My wife was urging me to send a gift this Christmas to our lawyer, and it was one of those ‘how could I have forgotten?’ moments. At least there’s still time.
We like him, not just because he’s done a good job, but he’s there to shoot straight with us when the tough questions come up. In other words: we are loyal to our lawyer.
I looked it up and of course, lawyers have a duty of loyalty to their clients. Among others, Rule 1.9 protects former clients by recognizing
“the twin duties an attorney owes to a …client: The duty to preserve confidences and the duty of loyalty.”
In re Wyatt’s Case, 159 N.H. 285, 304, 982 A.2d 396, 411 (2009). But how loyal was I, the client forgetting Christmas for the lawyer?
To be a loyal client, remember that the lawyer ideally puts his or her interest in front of mine. That’s what it means to be a true professional. In a tight, I can count on my lawyer and he or she should be able to count on me. How does a lawyer expect to count on his or her client?
1. Help him or her answer discovery.
2. Help him or her formulate a position.
3. Don’t embarrass him or her by being unreasonable with the other side.
4. When I get advice, listen to it and consider it seriously, even if I don’t like it.
5. No gifts expected.
And to this list, I might add, remember that they work for fees so pay your bill. As Professor McChrystal puts it:
“The lawyer’s promise to be loyal, coupled with the client’s consent to part with valuable possessions in reliance on the lawyer’s loyalty, gives loyalty moral weight.”