Many people aren't sure what to expect when they hire an attorney, even if they've properly vetted prospective representation by requesting testimonials and asking an injury attorney questions to determine the right fit. So how can you tell if a lawyer is doing his or her best to represent you? Learn more about the nature of the attorney-client relationship.
An Attorney’s Duties and Obligations
When you hire a lawyer, you're owed honest and competent representation in your case. This means the attorney should do everything legally possible to win. For instance, an attorney needs to make every effort to obtain your medical records, but shouldn't lie or break the law for your benefit.
Simply put, your attorney owes you a duty of:
- Confidentiality. Under attorney-client privilege, anything you say to your attorney will be kept confidential. Your attorney cannot be compelled to divulge any information that you have shared with him, and will face consequences if your private information becomes public.
- Competence. Lawyers are prohibited from representing clients if the attorney doesn't have the proper experience to handle the case. For example, a tax attorney shouldn't represent a client accused of murder. If the attorney is unable to provide reliable advice about your legal situation, or give you the information you need to make good decisions in your case, he should refer you to an attorney qualified in that aspect of law.
- Diligence. A lawyer should vigorously defend his client’s interests. This includes keeping the client informed as the case progresses; giving an opinion about possible outcomes of the case; stay in communication with the client; prepare the client for deposition or trial; and inform the client of any delays or setbacks.
- Ethics. Attorneys must perform their duties within the bounds of moral and man-made laws. They should avoid any conflicts of interest; maintain separate bank accounts for client funds; allow clients to make informed decisions; and put their client's interests ahead of their own.
Your attorney should also offer you an easy-to-understand fee agreement in writing, ensuring you won't be surprised by the costs of your case. Our law firm works on a contingency-fee basis, so our clients don't have to pay us anything unless we win. If you're suffering after an injury in Florida, fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.