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Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics
Wayne State University Law School
Rodwan, Gail

Scope of MI Rules
Rule 1.0
· Violations of the rules don’t automatically result in
o Civil cause of action
o Criminal cause of action
o Malpractice
· Violation is admissible as evidence



· Shall
· Must


· May
· Could
· Might


· Unless
· Except where

<what about “should”?>

Attorney-Client Relationship

Formed by:
· Face to Face meeting followed by an oral or formal written retainer agreement
· Spouse of client
· Intermediary
o F -> A -> B and C (-> = advice)
· Atty appointed by the court
· Pymts made by client to lawyer are good evidence of relationship although money
o although money needs never to change hands in order for a relationship to be formed.
§ E.g. indigent clients
· If the initial stages of an atty-client relationship have taken place, the best way for the atty to eliminate misunderstanding re: final formation of the relationship is to get it in writing.
o Also important to get it in writing when the relationship has ended.
· Person’s reasonable belief that he has an atty-client relationship w/ atty

Rule 1.8(f):
Makes it possible for one person to pay the fees for another person as long as the 2nd person consents, there are no conflicts of interest, and the attorney-client privilege is kept intact.

Confidential requirement doesn’t apply to accountants.
Identity of person who pays attorneys fees to represent another is not protected under the atty-client relationship unless atty can show that the fee payor is also a client

Relationship NOT formed where:
U.S. v Weinstein:
District ct jdg ordered an atty to represent 23 fugitive Ds.

Jdg had no authority to create atty-client relationship
Ds could not be bound by any action of the atty w/o first consenting to the representation.

Agency Character of Relationship:

Lawyer is agent for client and his conduct can bind the client
Relationship will have a finite scope depending on

ness whose testimony would have helped establish a defense of self-defense during the trial. Taylor was convicted.
· Taylor claimed he s/ not be held liable for atty’s conduct
· H = client is out of luck, must accept the consequences of lawyer’s conduct, absent a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel.

Fiduciary Character of Relationship:

Arises after the atty-client relationship is formed.
Reasons for:

Once relationship is established, client will depend on atty’s integrity and fairness
Atty will have info that would put him at an unfair advantage in negotiations between him and the client.
Client won’t be in a position to change attorney after representation has begun due to economic and/or personal dependency.

Ct will scrutinize very closely any outside business dealings a lawyer has with a client. Lawyer would usually be in an unfair bargaining position.

Go to Conflicts section