Why All Legal Professionals Must Act Ethically

[2] As a client representative, the lawyer performs a variety of functions. As a consultant, a lawyer provides the client with a good understanding of their legal rights and obligations and explains their practical implications. As a lawyer, a lawyer eagerly asserts the client`s position according to the rules of the opposing system. As a negotiator, a lawyer strives to achieve an outcome that is beneficial to the client, but that meets the requirements of an honest relationship with others. As an evaluator, a lawyer acts by investigating a client`s legal affairs and reporting them to the client or others. Lawyers must keep their clients informed of issues relating to their case and must not intentionally ignore or delay the client`s questions and concerns. If there is one thing you can say about the legal profession, it is that it is autonomous. This allows lawyers to maintain their independence from the government and law enforcement, with which they are closely associated. When lawyers fail to comply with these obligations, it jeopardizes the independence of the profession and the well-being of the public it serves. To ensure a fair and impartial justice system, lawyers must uphold strong standards of right and wrong and strive to ensure that the legal institutions they serve meet those ethical standards. “Confidentiality” is a broad term that encompasses a number of legal doctrines relating to a lawyer`s duty not to disclose secrets, including solicitor-client privilege, work product doctrine, spousal privilege, psychiatrist and patient privilege, and priest-penitent privilege. Protection of client property: Lawyers must hold client or third party property in an account separate from their personal property. There may not be any mixing of the client`s funds with the lawyer`s funds.

The lawyer must keep records of all deposits and withdrawals to the account and promptly notify the client of the receipt or withdrawal of funds from the account. Lawyers have a strict ethical responsibility to be diligent in defending their clients. Due representation does not mean that a lawyer should strive at all costs to “win” a case if it means unnecessarily harming third parties and opponents in the process. This means doing everything reasonable to help a client achieve the goals set at the beginning of the performance. Therefore, a balance must be struck in the development of the strategy – between what is achievable within the limits of the law and what is reasonable given the impact on the parties involved. Nevertheless, a lawyer has a general duty to strive to protect a client`s interests to the extent permitted by law. One of the current challenges we face as a profession is recognizing non-legal providers of legal services and regulating them for excellence. In this way, we will find ways to provide low- and middle-income people with more cost-effective services provided by practitioners who are themselves governed by a code of ethics. [18] Under various legal provisions, including constitutional, law and customary law, the responsibilities of prosecutors may include authority in legal matters normally vested in the client`s private client and lawyer relationship. For example, a lawyer from a government agency may be empowered on behalf of the government to decide on a regulation or to appeal an adverse judgment. These powers in various respects generally belong to the Attorney General and the Attorney of the state government and their federal counterparts, and the same may be true for other public servants.

In addition, lawyers under the supervision of these officials may have the power to represent multiple government agencies in domestic legal controversies if a private lawyer cannot represent multiple retail clients. These rules do not invalidate such a power. [11] To the extent that lawyers fulfil the obligations of their professional profession, the possibility of state regulation is avoided. Self-regulation also helps to preserve the independence of the legal profession from state domination. An independent legal profession is an important force in maintaining government under the law, as abuse of legal power is more easily challenged by a profession whose members do not depend on the government to exercise the right to practice. Therefore, it is important to remember that even in cases where a conflict of interest is not fatal to the representation, the legal practitioners involved in the case must be particularly careful to protect confidential information gathered in the context of the previous representation. [20] A breach of a rule should not, in and of itself, give rise to a cause of action against a lawyer, nor in such a case give rise to a presumption of breach of a legal duty. In addition, the violation of a rule does not necessarily justify another non-disciplinary remedy, such as the challenge of a lawyer in an ongoing dispute.

These rules are intended to provide guidance to lawyers and to provide a structure for regulating the conduct of disciplinary authorities. They are not intended as a basis for civil liability. Moreover, the purpose of the rules may be undermined if they are invoked by opposing parties as procedural weapons. The fact that a rule provides a fair basis for a lawyer`s self-assessment or for sanctioning a lawyer under the administration of a disciplinary authority does not mean that an antagonist in a ancillary proceeding or settlement has the power to request enforcement of the rule. However, because the rules set standards of conduct for lawyers, a lawyer`s violation of a rule may constitute evidence of a breach of the applicable standard of conduct. If a lawyer violates the duty of confidentiality, the offender and/or the offender`s society will be disciplined. While the lawyer has the right to delegate responsibilities to paralegals, employees, articling students and others, he or she must always supervise and take responsibility for the work. Under the Model Rules, a lawyer is required to exercise “due diligence” to ensure that subordinates act ethically. See model rules 5.3(a) and (b). It is a positive commitment. Not supervising even subordinates who are sincerely trusted by a superior is a violation. [6] As a citizen of public life, the lawyer should strive to improve the law, access to the legal system, the administration of justice and the quality of services provided by the legal profession.

As a member of a scholarly profession, a lawyer should cultivate knowledge of the law beyond its benefits to clients, use that knowledge in legal reform, and work to strengthen legal education.