Remember that no attorney-client relationship (nor consultant-client relationship) is formed unless and until we have discussed such an engagement, agreed to it, and then an engagement letter is signed by both of us and a retainer is paid.
When I am engaged as an attorney, clients have certain rights and responsibilities, and my engagement letter may provide a link to this page.
If you are not my client you can learn about your rights and responsibilities from your state's court system, your state's bar association, and the American Bar Association. You can learn about law and our legal system in my online course from Udemy.
Statement of Client’s Rights
- You are entitled to always be treated with courtesy and consideration by your lawyer and the other lawyers and nonlawyer 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 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 to 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 based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.
Statement of Client’s 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 should be one of complete candor and the client should apprise the lawyer 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 to the extent required by law.
- All bills tendered to the client for services rendered pursuant to the agreed upon arrangement regarding fees and expenses should be paid when due.
- A client who discharges the attorney and terminates the attorney-client relationship must nevertheless honor financial commitments under the agreed to arrangement regarding fees and expenses to the extent required by law.
- Although the client should expect that his or her letters, telephone calls, emails, faxes, and other communications to the lawyer will be answered within a reasonable time, the client should recognize that the lawyer has other clients who may be equally deserving 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, address, email, or other electronic contact information, and respond promptly to a request by the lawyer for information and cooperation.
- The client must realize that the lawyer is required to respect only legitimate objectives of the client 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 the lawyer has previous personal or professional commitments that will prohibit the lawyer 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.
Remember, no attorney-client relationship (nor consultant-client relationship) is formed unless and until we have discussed such an engagement, an engagement letter is signed by both of us, and a retainer is paid.
Mere use of this site, and mere communication with me does not cause any attorney-client relationship to be formed.
This page is hosted at https://johnbandler.com/client-rights-responsibilities. No claim to any copyright. This language is courtesy of best practices, including suggested language by various bar associations.
This page was created 1/28/2022. Updated 4/21/2023.