Select Page

Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics
South Texas College of Law Houston
Collette, Curtis

Professional Responsibility Outline
Collett – Fall 2001
 
Note: Model Rules (MR) and Texas Rules contained herein are in large part paraphrased, abbreviated, and annotated. The structure of these paraphrased rules does not correspond exactly with the original rules.
 
Chapter 2 – Duty of competence, diligence, and communication(1.1, 1.3, 1.4)
 
●            MR 1.1 – Competence
A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonable necessary for the representation.
m knowledge, skills, etc. are based on a number of factors (many are commonsense)
m lawyer can provide adequate representation in novel field thru necessary study.
m emergency – can give advice when lacks expected level of skill if consultations with another lawyer impractical. limited to that reasonably necessary.
m to maintain competence, lawyer should engage in continuing study.
 
                        ●          MR 1.2 – Scope of Representation
                                    (a)       A client controls the objectives; the lawyer controls the means.
(b)     Representation of the client does not constitute endorsement of client’s views.
(c)                 A lawyer may limit objectives if (i) client consents (ii) after consultation.
(d)     A lawyer shall not counsel a client to act unlawfully, but may give a neutral description of the pros and cons and allow the client to make his own choice. Just because client uses advice to carry out his legal objectives does not alone make the lawyer a party to the illegal action.
(e)     If lawyer knows client expects lawyer to act unethically, lawyer must let client know his limitations.
 
            ●          MR 1.3 – Diligence
A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client
m A lawyer should advocate zealously, but does not necessarily have to fight for every advantage to be gained by client.
m don’t procrastinate. delays could be substantive, e.g. exceeding SOL; but may also be harmful merely if unreasonable delay causes undue anxiety to client.
m clarify any doubt about whether legal representation still exists. client could get hurt if he assumes he is still under representation.
 
            ●          MR 1.4 – Communication
(a)     A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
(b)     A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
 
1. case within a case –  In order to prevail in malpractice action, often have to show:
i

Texas vs. Model Rule
            ●          Texas: mandatory disclosure in certain situations
            ●          unlike MR
 
                        ●          MR 1.6 – Confidentiality
Policy: the public is better protected if full and open communication by client is encouraged rather than inhibited.
(a)     A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless (i) client consents (ii) after consultation,
                      except: when impliedly authorized to carry out representation as in (b):
(b)     a lawyer may reveal info to extent reasonably necessary:
(1)     to prevent client from committing criminal act likely to result in imminent death or substantial bodily harm; or
(2)     to defend himself in a legal action related to the representation.
 
                        ●          Tex Rule 1.05 – Confidentiality (Modification of MR 1.6)
                                    (a)       Confidential Information inclds:
                                                            ●          privileged info – protected by atty/cli