently and diligently, in accordance with the highest standards of the profession. If you are not satisfied with how your matter is being handled, you have the right to discharge your attorney and terminate the attorney-client relationship at any time (court approval may be required in some matters, and your attorney may have a claim against you for the value of services rendered to you up to the point of discharge).
- You are entitled to your lawyer’s independent professional judgment and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.
- You are entitled to be charged reasonable fees and expenses and to have your lawyer explain before or within a reasonable time after the commencement of the representation how the fees and expenses will be computed and the manner and frequency of billing. You are entitled to request and receive a written itemized bill from your attorney at reasonable intervals. You may refuse to enter into any arrangement for fees and expenses that you find unsatisfactory. In the event of a fee dispute, you may have the right to seek arbitration: Your attorney will provide you with the necessary information regarding arbitration in the event of a fee dispute or upon your request.
- You are entitled to have your questions and concerns addressed promptly and receive a prompt reply to your letters, telephone calls, emails, faxes and other communications.
- You are entitled to be kept reasonably informed as to the status of your matter and are entitled to have your attorney promptly comply with your reasonable requests for information, including your requests for copies of papers relevant to the matter. You are entitled to sufficient information to allow you to participate meaningfully in the development of your matter and make informed decisions regarding the representation.
- You are entitled to have your legitimate objectives respected by your attorney. In particular, the decision of whether to settle your matter is yours and not your lawyer’s. (Court approval of a settlement is required in some matters.)
- You have the right to privacy in your communications with your lawyer and to have your confidential information preserved by your lawyer to the extent required by law.
- You are entitled to have your attorney conduct himself or herself ethically in accordance with the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.
- You may not be refused representation on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.
Statement Of Client’s Responsibilities
- Clients should treat their attorneys and the law firm’s staff respectfully.
- Clients should be open and honest regarding the facts of their legal issue, even if clients feel that the details are not flattering or may be harmful to their case.
- Clients and attorneys must adhere to the fee arrangement that they agreed upon, including paying legal fees and other expenses on time.
- Even if clients choose to discharge the attorney and hire a different one, they must honor the fees charged by the initial attorney.
- Clients should understand that their attorney may have other clients who have equally pressing priorities.
- Clients should provide up-to-date contact information, including changes in mailing address, email address or telephone number.
- Clients should understand that their attorney does not have to honor unlawful or illegitimate goals and that the lawyer will not advocate or propose positions that are unprofessional or contrary to law or the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.
- The lawyer may decline to accept a matter if they have previous personal or professional commitments that will prohibit them from devoting adequate time to representing the client competently and diligently.
- 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 a suitable working relationship with the client is not likely.