One element common to many legal matters in Florida is time. Civil and criminal cases (along with other situations regarding legal representation) can often seem like they are dragging on forever. The longer your case goes without a resolution, the greater your concern may be about the cost of your representation. This may ultimately lead you to question whether the attorneys involved in your case (including those representing you) might be purposely delaying litigation. Is there any regulation preventing them from doing this, or any form of recourse available to you if you suspect that is indeed happening?
The Model Rules of Professional Conduct maintained by the American Bar Association specifically state that attorneys have an obligation to make all reasonable efforts necessary to expedite litigation (provided such efforts are in the best interests of their clients). Yet you are not a legal expert; how are you to know if any delays sought by your attorney are unwarranted. A comment to this particular guideline gives specific examples of when a delay in your case may not be appropriate when it says “delay should not be indulged merely for the convenience of the advocates, or for the purpose of frustrating an opposing party’s attempt to obtain rightful redress or repose.”
So what does this mean? Trying to hinder the opposing party’s efforts by seeking delays is not allowed, nor is your attorney to plan your representation around their own schedule. Ultimately, in determining whether a proposed delay is necessary, the question is asked whether a competent lawyer would view an action requesting a delay as serving any other substantial purpose other than simply providing additional time.