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California Legal Ethics

An Attorney must diligently perform legal services. The duty of the lawyer to both his client and the legal system is to represent the client zealously within the bounds of the law. People v. Mckenzie (1983) 34 Cal 3rd 616, 631.

California Rules of Professional Conduct (CRPC) 3-110

“A member shall not intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly fail to perform legal services with competence.”

Competence means:

  1. Diligence
  2. Learning and skill
  3. The mental, emotional, and physical ability reasonably necessary to perform the services required.

An attorney who does not have the learning and skill required to competently perform a particular duty that may arise on a case is ethically obligated to associate or consult with another attorney who can assist him or her in handling the matter.

An Attorney-Client relationship is a fiduciary relationship. That is, it imposes the highest legal duty one person can owe to another: to always act in the client’s best interests. This means not only does the attorney owe a duty of loyalty to the client, but also of competence and diligence.

Unreasonable delay violates the attorney’s duty of diligence.

An attorney must devote sufficient time and resources to perform with competence.

An attorney must respond promptly to status requests and use his best efforts to keep the client informed.

An attorney must communicate every offer made by the other side to the client.

An attorney must always protect the client’s confidentiality with respect to attorney-client communications.

An attorney is always responsible for the progress of the case. The client makes some ultimate decisions, but the attorney must constantly be up to date on correspondence, phone calls, deadlines, court dates, and more. Not only this, but each of these tasks must be executed with professionalism, skill, and candor. The attorney must be able to constantly bear the responsibility for several clients at once without slowing down.

An attorney must act within the standard of care of skill, prudence, and diligence. As such, an attorney must preserve evidence.

Conversely, clients must cooperate and communicate with the attorney.

So, hire an experienced trial lawyer who is dedicated to your case, not a discount lawyer. This means a trained trial lawyer with over 60 jury trials under his belt, who has demonstrated his ability to win at trial if the insurance company is inequitable.

Ride safe! Ride strong!

©Richard L. Duquette, Esq. All rights reserved 2018 – LEGAL ADVERTISING

Contributors: Justin Nelson, Esq., Michael Norton, Esq., Clayton Griessmeyer, Esq.

www.911law.com * 760-730-0500 * Podcast: Bicycling and The Law 911law.com

The information in this article is for general information purposes only. The focus of this article is on California Law. You should contact an attorney in your state for case specific advice, as details of the law and procedural requirements vary from state to state. Nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship; and the receipt, reading, listening, or viewing of this content shall not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Nothing in this article shall be construed as a warrant, promise, or guarantee about the outcome of your case or any other matter. This information may contain personal impressions or statements of opinion on a subject that do not apply in your case. Further, statements of law reflect the current state of the law at the time of writing and/or recording and may not reflect subsequent changes in the law.