Statement of Clients’ Rights
Section 1210.1 of the Joint Rules of the Appellate Division guarantees the following rights to clients of New York attorneys:
1. You are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times by your lawyer and the other lawyers and personnel in your lawyer’s office.
2. You are entitled to an attorney capable of handling your legal matter competently and diligently, in accordance with the highest standards of the profession. If you are not satisfied with how your matter is being handled, you have the right to withdraw from the attorney-client relationship at any time (court approval may be required in some matters and your attorney may have a claim against you for the value of services rendered to you up to the point of discharge).
3. You are entitled to your lawyer’s independent professional judgment and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.
4. You are entitled to be charged a reasonable fee and to have your lawyer explain at the outset how the fee will be computed and the manner and frequency of billing. You are entitled to request and receive a written itemized bill from your attorney at reasonable intervals. You may refuse to enter into any fee arrangement that you find unsatisfactory. In the event of a fee dispute, you may have the right to seek arbitration; your attorney will provide you with the necessary information regarding arbitration in the event of a fee dispute, or upon your request.
5. You are entitled to have your questions and concerns addressed in a prompt manner and to have your telephone calls returned promptly.
6. You are entitled to be kept informed as to the status of your matter and to request and receive copies of papers. You are entitled to sufficient information to allow you to participate meaningfully in the development of your matter.
7. You are entitled to have your legitimate objectives respected by your attorney, including whether or not to settle your matter (court approval of a settlement is required in some matters).
8. You have the right to privacy in your dealings with your lawyer and to have your secrets and confidences preserved to the extent permitted by law.
9. You are entitled to have your attorney conduct himself or herself ethically in accordance with the Code of Professional Responsibility.
10. You may not be refused representation on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.
Statement of Clients’ Responsibilities
This is an informational statement adopted by the NY State Bar Association.
Reciprocal trust, courtesy and respect are the hallmarks of the attorney-client relationship. Within that relationship, the client looks to the attorney for expertise, education, sound judgment, protection, advocacy and representation. These expectations can be achieved only if the client fulfills the following responsibilities:
1. The client is expected to treat the lawyer and the lawyer’s staff with courtesy and consideration.
2. The client’s relationship with the lawyer should be one of complete candor and the client should apprise the lawyer of all facts or circumstances of the matter being handled by the lawyer even if the client believes that those facts may be detrimental to the client’s cause or unflattering to the client.
3. The client must honor the fee arrangement as agreed to with the lawyer to the extent required by law.
4. All bills tendered to the client for services rendered pursuant to the agreed upon arrangement regarding fees and expenses should be paid when due.
5. A client who discharges the attorney and terminates the attorney-client relationship must nevertheless honor financial commitments under the agreed to arrangement regarding fees and expenses to the extent required by law.
6. Although the client should expect that his or her letters, telephone calls, emails, faxes and other communications to the lawyer will be answered within a reasonable time, the client should recognize that the lawyer has other clients who may be equally deserving of the lawyer’s time and attention.
7. The client should maintain contact with the lawyer, promptly notify the lawyer of any change in telephone number, address, email, or other electronic contact information, and respond promptly to a request from the lawyer for information and cooperation.
8. The client must realize that the lawyer is required to respect only legitimate objectives of the client and that the lawyer will not advocate or propose positions that are unprofessional or contrary to law or the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.
9. The lawyer may decline to accept a matter of the lawyer has previous personal or professional commitments that will prohibit the lawyer from devoting adequate time to representing the client competently and diligently.
10. A lawyer is under no obligation to accept a client if the lawyer determines that the cause of the client is without merit, a conflict of interest would exist or a suitable working relationship with the client is not likely.