When ordered to do so by a tribunal, a lawyer shall continue representation notwithstanding good cause for terminating the representation."). Retaining liens provide certain rights to retain, until the lawyer's fees and expenses are paid, a client's papers, money, and other property that have come into the lawyer's possession in the course of the lawyer's professional employment. See Rule 1.16(d) ("If permission for withdrawal from employment is required by the rules of a tribunal, a lawyer shall not withdraw from employment in a matter before that tribunal without its permission.
If it is not feasible to obtain or transmit the writing at the time the person gives oral consent, then the lawyer must obtain or transmit it within a reasonable time thereafter. Satisfaction of the ‘disinterested lawyer’ test in a non-litigation context will depend on an evaluation of the circumstances of the simultaneous representations. The existence or absence of a conflict will depend on whether the lawyer is able to avoid using one client’s confidential information in the representation of another client and whether possession of that information may reasonably affect the lawyer’s independent professional judgment in the representation of the other client. Rule 1.11 governs conflicts involving government lawyers and should be consulted for guidance in addressing conflicts in those circumstances. Under Rule 1.9(c)(2), a lawyer may not reveal confidential information of the former client protected by Rule 1.6 except as the Rules otherwise permit or require with respect to a current client. Can the lawyer retain the file until the bills are paid? A lawyer generally may withdraw from the representation when the client fails to pay the lawyer's fees, but must take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to avoid foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the client. In litigation proceedings, court rules commonly require consent of court before withdrawing.
(Rule 1.0(e)) Differing Interests “Differing interests" includes every interest that will adversely affect either the judgment or the loyalty of a lawyer to a client, whether it be a conflicting, inconsistent, diverse, or other interest. Multiple representation can therefore cause serious hardship to one or more clients if a lawyer is forced to withdraw after having performed significant legal services. Prior representation, “Substantially related” and “materially adverse” In some instances, there may be a threshold question of whether there has been a prior representation, i.e., whether the attorney “formerly represented” a person as a client in an earlier matter. (Emphasis added.) “Confidential information,” as defined by Rule 1.6, is not limited exclusively to privileged information, but rather consists of information gained during or relating to the representation of a client, whatever its source, that is (a) protected by the attorney-client privilege, (b) likely to be embarrassing or detrimental to the client if disclosed, or (c) information that the client has requested to be kept confidential. Even after bills are settled, may a lawyer refuse the client access to portions of the file? The exercise of retaining liens has been approved as an ethical matter, but their precise contours are questions of law, not ethical command. (5) the client deliberately disregards an agreement or obligation to the lawyer as to expenses or fees.
County 678 (general but restricted right); Nassau County 90-5 (wills while client is alive); see also Rule 1.15(c)(4) (requiring return of property "that the client …
The precise scope of a lawyer's right to assert a retaining lien presents questions of law.
3379/04, 2004), available at 2004 WL 2624612 (“[d]isputing the amount owed is not a refusal to pay”). Where withdrawal is permitted, the Rules provide that upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps, to the extent reasonably practicable, to avoid foreseeable prejudice to the rights of the client, including giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, delivering to the client all papers and property to which the client is entitled, promptly refunding any part of a fee paid in advance that has not been earned and complying with applicable laws and rules. Further, in litigation matters, permission of court is required as a matter of course under applicable rules of procedure, seee.g., N.
Ethics opinions have approved the exercise of a retaining lien to the extent such a lien is permitted by law.
A number of courts have held that where counsel is retained by the client's insurance carrier and the carrier fails to pay counsel, counsel's rights to withdraw and exercise a retaining lien may be more limited than when the client alone is responsible for, but does not pay, the attorney's fees.
1984) (counsel could not withdraw at least until dispute over coverage decided); Turzio v.
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(Rule 1.0(q)) Reasonable Belief “Reasonable belief” or “reasonably believes,” when used in reference to a lawyer, denotes that the lawyer believes the matter in question and that the circumstances are such that the belief is reasonable.