Understanding A Lawyer's Duty To Provide Zealous Advocacy
American law requires attorneys to provide zealous advocacy. In other words, lawyers must represent their clients' interests and rights with energy and focus. What does that mean for you as a client, though? Clients should know these four things about zealous advocacy.
Attorneys can and do take on multiple clients and cases. In any given case, though, a lawyer has a duty to represent the interests of a single client or a cohesive group. This is because many American legal proceedings are confrontational. It is impossible for lawyers to advise their clients while also looking out for someone else's interests. The law solves this problem by simply banning the practice of representing parties with potentially conflicting interests.
Singular representation does occasionally create problems. If an attorney previously represented the other side in a previous but similar matter, they may decline to represent you to avoid a possible conflict.
Assertive but Professional
Lawyers are obliged to be assertive in representing their clients' interests. However, the legal occupation is inherently one of the most professional in its conduct. That means a lawyer must maintain an appropriate level of professionalism and dignity in representing their clients. Unlike what you might see in the movies, attorneys aren't going to badger crying witnesses into submission. Instead, your counsel will work hard to cover all relevant points and achieve as favorable of an outcome as might be possible.
Zealous advocacy extends to the quality and frequency of a lawyer's communication. Your counsel should make every effort to inform you of all the developments in your case as soon as possible. They also should work hard to communicate with other parties to the case and their attorneys. Similarly, all lawyers involved in the case should communicate with the same effort and clarity when dealing with the court and its officers.
Attorneys also must relay all communications to their clients. Suppose the other side proposes a deal. Even if you've stated zero interest in a deal, your counsel should relay all the details. This ensures that all sides are confident that everyone has heard every proposal, regardless of receptivity.
Finally, an attorney acting as a zealous advocate owes confidentiality to their client. A lawyer shouldn't pitch an idea to opposing counsel if the client hasn't agreed to consider and discuss it with other parties. Within ethical boundaries, this includes refraining from unauthorized discussions with the court.
Contact local attorneys today to learn more.