St. Denis & Davey, P.A.

Legal Malpractice Issues

What are an attorney’s fiduciary duties?

| Oct 9, 2019 | Legal Malpractice Law |

When you hire an attorney in Florida, you are placing him or her in a position of trust. You count on your attorney to represent your interests in court in a way that you are not able to do. This makes your attorney a fiduciary, i.e., someone with the authority to act in someone else’s interest. 

As a fiduciary, your attorney owes you a duty to act in a certain way. When your attorney fails in this regard, it is not only a betrayal of your trust, it is also a breach of fiduciary duty, which may be actionable under the law. Chron explains your attorney’s fiduciary duties in more detail.

Communication

Your attorney works for you, which means you have the final say in deciding what you want to do with your case. However, you probably do not have the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision. Your attorney, who possesses the legal knowledge that you lack, has a duty to communicate your options clearly to you so that you have the information you need to make up your own mind. 

Competence

Competence means much more than simply earning a law degree. The practice of the law includes many different areas. Not every attorney has experience in all areas of the law. If your case falls outside an attorney’s skill set, he or she should inform you of the fact and then either refer you to another attorney or take the necessary steps to get up to speed on your case. 

Confidentiality

To provide your attorney with all the necessary tools to handle your case, you must sometimes disclose information that is embarrassing or otherwise sensitive. With few exceptions, your attorney may not share this information with others. 

Conflict avoidance

Your attorney has a duty to avoid any conflict of interest. This includes self-dealing, i.e., acting to benefit himself or herself, or taking on a client with interests that are in opposition to yours. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.