Understanding your attorney’s ethical duties and obligations

If a California attorney agrees to take your case and represent you, you probably feel confident that he or she will advocate on your behalf and work toward fulfilling your wishes as much as possible. Legal proceedings do not always resolve themselves in the manner you may like, however, so if you lose your case, you may ask yourself whether it was because your attorney somehow dropped the ball. At Lange Law Corporation, we understand the ethical duties and obligations your lawyer has once you become a client, and we have helped many clients whose lawyers shirked these duties pursue appropriate solutions.

Per the American Bar Association, one of the primary duties your attorney owes you because of your attorney-client relationship is competence, or an ability to perform solid work on your behalf. Maintaining competence typically involves staying abreast of changes in the law, analyzing current legal issues and cases and so on.

Your lawyer also has a duty to maintain diligence when representing you. This means he or she must devote appropriate and necessary time to your case, and it also means he or she must exercise caution when dealing with deadlines to avoid blowing them. Furthermore, your lawyer has a duty to maintain open and active communications with you. When you reach out to your attorney, he or she has an obligation to respond to your query in a timely manner.

Following your instructions is also an important responsibility of any attorney you hire to represent you. Even if your attorney may feel as if you should move in a different direction, he or she has a duty, first and foremost, to act in accordance with your wishes, provided doing so does not mean running afoul of the law. Finally, your lawyer has a duty to maintain confidentiality when working your case, meaning he or she cannot share the details of your case with others. More about legal malpractice is available on our web page.