To say that every attorney is different is an understatement. Even attorneys who specialize in the same area of law have different backgrounds, different levels of experience and target different clientele. Every attorney has his or her own way of doing things. That said, your Florida attorney, regardless of his or her unique selling points, is upheld to the same standards of every other lawyer across the nation. This means he or she has specific ethical duties. The American Bar Association explains those duties in detail.
For starters, every attorney must be competent. This means your lawyer should aim to provide high quality legal work and be able to research, analyze legal issues and remain knowledgeable on changing laws and legal trends.
Your attorney should also be willing and able to act in accordance with your wishes. Even if he or she would have done something differently, if you make a request, he or she must follow through with it. The only exception to this is, of course, if you were to ask your lawyer to do something illegal.
Your attorney also has the duty to maintain open and effective communication with you. Whether you ask for an explanation or your attorney suddenly changes plans, he or she must be prepared to address your concerns to your satisfaction.
Lawyers must also act with diligence. This means your attorney must act in a timely manner and with extreme care when handling your legal matters. Unnecessary delays can damage a case, so if an attorney expects there to be any—whether because of a heavy workload, family issues or any other reason—he or she should refuse the case from the beginning.
Your attorney also has the obligation to be upfront and honest about the fees he or she intends to charge. The fees must also be reasonable, though reasonableness is objective.
All attorneys have the duty to keep clients' information confidential, to avoid conflicts of interest and, when necessary, keep clients' property safe and separate from their own belongings and funds.
The information shared in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice.