Saturday, February 28, 2015

How can you be an ethical client?

Lawyers follow a code of professional responsibility. Judges and justices follow that code and have their own code of judicial conduct. Public officers also follow ethical guidelines. Even professionals must follow the rules in their own fields.

What about the people who hire lawyers? They must also act ethically. Before taking on a case, lawyers give their potential clients a contract telling what they should do and not do. If the client agrees on the conditions and the fee, he can now sign this contract, also known as a retainer agreement.

1. Be truthful and candid to your lawyer. You must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If you are afraid that the lawyer will tell your secrets to other people, he or she is bound not to repeat anything you say to another without your consent. This is part of the lawyer-client confidentiality. Even evidence obtained in violation of this confidentiality can be objected and rendered inadmissible in court. So tell your counsel the truth so he can see the whole picture and give you the best advice or defense.

2. Follow what the lawyer tells you. The lawyer is in charge of all matters relating to procedure or remedies. You tell your lawyer what is your problem and what you want to happen. In turn, your lawyer will give you the legal remedies you can do. But it is still up to you to decide. Once you have decided, you must follow the lawyer's advice, especially in matters of procedure. But if your problem is lack of money, tell it to your lawyer. He might stop the delaying tactics and give you cost-effective advice, or he may tell you to get another lawyer. So either follow your lawyer or get another one.

3. Respect your lawyer, the court, and the other party. Give to others what is their due. Pay your lawyer what you have agreed. If you cannot pay, do not hire that lawyer. Get someone with a more reasonable fee or seek help from legal aid clinics or the Public Assistance Office. But if you can afford to pay, hire a lawyer because you would be depriving the opportunity from someone who is truly needy.

Give respect to the court and the other party. Even if you want to kill the other party, do not physically fight them or shout at them. Be cool. Pray or meditate. Remember what Jesus Christ did to the people who accused him: he looked at them and just calmly asked them questions. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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