Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 1.1 – Competence
Provide competent representation
Legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness reasonably necessary
Determining whether requisite knowledge and skill exists: relative complexity/specialized nature of matter, lawyer’s own training and experience, preparation and study time, available help Do not need special training or prior experience to handle a new problem – just study up Emergency matters – you can help to the extent reasonably necessary, but don’t jeopardize client’s interests Be adequately prepared
Keep your legal knowledge ahead of changes in the law
Rule 1.2 – Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer (a) subject to (c) and (d), abide by client’s decisions regarding the objectives of representation, and consult about how they are to be achieved. (b) representing a client does not mean you endorse their views or beliefs (c) You can reasonably limit your representation if the client gives informed consent (d) Do not help your client commit fraud – but you can explain consequences (e) After accepting employment, don’t delegate to another lawyer without client’s informed consent Comments
Client gets to make the major decisions including settlement If you get into a fundamental disagreement with the client, the lawyer may withdraw The client may authorize you to take certain actions on behalf of the client without further consultation – you can rely on this until it is revoked. Do not let any limited representation affect the competence of your representation Lawyer cannot continue assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer originally supposed was legal and then discovers to be criminal or fraudulent.
Rule 1.3 - Diligence
Act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representation Comments
Act with zeal in advocacy on the client’s behalf – but you are not bound to press for every advantage that might be realized Control your work load
Do not procrastinate
Carry matters through to conclusion – doubt about whether a client-lawyer relationship still exists should be clarified in writing.
Rule 1.4 – Communication
(a) A lawyer shall:
(1) inform client of any decision/circumstance requiring his informed consent; (2) reasonably consult about means to get to client’s objectives (3) keep client reasonably informed on status
(4) promptly comply with reasonable requests for info;
(5) consult with client about limitations on the conduct when they are asking you to do something that you cannot do (b) Lawyer shall explain matters to the extent reasonably necessary to allow client to make informed decisions Comments
Let your client know the important things unless they told you ahead of time you do not need to If it is important, and you can consult your client about it you should. If it is a quick decision, and you do not have time, you should consult with them after. If your client is a child or mental handicapped – see rule 1.14 If your client is an organization – see 1.13
Do not withhold information from the client to serve your own interest or convenience or anyone else’s convenience.
Rule 1.5 – Fees
(a) A lawyer shall not accept an unreasonable fee for expenses. Factors: (1) time and labor
(2) likelihood of precluding other work
(3) fees for similar legal services
(4) amount involved, results obtained
(5) time limitations through client or circumstances
(6) nature and length of relationship with client
(7) experience, reputation
(8) whether fixed or contingent
(b) Scope of representation and fee and expenses must be communicated to client, preferably in writing within a reasonable time after commencing representation. Also communicate changes (c) fee can be contingent, unless that is prohibited. Contingent fee agreement shall be in a signed writing by the client and state the method by which fee is to be determined. When the matter ends, lawyer shall provide client with written...
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