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Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics
South Texas College of Law Houston
Powers, Ann

Professional Responsibility
Course Outline
     COMPETENCE (Rule 1.1)
     Legal knowledge; Skill; Thoroughness; Preparation.
     (Must not take on a matter an attorney knows he is not competent
     to handle.)
       [1] Factors include relative complexity and specialized nature,
     lawyer’s general experience in the field, the preparation and
     study the lawyer is prepared to give, and feasibility of referral
     to attorney of established competence in the field.
       [2] A lawyer can provide competent representation in a wholly
     novel field through necessary study.
       [3] In an emergency a lawyer may give limited advice on a
     matter in which he does not have the skill ordinarily required.
       [5] Adequate preparation.
     -The Rules in one area forbid the lawyer from asking the client to
     agree to incompetent representation. Rule 1.2, Comment 5.
       However, later the Rules make clear that, if other law permits,
     the lawyer may make an agreement “prospectively limiting the
     lawyer’s liability to a client for malpractice” if the client “is
     independently represented in making the agreement…” Rule 1.8(h).
     Shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness.
       [1] Discretion in determining means by which matter is pursued;
     Lawyer need not press for every advantage.
       [2] No procrastination (i.e., overlook statute if limitations).
       [3] Unless relationship terminated (Rule 1.16), lawyer should
     carry through to conclusion all matters undertaken for a client.
       (a)  Absent consent of client, must not reveal information
     pertaining to cli

referring to
     Rules 2.2, 2.3, 3.3 and 4.1), challenging court orders requiring
     disclosure, to collect a fee, to respond to a charge of wrongful
     conduct, when the client intends to commit a crime which in
     lawyer’s opinion will likely result in imminent death or
     substantial bodily harm.
     In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent
     professional judgment and render candid advice. In rendering
     advice, a lawyer may refer not only to law but to other
     considerations such as moral, economic, social and political
     factors, that may be relevant to the client’s situation.
     Comment: [2] Although a lawyer is not a moral advisor as such,