Understanding Legal Responsibilities When Filing a Claim

As a member of the legal profession, a lawyer is a representative of clients, an official of the legal system, and a public citizen. The responsibilities of a lawyer in these roles are often harmonious, as when one of the opposing parties is well represented, a lawyer can advocate fervently on behalf of a client while taking for granted that justice is being done. Additionally, preserving the confidentiality of clients is normally in the public's best interest, as people are more likely to seek legal advice and comply with their legal obligations when they know that their communications will be private. However, due to the nature of legal practice, there are conflicting liabilities. Practically all difficult ethical issues arise from the conflict between a lawyer's responsibilities to clients, to the legal system, and with the lawyer's own interest in remaining an ethical person and earning a satisfactory living.

The rules of professional conduct often prescribe terms for resolving such conflicts. However, within the framework of these Rules, many difficult issues of professional discretion can arise. These issues must be resolved through the exercise of sensitive professional and moral judgment, guided by the basic principles on which the Regulations are based. These principles include the lawyer's obligation to protect and zealously pursue the client's legitimate interests, within the limits of the law, while maintaining a professional, courteous and civil attitude toward all people involved in the legal system. If your lawyer isn't willing to address your complaints, consider taking your legal matters to another lawyer.

You have the right to decide who to hire (and fire) as your lawyer. However, remember that when you fire an attorney, you may be charged a reasonable amount for the work already done. Most of the documents held by your lawyer related to the case are yours; please request them. In some states, an attorney may have some rights to a file until the client pays a reasonable amount for the work done on the case. If you believe that your lawyer acted unethically, you should consider filing a complaint with the State Bar Association. You can complete an online complaint form or download a PDF complaint form from the State Bar Association website.

You can also call the State Bar Association at 800-843-9053 (in California) or 213-765-1200 (outside California) to discuss the process of filing a complaint. In Texas, county or district attorneys have original jurisdiction to prosecute alleged violations of the law. These prosecutors have discretionary power to determine which cases will be prosecuted; however, The Attorney General has no role or oversight over his decisions. We can help local prosecutors in criminal matters at your request; contact your local prosecutor's office for help. One of the few exceptions occurs when a client requests help from an attorney to do something illegal, such as lying in court or in a legal document. Many of the professional responsibilities of a lawyer are prescribed in Rules of Professional Conduct as well as in substantive and procedural law. A power of attorney is one of the most important legal documents you can have; it allows another person to handle financial or health matters on your behalf.

California has specific rules about types and requirements for durable financial power of attorneys which can prevent financial disaster if you become incapacitated. A lawyer must also encourage public understanding and trust in rule of law and judicial system since legal institutions in constitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority. Under various legal provisions including constitutional, statutory and customary provisions, government lawyers may have authority in legal matters that normally lies with client in private relationships between client and lawyer. A de jure lawyer is someone you name in POA document who will help you manage your affairs when POA comes into effect. The amount that lawyer charges for legal work must be reasonable and client must be informed of details of all charges. Staff counsel may conclude that complaint describes conduct that even if true does not violate provision of Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR part 1200) and therefore does not involve professional misconduct.

They are not paid for their work but nevertheless understand importance of their responsibilities and work diligently to maintain high standards of legal profession.